Bloggers gain prominence – comments

In my post a couple of days ago on Bloggers gain prominence, I talked about how bloggers are getting more recognition. Some have been courted by corporate and governmental institutions and some seem to have achieved a certain level of legitimacy and recognition in society.

I received an interesting comment which I thought I’d reflect in this post, together with my response.

From CY:

      I’m with AP Ang on this one. Until bloggers are ready to be held accountable – and some are e.g. Yawning Bread, TOC – in the same way traditional media is e.g. by not being anonymous as a start, then I don’t see how they can be equated to say traditional published media.

Not that this will stop bloggers from wanting to write though. And moreover, some of the most insightful stuff are written by bloggers with believe they have nothing to fear as they are out of jurisdiction or believe they cannot be tracked.

From Blogscapes:

Hi CY,

Thanks for your comment. You have a point there – in order to be seen as credible, bloggers need to be responsible for what they post.

It looks like blogging is getting to a stage where it is starting to ’split up’. One one hand, you do see bloggers getting prominence and achieving a certain legitimacy, so much so that some of them have been given press passes to events and press conferences. Blogging is also increasingly seen to be yet another marketing arm used by corporations and government agencies.

However, in having that, some may lose ’street cred’, as I believe many readers still hold on to that notion of the ‘renegade’ blogger, who doesn’t toe institutional lines, and which then makes what he writes, usually more controversial, and hence, more exciting?, leading to more conversations!

Pretty interesting times for the blogosphere!

Perhaps, months or even years from now, we’ll look back and see the different directions and movements taken by the blogosphere.

Well, what do you think, fellow bloggers?

Bloggers gain prominence

Governments are reaching out to engage bloggers, as they have come to realise that bloggers do wield real influence via their online presence and discussions! One agnecy invited bloggers to blog about their campaigns to ‘create an online buzz about a government-sponsored commercial on the family’. 

This happened two months ago at a special session organised by global public relations firm Ogilvy. The commercial depicting a single father struggling to raise his daughter eventually aired on June 21 — with the buzz the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) had hoped for.

The session allowed the bloggers to understand ‘how and why the commercial was made’ and the bloggers’ ‘heartfelt’ reactions online gave ‘policymakers and implementers a greater feel of how people really see’ the initiatives. 

Of course , it could work the other way, in that bloggers could have written negative feedback on it; but even then, that would have helped policy makers to modify the content. It’s important that such sessions have no strings attached, and that bloggers are free to write what they want, or not at all. Otherwise, the whole process could be seen as a farce, and both policy makers and bloggers would lose credibility.

The National Heritage Board is yet another agency who has been actively engaging bloggers. They have been hosting museum tours for bloggers and held a session recently for 40 bloggers at the Asian Civilisations Museum. In what it believes is a first among agencies here, the board is recruiting for an in-house “social media marketing” position, to cultivate relationships with active bloggers. Mr Walter Lim, its director of corporate communications and industry promotion said

As social media gains prominence, we do have a very high proportion of people, especially teens, who spend time online. It is critical that organisations look at how we can leverage on this growth.

Bloggers now appear to function as a “public relations arm” and the Government is recognising them as an important medium to reach the public, said Dr Linda Perry, a senior visiting fellow at the National University of Singapore’s department of Communications and New Media.

It’s a win-win situation. ‘For bloggers, what this all eventually might mean is a greater role in policy…instead of just blogging about what they see the Government doing’, they get to become active participants. 

And we don’t call this age of Web 2.0 the participation age for nothing.

Of course, all these beg the question of accreditation for bloggers.

Could such participation go a step further to include news reporting? Last month, the Malaysian Government issued press passes to about 10 online news sites such as Malaysiakini, but stopped short of handing them out to bloggers since blogs are often personal in nature. Press passes would allow bloggers access to Government briefings or press conferences, for example, and the access to speak to officials at these events. Said editor of The Online Citizen Choo Zheng Xi: “It’s better to bring them in and allow them to see things from the government point of view, rather than lock them out and they criticise without understanding.” … But one concern among commentators is credibility and accuracy – bloggers, after all, would largely not have journalistic training and their writing would not be subject to the editing process of the traditional media.

Associate Professor Ang Peng Hwa of Nanyang Technological University’s communications programme: “Unless they are prepared to have themselves held accountable (for their writing), I don’t see how bloggers can equate themselves with professional media.”

Well, what do you think? Do you think that bloggers being accepted as reporters could happen now or in the near future?  Do you think society is ready to accept the views of bloggers as being legitimate ones?

Read on for information on political videos and blogs and new rules for politics in cyberspace.

Learn from some of Internet’s top blogs

See what you can learn from some of Internet’s top blogs!

And also how to Keep blog content fresh!

Blogworld Expo

You know blogging has come of age when it has its own expo! New media and blogging has indeed gained some credibility!

While reading Copyblogger, I came across the Blogworld Expo that will be held in Las Vegas from Sep 20-21. The website tells us that:

The 2008 BlogWorld & New Media Expo will take place September 20-21 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with the exclusive “Executive & Entrepreneur” conference beginning September 19th. The first and only industry-wide tradeshow, conference, and media event dedicated to promoting the dynamic industry of blogging and new media. In addition to the only industry-wide exhibition, BlogWorld features the largest blogging conference in the world including more than 50 seminars, panel discussions and keynotes from iconic personalities on the leading-edge of online technology and internet-savvy business. If you are currently blogging, vlogging, podcasting, producing other forms of new media content, entering the new media industry, or just want to know what the blogosphere is all about, then you need to be at the most comprehensive blogging convention–BlogWorld & New Media Expo. Located in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center at: 3150 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, NV 89109

The conference schedule shows a pretty interesting line up of talks and workshops from how to make money from blogs, sports blogging, blogs and politics and  blogging and lawsuits!!

I think this is what the new media community and industry needs. I say ‘industry’ as blogging has come a long way from just being a personal diary record. It’s now seen as an important marketing arm of any agency. Even political parties can’t do without it.

And such conferences and seminars will help to add to the knowledge pool and growing awareness of the uses and abuses of new media, and that can’t be a bad thing.

PM Lee Hsien Loong, product placement and New Media at the National Day Rally 2008

New media featured in a pretty big way at the recent National Day rally.

PM Lee Hsien Loong, in his National Day Rally 2008, amongst other things, highlighted the need to use new media and to use it meaningfully and responsibly.

He talked about the need to prepare our people to cope with and manage the use of new media. He also highlighted the websites of McCain and Obama. In an earlier post, I talked about how Obama was winning the Facebook war! If Facebook popularity is anything to go by, Obama would win the US Presidential election! When you do a simple Google search, you will see a long list of websites and blogs devoted to the charismatic contender.

During the rally, he also demonstrated use of new media when he used his Nokia phone (product placement!!) to do a video capture and live video streaming to the Prime Minister’s Office website.

There’s a Channel News Asia website for the National Day Rally 2008 and you can get the whole speech and even watch the video!

The pdf documents of the relevant parts on new media are provided here for further ruminations:

ndr2008_part5-new-media1

ndr2008_part6-easing-rules

I think that it’s a good move to take a more liberal attitude towards the use of new media. Actually, when you think of it, you can’t really control it, can you?

PM Lee also mentioned that new media is a good way to reach out to the citizens, and that political videos and campaign material would be allowed in the next General Elections, unlike in the past GE when these were banned. Howeve, of course, there would need for some safeguards.

Also, new media has been used increasingly by government bodies to connect with the masses. For example, the feedback unit, Reach, is getting more feedback ever since using new media on its website. Already, netizens were engaging the MPs in a webchat on the Rally issues!

Of course, there would be need to handle these and manage the use of new media responsibly, and I do hope that Singaporeans and the local blogosphere is mature enough to handle it. What do you think?

Newspapers like Straits Times and Today go Web 2.0

Popular local newspapers The Straits Times and Today have undergone some facelift and more! Their digital editions are going even more high-tech!

The Straits Times digital html version is now available for free for two weeks from 8 August. To complement their news, they now have RazorTV to bring videos, podcasts, blogs and forums to their viewers as well, probably inspired by the success of their citizenship-journalism portal Stomp.

Despite having many online and digital editions of publications, many still read the print versions. If not, all the print newspapers and magazines would have gone out of business long ago! Knowing that readers still prefer print versions, and also knowing that readers now are constantly on the move and want convenience and portability in their lives, the people at Today now have the Today Online Easy Reader  that allows us to read the digital edition and see it the way as you read it on print!

The application allows you to save the copy on your laptop and PC and read it any time and anywhere, and because of an intelligent feature, it will adjust the page to fit your screen so you never need to scroll!

I’m looking foward to many more Web 2.0 innovations!

New Cuil Search Engine

We have heard of the Wikia search engine, a new open-source-concept, wiki-styled search engine that’s created by Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia founder. It allows users to edit the search and add to it too – all so very community-based, and very Wiki-inspired!

Now, there’s a new search engine Cuil (pronounced cool) that claims to be the biggest search engine on the web, searching 121, 617 892 992 web pages, as of today. That’s more than 120 billion web pages!

It’s been developed by the Menlo Park start-up, with Anna Patterson, as president and co-founder of Cuil. According to the LA Times article, she’s “an ex-Googler, the architect of the Web giant’s TeraGoogle search index that launched in 2006”.

Acoording to Ms Patterson, “Cuil …has come up with a search engine that indexes 120 billion Web pages, ranks results by relevance instead of popularity, organizes the results by ideas and protects the privacy of its users”.

When I did a self-conscious, almost meta-like search of the word “Cuil”, I got some interesting searches. The main Cuil site mentions that “Cuil searches more pages on the Web than anyone else three times as many as Google and ten times as many as Microsoft”. It goes on to say:

Rather than rely on superficial popularity metrics, Cuil searches for and ranks pages based on their content and relevance. When we find a page with your keywords, we stay on that page and analyze the rest of its content, its concepts, their inter-relationships and the page’s coherency.

Then we offer you helpful choices and suggestions until you find the page you want and that you know is out there. We believe that analyzing the Web rather than our users is a more useful approach, so we don’t collect data about you and your habits, lest we are tempted to peek. With Cuil, your search history is always private.

Cuil is an old Irish word for knowledge. For knowledge, ask Cuil.

The Cuil philosophy is also available on the site.

I did another quick self-conscious search on Blogscapes and it provided a user-friendly table, also seen as ‘magazine’ format return of searches with links to the various sites, and all Blogscapes’ entries are listed!

Cool! Oh , I mean Cuil!