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14 points of facism

Open Note to Robin O'Brien-Lynch

UPDATE 3 JULY 2005 -- I've chatted with Robin twice since his article published in the Irish Times and know he's not an Orlowski-styled blog basher. I think we'll see more items on blogging in the future from him that give a broader perspective to blogging in Ireland.

IRISH TIMES -- There are problems with an article written by Robin O'Brien-Lynch in the Irish Times (my fav Irish broadsheet) and I think they should be talking points for a gathering of Irish bloggers on Saturday 16 April in Dublin's Irish Film Institute. I am especially curious about the research methods used to produce the article, how the author informed his judgment and the focus on which the article was commissioned.

O'Brien-Lynch said some interesting things worth reconsideration.

  • "The Irish blogging community is not quite the real thing." We should qualify that statement for the author around a big table upstairs in the IFI.
  • "Blogging (in Ireland) is a relatively new phenomenon." If members of the first generation Irish RSS authors joined the discussion, it might surprise some to know that Ireland was on the global stage and arguing about the initial RSS specification.
  • "The blogging community in this State is a close-knit affair." Several Irish blogs are recording a quarter million visitors a year. That sounds like evidence of a large readership, well beyond the reciprocal reading relationship implied.
  • "Insularity means that a lot of comment is back-slapping between internet buddies." You could level that same criticism at self-serving editors and talk show pundits in the mainstream Irish media. Look for the big egos and fat wage packets as a starting point.
  • "There is some excellent Irish work waiting to be discovered." I wonder what is not in the blogrolls or on the public Bloglines collections of Irish bloggers.
  • "Too many Irish blogs feature ... warblings, excessive links to articles on the Web or just poor writing." The standard of public diaries is not the same as that expected in the Fourth Estate.
  • "There seems to be an unconscious snobbery towards Irish current affairs." Or a nonplussed reaction to the agenda set by the professional editors. You don't measure the efficacy of blogging by its mirroring of the mainstream media.

The headline for the piece alleges that few Irish blogs are talking about Irish matters. That's not what I discovered when looking for the buzz factor resonating in Irish blogs after being kicked up by Kevin Myers' "bastards" column.

  • Technorati locates 119 citations for "Kevin Myers" in the blogosphere and most of them are Irish blogs talking about Myers' vocabulary.
  • Feedster locates 95 mentions of "Kevin Myers" and the first three pages relate to the authentic "Irishman's Diary".
  • PubSub finds more than 50 mentions of "Kevin Myers" in its trawl of Irish blogs.
  • Findory locates 21 "bastards" but only one deals with Kevin Myers.

After re-reading his column, I think Robin O'Brien-Lynch should spend more time listening to pundits like Peggy Noonan before announcing "findings" about the Irish blogosphere. There is more to be acknowledged than the piece credits.

Robin O'Brien-Lynch -- "Lots of blogs but few talking about Irish matters" in The Irish Times.
Peter Nolan -- "What's wrong with the Irish Times?"
John McCormac -- "Irish Times blogging piece stirs up a storm"
Michele Neylon -- "Irish Blog Reality vs Irish Times Mythology"
Seen by IrishEyes -- "Irish blogs" and bluire's retort.