This stuffMar 20th, 2011 | By Ian Poulton | Category: Personal Columns
The friend who keeps this blog online, using technical expertise gained during his days with the national broadcaster, combined with knowledge of the esoteric gained from his schooldays, and his own innate brilliance, writes that something called the Irish Blog Awards is coming to an end. I entered the blog awards one year, maybe 2008, but there was no category in which to fit; the organisers did not acknowledge religion as a sufficient facet of Irish life to give it its own category (though numerically less significant activities such as politics had their own category – did you ever compare party membership with church membership?)
Perhaps the idea itself of there being blog awards was odd; a bit like anarchist government. Real blogs, as opposed to websites that are simply updates on the activities of the writers, are personal, idiosyncratic, defying authority, often deliberately outside definition. It’s like asking, ‘what’s best, apples or oranges?’ Even the concept is beyond many institutions. If one wanted to enter the Church of Ireland General Synod media awards, the blog would have to be entered under the category described as:
‘Most innovative use of Interactive Communication Technologies (ICT) or ‘social media’ over and beyond standard websites, e.g.: blogs, podcasts or social networking or content-sharing websites’.
Bracketing blogs and social-networking and podcasts suggests there is no real understanding of what is taking place: it’s an ‘apples or oranges’ sort of category.
Google Analytics gives this blog two and a half thousand readers a month; that’s real, verifiable people as opposed to the numbers generated by bots, browsers, and single page views generating multiple hits, represented by the hit counters that are readily available. 2,500 is more than six times the number of people in my parish; a doubling of the number, and it will have more readers than the ‘Church of Ireland Gazette’, the weekly newspaper of the Church of Ireland. (Despite the build up in the readership, there has so far been no attempt by church authorities to seek accountability, perhaps they really do not understand what is happening under their noses).
The internet is an anarchic republic, it is an ungoverned public place and those who gain readers will be those who offer the best ‘story’. My friend Rob Jones has understood the nature of post-modern society as he seeks to build a new church in Rathmines. People are not interested in propositions or dogmas, they are interested in narratives; how does the narrative being offered relate to their own personal narrative?
Perhaps the very concept of awards is something outside the sort of narrative by which many people live; it is a harking back to 20th Century ideas about measuring and testing things. In a time when the question is, ‘what’s best for me?’, the answer that something is best for someone else no longer works.