The Sunday Times got on to me about a piece they were doing on blogging and asked me a few questions. This is the resultant article that once again tries to put those damned bloggers in their place. (This is the same paper by the way where a staffer anonymously on my blog said I was on the payroll of Hell Pizza because I blogged that I liked their pizzas but they still come calling when they need on and off record information on articles they write). They really don’t like Twenty do they? Is anyone keeping track on how many articles in the paper by a few journos (Oh hi Mark!) are inspired by blogs in Ireland? Or as the Sunday Times puts it: “squawks of online indignation if newspapers steal their material without credit.”
Update: Forgot to add that this is how they described what the piece was about: I’m researching a feature for The Sunday Times this weekend on the role of the political in Irish public discourse
Below are the questions asked and my answers.
> (1) Would you agree that few Irish blogs (other than Irish Economy) have made it into mainstream public consciousness?
I’d disagree. Beaut.ie girls have a regular slot on Gerry Ryan and write a column for the Herald Nialler9 writes for the Indo’s entertainment mag Donal Skehan from Good Mood Food writes a section on food for the Indo weekend section I actually think bloggers are over-represented in media given there’s a few 1000 active blogs in Ireland
> (2) Does any Irish blog/blogger make money?
Arseblog.com was Irish and was acquired by OleOle.com and the guy who ran it works for them too I believe. Beaut.ie have an agency you have to talk to in order to put an ad on their site! I know some put ads on their personal blogs but I think that’s pretty vulgar but that’s me. Businesses are making money from having a blog, Komplett are making 6 figures from it and expect to make 7 figures. http://url.ie/4btp
Myself and others I know make money indirectly. We have nothing to sell or buy off our blogs but it establishes authority and credibility and leads to brand recognition and people recommending your services to others. I’ve lost count of the number of consultancy gigs I got from a reader of my blog who recommended me to a friend or their boss. A few of these people I’ve never met at all, we just know each other via blog comments.
> (3) Is Ireland too close-knit a society to need blogs – ie do we not just chat to each other down the pub?
Irish people use every communications tool going. Pubs and chat there, phone, text messaging (we send more texts than most other countries in the world), 1.2M of us are on Facebook and 900k of us log on every day to communicate and possibly remove drunken photos of ourselves. We sing, write, paint, I think we get hooked on every form. Blogging has definitely slowed down the past while as all these other tools that allow us to communicate have come along.
> (4) Have a lot of bloggers, in your experience, migrated to social networking sites and Twitter?
Yes, some have given up the ghost completely, some have gone from daily updates to weekly or monthly. It’s a bit like when texting came about. It has a massive impact on people making phonecalls.
> (5) Isn’t it unsatisfactory/annoying/disheartening that Twenty Major will get 50 comments for a posting “John O’Donoghue is a cunt”, but Gavin Sheridan will get none or 1 comment for a brilliant analysis of Nama?
> And even if none of the above, isn’t it reflective of the blogging/internet debate experience?
Everyone has their niche I suppose. TheStory is fine for posting up dull FOIs with a conspiracy theory hook to them. There’s a space for that. If you read the posts though, they are more like a noticeboard than something that really engages. Compare that to Twenty Major which is populist with a subtle intelligent analysis of current affairs. More people join in on the posts as the posts generally encourage discussion, even if it is to shout at TDs. Interestingly though, the traffic and numbers don’t matter as much online as it’s more about the quality of people. TheStory being read by both journalists and politicians means a post there might have way more impact than if Twenty blogged about the same topic.
> Damien, these are just generally areas I’m exploring. Wd welcome your views on any related themes re. the blogging experience in Ireland
I think blogging has actually become even more niche as time has moved on. More people are online, way more are communicating online but while Facebook goes from 400k users in January 2009 to 1.2 Million by the start of December we still have 4-5k blogs in Ireland. I think it’s good that there are now more ways to communicate than just blogging but they still have amazing reach if people use them effectively.