Blogging Blues

Over at Global Voices Online, the debate is still alive as to why certain countries/regions are not blogging or if they are, not blogging about politics. For example, despite a couple of exceptions Caribbeans are apparently not blogging about politics all that much. Instead, they seem to be using the blogging medium as more of a personal diary. The same is true of the Chilean blogosphere apparently. Another problem is that reported by Owen: the 20-something Jamaican techie has been complaining that Jamaican readers are not posting comments to his self-designed made-from-scratch blog.

I have some thoughts:

  1. Right here in America, lots of pretty tech savvy politically minded people who know how to navigate the internet are not reading blogs. Just the other day, an American friend of mine who is white, male, 50-something and a journalist told me when I invited him to visit my blog that he was not a fan of blogs and that he rarely read them. Last week, a 30-something journalism student who works as a copy editor told me essentially the same.
  2. There may also be a perception out there that blogs are the latest internet fad and that they will soon vanish into oblivion. People may not necessarily see the difference between a blog and a regular website.
  3. Certain blog templates may not be all that user-friendly. Case in point, someone emailed a very lengthy and well thought-out response to my last post. When I asked why he did not post it directly to the blog, he claimed that he had tried but that the process proved way too complicated. Another frequent problem with blogs is that after all the search engine and feed syndicator tags and the google ads are added to the template, visual overload kicks in and people have a hard time finding the actual blog text.
  4. Lastly, beyond all the potential technical hurdles, it really may be that the press in the US may be reporting the news in a less acceptable way than the press in other countries and hence there is more of a need for political blogging in the States than there is elsewhere.

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Craig Bardo said...

Interesting posting. American journalists probably have a bias against the "pajamahadeen" in the blogosphere. Unless you are willing to do a lot of fact checking, it is difficult to know who has credibility. Besides, I contend American journalists see what they want to see. American journalistic myopia also informs the dissatisfaction of news consumers here in the states and it follows that there would be higher blogosphere utilization relative to other countries. Sadly, I too think that there may be acceptance of the status quo in the countries you mentioned; they may not perceive (or in fact have) the opportunity to effect change.

Anyway, nice blog and thanks for "stopping by." I want your dinner guest list!!! I'm intrigued.

Frank Partisan said...

Thank you for visiting my site. I didn't know that fact about Fanon, you posted.

Now the good news. Currently about 20,000 people a day, start blogs.

If I worked on it, I'd find political Chilean, Jamaican or whatever political blogs. Chile is having a presidential election, that may elect, a socialist female. I bet someone is writing a political blog in Chile.

If anyone wants to know what a fine blog looks like, just come here.


Alice B. said...

Hey CB,

Thanks for visiting. I was following you up until the part where you say: "I too think that there may be acceptance of the status quo in the countries you mentioned; they may not perceive (or in fact have) the opportunity to effect change."

I think you misunderstood me. I actually do not think there is more acceptance of the status quo in other countries. I think that there is more satisfactory news and less media sensationalism in other countries.

Oh and my dinner guest list which I posted on Renegade Eye is:

Bob Marley
Frantz Fanon
Frederick Douglass
A direct ancestor who could talk to me about life in Haiti last century...

Craig Bardo said...


Thanks for your list! I like the Bob Marley pick, I've not read Fanon (who seems to have a lot of fans). I actually considered Douglass. When you speak of Haiti, I assume you mean prior to Papa Doc and even prior to the Marines invading. That would be interesting.

I'm also curious about your belief that folk in the Carribean and South America may be more satisfied with their media. If that's true, what brings that about? Do you have any thoughts on that? I didn't mean to put words in your mouth, I had just not thought about it before.

Alice B. said...

About my dinner list, yes I would like to be able to speak to Caribbeans at any phase of Caribbean history prior to the 60s. For Haiti, I think things got the most interesting around 1799- 1899. And yes, I would love to converse with someone or just be there to see with my eyes what life was like.

About the media in other countries, I can't put my hand in fire for other western countries as they are following the american model more and more. But my experience is that there is less sensationalism in Haiti than here. I mention Haiti because that is the country whose press I know best outside of the US. There is lots and lots of political talk radio and since there isn't lots of money in media, there is much less sentationalism taking place. This is when there is no press repression of course. By and large, the press has been relatively uncensored (or very unsucessfully censored) since after Baby Doc's departure in 1986. I really think Haitians are not necesarily using blogs for news reporting because the list serves and the radio are serving their needs in that respect. That being said, there are political bloggers, www.peyinou.blogspot.com being the most active these days.

Alice B. said...

Renegade Eye,
Thank you for the compliment!