Critics vs. Bloggers

Jay Rayner in a feature in the Observer yesterday picked up on the media debate du jour: critics or bloggers? In fact the article is more about the threat to ‘old media’ from the rise of the amateur but it exposed the professionals (well, most of them anyway) to be almost entirely ignorant of the flourishing online reviewing community. It was nice to see Lynn Hatwell featured in the piece as one of the best and most influential of the UK book bloggers, but I can’t help feeling that this is a non-argument. Either ‘old media’ will ‘get’ the Internet or it won’t (as it happens I think The Guardian/Observer does). It’s more likely to end up being about what the words are printed on than it is about who wrote them and why.

On a side note, what struck me about the picture that went with the piece was how many of the bloggers are [ahem] around thirty or so. OK, maybe a little more in some cases. Well, alright, some of them could be described as middle-aged. Blogging-reviewing is often in essence a transfer of ‘old media’ approaches–read book, write review–with a personal twist and maybe the real revolution is yet to come in new formats and new attitudes. Perhaps we should expect, in around five years’ time, a blog post entitled “Which Way Now For Blogging?”, by Lynn Hatwell, only she seems to care more about the books and her readers than she does about the medium.

Edit, 15.07.08: Oded Noy posted an interesting piece over on the technology blog Internet Evolution that highlights this point about new attitudes and new formats. Noy is talking about person to person communication and mobile technology mostly, but these technological changes, and the cultural changes that hang on them, have implications for this debate too. As Noy explains, “To stay connected in the world of the next generation, communication needs to be crisp, relevant, and NOW.” That sounds unlike the ‘old media’ review, but also unlike the ‘new’ blogging-reviewing Rayner’s article is about. Oded Noy’s article is here.

Posted by Chris Routledge

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