06 May 2007
By David Bullard
(from www.sundaytimes.com - click on this post's title to link to his article)
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Fred Khumalo and I should feel very flattered indeed.
Every day there are 120000 new blog sites registered — a staggering 43 million a year. According to blog search engine Technorati, there are already 70 million blog sites registered worldwide. Admittedly the majority of the bloggers get bored rather quickly and don’t bother to update their sites, but that’s still 70 million people (higher than the population of the UK) who desperately want to be columnists.
It’s comforting to know that, should Fred or I decide to take a sabbatical, there’s no shortage of people available to hold the fort. The only snag is the quality, or lack of it.
Allow me to explain what I mean. I used to play air guitar with a band called Deep Purple. My playing was perfect, I had attitude and I even smashed my air guitar at the end of the number. The reason I played air guitar is that I couldn’t play real guitar very well so I was forced to dwell in this fantasy world where my guitar playing meant something only to me. I should point out that this was years ago when I was still young and foolish. These days I play air tenor saxophone, which is far more challenging.
Most blog sites are the air guitars of journalism. They’re cobbled together by people who wouldn’t stand a hope in hell of getting a job in journalism, mainly because they have very little to say. It’s rather sad how many people think the tedious minutiae of their lives will be of any interest to anyone else.
It’s even sadder when someone reads them.
Many bloggers prefer to remain anonymous and with good reason. The content of their sites is so moronic that even their best friends would disown them if they knew they were the authors. As with most things in life, something that costs nothing is usually worth nothing and that puzzles me. Are there really 70 million bloggers out there hoping that their writing talents will be recognised, or is this just another example of modern narcissism?
Unlike the world of newsprint, there are no rules out there in the blogosphere and that makes it a very confusing place for the consumer. I have no objection to reading my Sunday Times on the Internet because I know the content has been through the same process as the print edition. I do, however, object to some anonymous, scrofulous nerd pumping meaningless drivel into cyberspace at all hours of the day and night simply because he can’t find a girl to sleep with him. These are the sort of w ackos who gun down their fellow students at university. I visited a site the other day that was so hideously racist that it would have qualified its publisher for a long spell in prison if it had appeared in print. So what’s the difference? How come newspapers and magazines have to carry the names of their editors and publishers and watch their content and websites don’t? I’m told that it’s possible to track down the author of any offensive website and perhaps that’s what the government should be doing instead of looking at legislation to gag legitimate publications. Better still, maybe it’s time the print journalists named and shamed some of the more offensive anonymous bloggers and published their physical addresses. Then I can start a blog site called printrevenge.com and bore you all with the details.