2006 – The year of bloggers being copied and pasted, 2007 is …

If only I knew what I was talking about… this is a look back on 2006

Looking back at 2006

Internationally, 2006 for me was the year of YouTube. Easily attachable and watchable video finally happened. The promise from 10 years ago that there was more to the Internet than email and the blink tag became a reality. Bebo also continued to happen and I still don’t think it a bad thing. More on that in a few days…

In Ireland, I think 2006 started to give a voice to the person on the street. Digital Rights Ireland got some more traction and fought the Government in the courts to protect the common man, even if the common man wasn’t sure what data retention was all about. It also spread the word to a breed of people (bloggers and podcasters) that regularly spread the word to others.

Bloggers started to get some attention too via the Blog Awards and a good few follow-up articles through the year and one or two radio slots too. Hopefully this encouraged people to strike out and start their own blog or go out and subscribe to blogs for the first time. It may even have encouraged those that blog to blog more and expand their horizons.

Podcasting got some recognition too and it was great to see the Net Visionary Awards giving a nod to bloggers and podcasters. It is good that people are seeing that home-produced content can stand up to the stuff from the big boys and I think the Tuppenceworth paper round project showed that “respected” publications are a tad on the lazy side.

On the whole original content bit, it was nice to see that the press are paying attention to bloggers even if it is just to rip off their content or pictures. We were at least being read in 2006 (and copied and pasted) It’s a start. The story about the PSNI mySpace profile in the Tribune could only have been sourced from my blog. Cheers guys. Eventually they’ll swallow their pride and start crediting bloggers or else licence our content. Wouldn’t it be nice if they said “Hey we just saw your blog post on subject x, would you be interested in rewriting it for print form?”. It could happen…

Politicians too seem to be listening slightly to bloggers. 2006 saw bloggers in the audience in Questions and Answers and then asked back for hob-knobbing in the green room afterwards with the panelists. The nice part was that Q&A would love to see more people who have constructive and intelligent comments and questions and they see bloggers as fitting that bill or so it seems.

The Blogging the Election conference on a cold Saturday during a busy political week saw three politicians come along and give their experiences of blogging, along with other well known and infamous bloggers talking about the influence of blogs and blogging. The feedback seemed to be good, despite a catering fuckup and freezing cold! There have been a good number of politicians since who have started blogs and some are good while others are just press release archives. They’ll learn eventually I hope.

My own personal highlights had to be the Blog Awards in March and thank you to everyone who helped out with them. BarCamp Ireland was also a hoot and the Blogging the Election conference was superb. Hopefully there’ll be another politics and blogging conference in early 2007. Glad I worked with so many talented people during the year at those events.

What to look forward to in 2007.

Again, these are just my guesses and hopes for 2007. So, we as a group were copied and pasted in 2006. We were used as a fact-checking resource but what we found was taken (sometimes without attribution) and reused in more mainstream publications but mostly without our opinions. Hopefully in 2007, our opinions will also be used. We may see a few bloggers being asked to join the fold in newspapers or on radio. Already the Newstalk Saturday evening preview of the Sunday papers has bloggers on the panel.

The 2007 election may or may not be the defining moment of bloggers driving nationwide debate but I do think that there will be more opportunities for bloggers to say something or find something out and introduce a new perspective into political debate.

The rigourous fact-checking(of some) and lack of deadlines for Irish political bloggers could very well mean that a scandal that that may have slyed away from the public might be brought back into the spotlight by a blogger. Pat Leahy said 2006 was the year that the voters kicked back and perhaps 2007 will be the year that blogs help them kick back more. Harry McGee joined the blogging world in 2006 and maybe more will follow or at least more of his peers might start reading blogs. The questions to ask politicians post seemed to get some very good questions to ask and it would be nice if politicians were made to honestly answer questions like that. Maybe they politicians can be filmed when put on the spot.

Which leads me on to the Votetube project which could be the political tool of the common (broadband enabled) man and woman and could be the central store for incendary political content. Content that could piss off someone so much that they call shenanigans or create some kind of fuss or content that makes someone laugh so much at the clotheless emperor that it gets everyone to stop and notice it too.

I hope to see the new websites for the Indo, Business Post and Tribune pay more attention to blogs, rss, podcasts and video. Hopefully they don’t fuck it all up and charge for these new features. Might be nice if the Examiner got a little more interactive as well.

Lastly, 2007 will probably see me step down from IrelandOffline but not before I get some things done that I wanted to do in 2006. Again with an election year it might be good to have one final charge at making the Government and industry do something to bring about broadband for all. It is at least, worth a try.

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