Granny Rant
Saturday, January 17, 2004
 
::: Who Are These Bloggers :::

By chance and the art of surfing, I tripped over PressThink and an article about Blogging.

What's Radical About the Weblog Form in Journalism?

[...]
Ten Things Radical about the Weblog Form in Journalism:

1.) The weblog comes out of the gift economy, whereas most (not all) of today's journalism comes out of the market economy.
[...]

Ok, so what exactly does that mean? Gotta go check it out.

"Gift Economy"

Our society is predominantly an exchange economy. This is a sophisticated adaptation to scarcity that, unlike the command model, scales quite well. Allocation of scarce goods is done in a decentralized way through trade and voluntary cooperation (and in fact, the dominating effect of competitive desire is to produce cooperative behavior). In an exchange economy, social status is primarily determined by having control of things (not necessarily material things) to use or trade.

Most people have implicit mental models for both of the above, and how they interact with each other. Government, the military, and organized crime (for example) are command hierarchies parasitic on the broader exchange economy we call `the free market'. There's a third model, however, that is radically different from either and not generally recognized except by anthropologists; the gift culture.

[...]
Gift cultures are adaptations not to scarcity but to abundance. They arise in populations that do not have significant material-scarcity problems with survival goods. We can observe gift cultures in action among aboriginal cultures living in ecozones with mild climates and abundant food. We can also observe them in certain strata of our own society, especially in show business and among the very wealthy.

Abundance makes command relationships difficult to sustain and exchange relationships an almost pointless game. In gift cultures, social status is determined not by what you control but by what you give away.
[...]

Ok ... got all that. But ... I am a bit confused by the interest in blogs and
the examination of methods, credentials, skills, sourcess, etc. Why would
real journalists care what bloggers are doing?

Blogger Granny can only offer these tidbits on why we blog:

1) A forum for debate as opposed to an attempt to discuss (with
friends) subjects more detailed than the newest store opening
at the mall, and avoidance of the resulting thousand-yard stare.

2) Blogging seems to flow naturally from the search for information
not provided by the print or mainstream media. There is something
to be said about subjects being discussed on blogs that never appear
in the professional media - or do not appear until 3-4 months later.
If this is a function of the "making sure" or defining sources as credible,
all I can say is most journalists of today appear more worried about
being wrong or being sued than reporting. God forbid there should
be an expose (oopps - sorry, but too amateur to know how to make
that little mark that should be there) or a politician or corporate
CEO should be embarrassed.

*** See .... this is what happens ... now I am off an an unprofessional
RANT. All form goes right out the window. Do you really think bloggers
care about audience in the millions? If so, perhaps they should try the
professional sector.

Truthfully, I turned to reading blogs because you simply cannot
get a complete news picture through America's media anymore. Why is
that?

When network and cable media anchors or reporters or pundits finally
do decide to break underbelly stories, they do so with a wry grin, a
wink and an aw shucks ..." could that be true?"

3) Number three is to the level of professionalism of this blogger:
Length and depth of entry is often determined by a growling
stomach. On that score, you nailed it ... it is from a "gift economy"
in the respect there is probably at least a Ham Sandwich downstairs
and I am upstairs.
I can remedy that .... see ya

Gran, who blogs at leisure, no editors, no deadlines.
Too bad, cause I was gonna blast ya ... perhaps
after.

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