Blogs just entertainment, says the newspapers

The Finnish blogosphere is buzzing about an article in Helsingin Sanomat, which is deriding the blogs having become mostly entertainment, and not citizen journalism, as was touted a few years ago.

You know what? They're right.

And it does not matter. At all.

I am reminded of the early days of Linux. People said it would kill Windows and all other operating systems. But, if you look around today - Windows is still here, and going strong.

But the other operating systems are pretty much gone. The dozens of operating systems from the time - Xenix, SCO, IRIX, HP/UX, BeOS, Amiga - they're no longer contenders. Linux killed all other mid- and low-range operating systems. (The different BSD variants survive because they are works of love, not money. I would argue the same for OSX as well.)

Linus Torvalds has repeatedly said that he does not care too much about his competition - that he did what he did just for fun, not to kill other operating systems and assure dominance of the world. And this passion about doing the right thing is what made Linux what it is now - a very serious contender. It's not killing Windows - but it's certainly making a splash.

And to me blogs are much the same thing: they're about passion. In the long run, things that people care about tend to survive.

If blogs crush the mainstream journalism in the next few years, it's by accident, not on purpose. I doubt that they will (getting crushed by blogs would require some massively dumb sticking to 19th century practices), but if I were the editor of a small science journal or a handicraft magazine, I would worry. The readership of those is moving to the web - because it's cheaper, it's better, and there's more selection.

Stephen Eley pointed out in one of his podcasts that the listenership of his science fiction audio podcast, "Escape Pod", is already exceeding the subscriber amounts to almost all other science fiction periodicals. And why shouldn't it? It's of excellent quality, free (both as in speech and beer), and it even pays the authors. And clearly, it is a work of passion.

Just give it time, and passion. And ignore whatever other people are saying.

Build whatever matters to you.


You're absolutely right for the four fifth of the post, but you _are_ wrong saying the article is right. What the article is getting _fundamentally_ wrong is the premise that "entertainment" and "citizen journalism" are the two ends of the stick that measure how influential or meaningful the blogosphere as a whole is - for journsalism or the society as a whole.

--Jere Majava, 17-Mar-2008

Hmm... I didn't read it that way. I always figured that even entertainment can be journalism, if done properly. I find science magazines to be very entertaining, but I wouldn't dare to call them "not journalism".

Did the article really say that? If it did, then it would appear that the author has far deeper problems than the blogosphere. I gotta read it again...

--JanneJalkanen, 17-Mar-2008

Janne, I have to say that once again you speak words of wisdom. Respect.

I have to agree with Jere and the guys when it comes to the methodology of the article. Saying that blogs are mainly enterntainment based on top 50 Finnish blogs doesn't really count as scientific evidence.

But. Based on my own experiences, I wouldn't be too surprised if it turned out to be that way.

You're absolutely right in saying: "And it does not matter. At all."

Frankly speaking, I just don't understand why Finnish blogsphere is so obsessed with the MSM. Go out, breathe and play.

--Petri, 17-Mar-2008

Thanks, Petri. What was it that Gandhi said?

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." I guess we're now at the laughing part.

--JanneJalkanen, 17-Mar-2008

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