To be fair she was advocating self – censorship rather than state – censorship. Iran and China have blogger Codes of Conduct that are voluntary. If you insult religion or undermine the party you are volunteering to go to jail. One woman’s incivility is another blogger’s freedom of speech. It may not be to the taste of politicians or self-appointed arbiters of blogging protocol, but that is how it is, freedom of speech means you will find people saying disagreeable things in disagreeable ways.
Every day Guido wakes up with the sole intention of inciting rebellion and insulting leading figures in our own regime – so a sense of solidarity is natural.
Guido ventures into foreign matters only because the dead-tree-press are getting into a bit of a lather about us hoi polloi writing, horror, what we like on blogs, Jonathan Freedland is today’s worrier about the health of the blogosphere. His focus is on unruly comments. He notes the quip “First they came for the commenters, and I said nothing because I did not comment.” That sentiment is Guido’s feeling. The comments here do get out of hand occasionally (imagine what they’d be like if Guido didn’t hit delete). The house rules are mysterious, arbitrary and sometimes inconsistently exercised. But this blog is not a public service, it is private property, no taxpayers were harmed in the production of this blog. Nobody forces you to come here, you don’t have to read it, so if you don’t like it, don’t come back.
The difference in audience size enjoyed by the likes of Iain and Guido compared to the contributors to our respective anti-blogs is growing. Now readers will know that Guido, like Iain, is a humble type, shy and retiring even, so it is with some hesitation that Guido ventures to say that the reason Iain and Guido have far more readers is that we try to be entertaining and bring news. Now Guido may only aspire to gossip and tittle-tattle (over 80,000 people have watched the Gordon the Bogeyman story), but that seems to be what people want and enjoy.
It may not be what others think Guido should write about, it may not be in the deferential style that others think should be employed, it certainly gets up the noses of the old media and the embedded-in-the-political-system journalists known as the Lobby. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.
Simple. Better still, offer a more compelling and attractive product that beats Guido in the competitive marketplace that is the blogosphere. That takes hard work. The easier path is just to call for censorship or attack and try to undermine the legitimacy of your rivals. Claim that Iain and Guido’s ascendancy is not based on hard work or talent, but lies and fiction, claim that the two most successful and well known bloggers in Britain somehow undermine blogging. We have done so much to popularise this medium – it is not going to wash. Blogging is just an easy way of publishing, it is a software platform, not a religious movement. Get real.
The new anti-Iain blog is in a sense a tribute blog and further evidence that the contributors have a poverty of ideas. They would enjoy more success if they tried something less derivative and more novel. Meantime Dizzy wants an anti-blog as well. You’re no one daahhling, if you haven’t got one.
This is the blog you love, and they hate.
The second surprise was that Tom Watson MP has replaced Iain Dale as the top referring website, an indication that perhaps his traffic is either eclipsing Iain’s or that he writes about Guido more. Hard to say.
Best Man at a wedding this afternoon, so no blogging…
Consider the blog to be in Beta version…