by , Tamar
There have been several ’stories’ in the past week or so which seem to highlight a worrying trend amongst ‘offline’ folk – that is, that bloggers are not worthy of the same respect as other forms of journalist or marketer.
Andrew Marr is probably the most vocal example, speaking at the Cheltenham Literary Festival this week. As reported by the Guardian, Marr apparently described blogging as:
“…so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night”
He went one step further, deciding that bloggers (presumably such a small group of people that they can be lumped in one single demographic) are not the sort of people he wants to be dealing with:
“A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting. They are very angry people”
Thankfully, several other equally-prominent media folk have jumped to the defence of the bloggers in question – my favourite was Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy, also writing in the Guardian:
“They might not be household names, or worthy of a slot on Radio 4, but to dismiss them out of hand seems wrong. As for bloggers being “inadequate, pimpled and single”, that’s no way to talk about Jon Snow. He isn’t single.”
Krishnan makes several very strong points in his reply (with very good humour, to boot) – but the point above really cristalises it for me. Bloggers might not be household names – though I’m sure if you surveyed a lot of households these days you’d be surprised by the result – but they are just as entitled to an opinion as every other commentator.
Worse still, to dismiss them as being not-worth-listening to simply because of the medium they choose to write on is just plain stupid. As a Marketeer, I regularly work with bloggers whose blogs get readerships of well over 100,000 unique users, some of whom none of you reading this will have heard of. But a journalist from the Financial Times – a newspaper with a readership of a little over 400,000 at last count – will be treated with respect and reverence by the journalism community. That doesn’t seem right to me.
More recently (today in fact) Twitter was abuzz with the story of Muireann Carey-Campbell, a blogger who had a nasty run in with a PR agency and a very large phone company. I won’t rehash the story here, as it’s been reported in numerous different places already today. Needless to say, it’s another example of a blogger being treated with much less respect than their more traditional peers. Despite the fact that both ‘guilty’ parties have since apologised, it’s such a shame that these situations only ever seem to get resolved when bloggers make a song-and-dance about it.
I can’t say I’m too surprised that old-media folk are on the defensive when it comes to bloggers – with pay-walls and over-hyped iPad applications supposedly forming the future of ‘real’ journalism, the winds of change are clearly blowing hard. As grown-ups and professional marketeers, it’s up to us to help bloggers prove their clout and show how influential they really are. Considering most of us are bloggers in both our spare and work time time too, I’d say the gloves are firmly off on this one…