Pods & Blogs is worth a listen at the BBC (Real Player needed) nearly 50 minutes long. Covers, in detail, some of the highlights and innovations that happened through 2005 with specific reference to UK poddom/blogdom. There’s been quite a few 2005 citizen journalism round up pieces. Jo Twist’s and The Editor’s Weblog were two others I’ve read.
In early December, I pitched the same idea to The Guardian Technology section. Back then, Guardian Media had just run a piece by Emily Bell about the same topic. Technology Editor Charles Arthur was worried any piece I might be commissioned to do might overlap. In the end it didn’t go ahead, but Charles made some good points when we were discussing the story,
Most people don’t know what a blog is, don’t know where to find them. The images that most people saw from July 7th were mediated through news organisations, which chose (very carefully) which of the citizen journalism things to show or not show. No mainstream media have been put out of business by ‘citizen journalism’, unless you’ve got examples from, say, local papers where photographers have been dumped in favour of people with camera mobiles….
…I’m not turning this down, I’m saying you have to beef it up, and really make a case that will persuade the sceptical reader (like me, or my wife, because she’ll be the one who’ll say ‘But surely..’ when/if she reads it in the section.)
When I sat down to think about making a case, as requested, I couldn’t. Well, not an entirely convincing one anyway.
2005 didn’t change anything. Newspapers, Radio and TV have always requested readers and viewers send material in. The quantity may have increased in 2005 as a result of more people carrying cameraphones in their pockets. But, the idea that there was a change of consciousness in the general public, that citizens have been promoted to journalists and journalists have in some way been demoted to become citizens is a bit daft.
The percentage of people who bother to record events, blog/moblog, upload images to Flickr, send things to the BBC is small. And, as Charles says, the percentage of the general population who aware of the tools to do these things is even smaller. Occasionally an image or a blogpost gets far wider recognition. However, of that small percentage of folk who are recording stuff, blogging etc. a very, very, very small percentage are garnering the interest of the MSM and other outlets. A yet smaller percentage are now mixing it in both old and new media worlds. As far as the general British publc is concerned, it’s business as usual. So what if the odd cameraphone image gets shown on the Ten o’clock news? Big deal.
However, those folk who do blog/moblog and all that can see the potential, can see revolution. The tools are all there. It’s how they will become utilised by the wider, non so geek, public.
"Even though all registered players had author privileges on the Treasure Hunters Blog, they wrote a lot in comments instead of creating entries. I suspect that many people didn’t really understand the difference. You can’t be too basic I guess, when it comes to explaining something new.
We didn’t have time for usability testing of the sites because we got the campaign online in just three weeks. That’s always a mistake. But Budget wanted to finish it before Thanksgiving and so there was no other way but to shape and improve the site as we went. We changed things about the blogs every single day to make them easier to use."
I find blogging a piece of piss… now. But, it still isn’t easy to do. You can’t just pick it up and run with it, as they say, you do need more than a bit of time and technical nouse.
And from an itnerview with Henry Copeland of BlogAds.com
"I don’t think reading or writing blogs will be pervasive… blogs are not an experience like TV with something for everyone. They are for the creative elite, folks who are hyper-users of information, folks who want tomorrows news or opinion today. So for a good long while there will still be a limited number of people in the ad/marketing industry who read/write blogs. Also, though growing, there will be a limited number of companies who can cope with the non-hierarchical actors not audience business model."
Yup. Still niche. Still small. Bit like a noisy party in a soundproof room, but the door isn’t locked. Kinda.
UPDATE: Henry blogs more on what we discussed.