Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Be the best, be a blogger

How the Daily Telegraph looks to me now.

I love being a blogger. All you need is a blog and a Twitter account and you buy yourself instant influence. I do get taunts from hostile readers pointing out that I don't have many readers, but I couldn't be any more relaxed about that. As it happens, hits are climbing, which is nice, but not essential. What matters is talking to the right people, presenting new ideas. It's better to reach a thousand people with a new idea then a hundred thousand with a bad and old one. Ideas have power.

If forced to choose between telling thousands of Breitbart readers things they already believe, or challenging orthodoxies and speaking with vibrant, switched on people, I choose the latter every time. Now when I look at the so-called mainstream media, I look upon it with the same quiet amusement one would have looking at a child's drawing.

While it is a source of increasing irritation that the legacy media still set the agenda, it is clearly losing influence and their agenda is cut down faster than ever before. In fact, if blogs aren't a regular feature of your media diet then you ought to be ashamed.

In this I find I do not seek recognition from the media, nor do I court it. I think I've blocked most of the blowhard columnists on Twitter simply because what they produce is not news to me, has no value and I can speak directly to people in ways they cannot.

Through coordinated action, ideas can be lodged in the public consciousness and can only snowball as each new recipient adds a little of their own experience and knowledge. Thus an inclusive, communicative policy is always better to enhance one's understanding of issues. That is largely why the media remain stagnant. They see their role as projecting and transmitting. In their minds the social contract is that they speak and we listen.

Those days are over, We can bite back. They will have their followers and admirers but they can be picked off and we can slowly erode the authority of the lazy hacks who assume authority. The prestige they stand upon is threadbare. Even Buzzfeed is held in greater esteem than The Telegraph these days.

In this, the Telegraph and the Guardian are worried. And so they should be. The Telegraph is reduced to giving its hard copy away to massage circulation figures and their online figures are not to be trusted. The number of people who use their website landing pages is increasingly fewer as Twitter becomes the ultimate in customised news. For once in their history they must compete on a level playing field.

The reason they are dying is because they are producing low cost fluff, in a market already saturated with similar. The hacks working for the legacy media are almost entirely interchangeable, and it;s only their z-list celeb columnists who have any ideological differences. In that the product is much the same. Tedious partisan dogma that only the most gullible digest without heavy scepticism.

In terms of quality and depth of expertise, they can't compete with bloggers  -and since they are unwilling to enter a dialogue with bloggers or promote a thriving conversation, seeking to pretend the competition doesn;t exist, they increasingly find themselves left behind and irrelevant. Their demise is entirely deserved.

In this every post I write is one more chip away at their authority, and every new blogger coming online is one more axe blow to the tree trunk. And that's why you, dear reader, could be pivotal to winning this referendum. Your voice is as good as theirs and you may know something we don't. Nobody loses from you adding your voice to the debate.

Some have expressed hesitation, by way of not having any hard expertise on things as they find them, but that's all the more reason to start blogging. Blogging is the process of ordering ones own thoughts, setting out what one understands, and what one does not. It's about fishing for good questions and looking for the answers. We learn by doing.

In this process, a blogger can learn many things about reader psychology, media audiences and broader human behaviour. It's an enriching occupation where the main currency is knowledge. While knowledge alone is not enough, knowledge with persistence can change the tide of a debate. Ideas gather momentum, building up pressure until the wall of the dam breaks. Once an idea is set free, it cannot be stopped.

So if you have been reading over these last few months and thinking you could do as well or better, chances are, you probably could - and you have nothing to lose by diving in. There is always one more place at the table. You never know, something you know could be the missing piece that completes our current understanding. None of us have the whole picture, but together we can build a body of knowledge - and just a hundred conscientious bloggers can threaten the prestige of the media.

We may never match them for exposure, but we can defeat them on passion, persistence, expertise and quality. We can hold the media to account in ways nobody else can. We can keep them honest, where by, at the very least, we can make lazy hackery inexcusable. Ultimately, it is we who control the media. They will only try on what we let them get away with. Eventually they will realise there is a heavy price to pay for mediocrity. And if they don't, and go the way of the dinosaur, well, why should we care?

If you are reading this, then you clearly have the wit and the time to blog for yourself, so why not dive in? You have nothing to lose and your fellow bloggers will will welcome you. Together we have real power if only we choose to wield it. So what are you waiting for? Let's do this.

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