That have been calling… asking where to eat and hang in Austin… here are some not to miss starters…
A publisher mate of mine called me with a few questions about my post on regulating bloggers. His question was how do we draw the line between media and blogger? It’s a tough question but here are some thoughts:
Dont base it on traffic. That ignores the network effect of sites like Facebook and the scale that is achieved through simple links and search. Traffic is also ever shifting. Some days you would be regulated. Other days you wouldn’t. One link in the future could change your status.
Perhaps it could be a simple self declaration based on guidelines – all done online. Guidelines to explore might include whether the blog is revenue generating or directly used for commercial purposes. Or, if the site is a self-declared media network powered by bloggers. A great example of this in action is the impressive MaxConnectors which just launched here in Australia.
I’m not sure how you can effectively regulate the rest of us that are sharing thoughts and ideas, that view our content as personal opinion, and who ultimately are guided by no commercial intent. To regulate this would be to attempt to regulate conversation – albeit, online and in written form, but conversation nevertheless.
I do like the idea of a set of standards for bloggers, commentators and serial opinionators to work to. We could crowdsource those. Clearly there needs to be some discussion around how we manage link-baiting, trolling and conversation-jacking.
Blogging isn’t a business. Its an act of human expression.
Blogging isn’t media. It is a conversation.
Blogging isn’t regulatable. It would be like trying to regulate conversations at the pub or telephone calls.
What the regulators in Australia need to understand is that we are past the tipping point. Communications have shifted from the lips to finger-tips (and will likely shift back again). Just because I choose to express myself here – in written form, doesn’t give anyone the right to regulate without challenging my right to free speach. Surely as the efficiency of communications grows, we should fan those flames, not regulate them. What next – Chatter streams, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, Text messsages.
Lets be clear, some “bloggers”, using the utility of blogging platforms, have become quite successful media enterprises. But they possess nothing like the infrastructure or economic foundation to survive regulation. Moreover, here is what those who want to run interference on public discourse would have you beleive:
“The news media are those that gather, analyse and disseminate news, often with their own opinions added.”
So, in short, absolutely any public conversation that happens in any form is “news media” – especially if it happens in a written form? While we are talking about boundaries then, where start regulation and government start, and where does it stop?
It seems it stops at about 300 page views a week. Which would make this a regulatable blog. Really? Blogs foster sharing of knowledge and competitivness. They are platforms for learning and listening. What seperates them from media outlets isn’t traffic or news but rather the conversations that occur on them.
Lets put those tax payer dollars to better use. Kids are going uneducated. We have too many living beneath the poverty line. We need crtical infrastructure now to lay the foundation for growth. What we don’t need is more beuracracy focusing on social media.