Sunday, September 9, 2007

The 800 lb. Gorilla with a neck beard in the room.(aka are bloggers press?)

Darren over at Commonsense Gamer posed this question to the audience, and I thought I would throw in "my two cents"(where did this expression come from!? evidently here). So the question "Are bloggers press?", to me there isn't a yes or no answer to this, the one word answer is "sometimes". I think a better question might be, "are bloggers acting as press?", this implies that bloggers are not press to begin with but adopt that mentality, and exist as a subset of the whole of bloggers. To me there are tiers in the blogging world:

Tier 1: Professional Blogger!

What a job title! "Professional Blogger" is essentially a synonym for Internet Journalist, these are generally trained(none said well trained) writers who generally work for major outlets such as Engadget, and blog at a generally frequent pace, with a high quality of content and high level of trust by their readers.

Tier 2: The "Underground" Blogger

These bloggers are generally less well known, but are still influential within their given community/industry, they lack the "well formed-ness" if I might put it that way of the average journalist, have a varying post frequency, but still contain valuable content to their target audience, and are considered a trusted source by their readership. These would include bloggers such as Kos at DailyKos, f13 and even the lovable Grimwell. These bloggers are mixed bag of full time enthusiasts and people in industry.

Tier 3: The "Really?" Blogger

These are the bloggers of whom you wonder "how the heck does this person get so many hits?". These bloggers have little to no professional manner but still manage to drive an absurd amount of traffic to their site. They are influential but usually because they are well connected, and can break a story. Their content is not always trust worthy, but because of the blogger's credibility they maintain a level of trust with their readership. This tier includes the well known Perez Hilton and Matt Drudge of The Drudge Report.

Tier 4: The Refreshers

This should be nicknamed "The Echo Chamber", as 85% of their content stems from or is a direct copy of another's work, including news aggregators like the good people at EQ2-Daily, news/opinion blogs such as this and many other sites. These bloggers for the most part are news junkies and live from the crack pipe that is their RSS reader(my preferred "piece"), which they check throughout the day so they have something to post about later. They are amateur journalists who are passionate about their given niche, and generally blog "for the fun of it!". Their posts are a mix of news/opinion, personal experience, and links to Youtube videos (come on! how could I not link to "Chocolate Rain"?).

Tier 5: The "You wouldn't believe what happened today!" Blogger

These bloggers use their blogs more as personal diaries than the rest, occasionally giving their opinion on personally interested topics, and news, they make up the bulk of the blogging community as a whole and see their blog as a personal outlet to the world, which is a great personal exercise but really lack any serious manner in their posts. In this category there exist such as web-celeb iJustine and half of my graduating class.

Now we have this hierarchy, but still not talked about the "press" and bloggers as journalists. Now in my opinion I believe tier one, and two are most certainly that, Internet Journalists, tier three is more of a case by case basis as many can hardly be considered journalists but do control a lot of eyeballs on the net and therefore command some level of respect in industry. Tier four however are amateur, but this isn't a bad thing, these bloggers make up the base of many communities and provide a human touch to the often detached professionals. They are biased, they are flawed, they are not always fantastic writers, but that is why people read them, because we want to be a part of a community, whatever that subject it may be. Tier four is quite possibly one of the most important tiers, as they create for no other purpose other than it is something they are passionate about.

So in closing, I think that blogging as it has been said before is a new medium, it is like a news letter with live comments(I have to say comments are a huuuge part of why blogs are successful, and I could write an article just about how important comments are, but I digress). These tiers discussed before are not just "press" in the normal sense, they are using their blogs to conform to the norms of "press" as we have known it and many are doing a good job of it, so good that I rarely read magazines much anymore(I am not saying magazines are becoming irrelevant), because I can get my media reviews online, and I can get real opinion online. Anyways it is getting late and I've been going on far too long, until next time "Rock over London, Rock on Chicago..."



Cow Nose the 50 Pound Cat said...

Drink pepsi not cola!

:O You are a wesley willis fan? Coooool!

Well I am tier 5 blogger. *sniffles* Scrounging in the waste heap of blogs deep in the sewers of blogtopia begging for a wee little comment from some passerby.

Lol JK. ^^ I liked your post... still... tier 5?

Well I will defend the dairy-style bloggers by saying "We don't give a f'!" Our blogs are there for ourselves more then they are for other people (people reading our blogs is just a bonus for us).

Cheston said...

Oh I absolutely meant no disrespect to the "tier 5" bloggers, this hierarchy is by no means a test of relevance or importance, many tier 5 bloggers have a large readership and/or are great writers, personal blogging is incredibly helpful on a personal level and fun for readers who feel connected on some level. So in short if you are a "tier 5" blogger, be proud of it, you are a very important piece of the blog-O-sphere. =)

Cow Nose the 50 Pound Cat said...

Hmmm ok... allright... >.> *glares suspiciously*