Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Oh, if I was Beathe!

Note: all links in this post go to Norwegian language blogs.

Beathe is a young Norwegian male who wants to write his life as if he was a happy, young girl. He gives no particular reason why, he just wants to. His writing is really pretty "girly", perhaps exessively so, the way young men who play female characters in role-playing games are more female than women.

What is interesting and attentiongrabbing with "Oh, if I was Beathe!" is the fact that he was denied access to the Norwegian portal nettdagbok.no. The purpose of nettdagbok.no is to let other bloggers know that your blog has been updated. A kind of mutual reading circle. The rules for being on nettdagbok.no are: you have your own blog, you link to nettdagbok.no, you write a personal blog and not a topical blog (I suspect the distinction is something along the lines of diary vs themed blog - I also think I would not be permitted even if I wrote in Norwegian), you don't use your blog for flaming and you don't focus on or write engraving about sex. (Yes, nettdagbok.no actually uses the word which translates to engraving. No, we are not talking about double meanings here, who ever wrote that fac must think "inngraverende" means "graverende" - which means something along the lines of compromising.)

But these rules were not there when Beathe wanted to link his/her blog to the portal. At that point all he needed was a blog, writing in Norwegian and a link on his blog to nettdagbok.no.

This has become a crucical moment in the Norwegian blogosphere, because it highlights several problems. One is the problem of "real". Hjorten, one of the Norwegian language blogs I enjoy due to his mixture of heavy sarkasm and common sense, withdraws from nettdagbok.no because he isn't real. His blog, he claims, is an edited version of reality, and doesn't honestly and totally reflect his person.

Tonje points out the elitism in the decision: that only one person can make and enforce the rules of the portal more or less randomly, and decide what is real blogging. Andreas leaves the portal for this reason, while another Andreas claims communication theory insists all writers need a receiver, a reader.

And this is what the portal and the fight is over: the readers.

The purpose of nettdagbok.no is to supply readers for writers. The real power in the media is traditionally not on the supply of writers, we know that. Quality content does not automatically lead to power, as any person with some slight critical sense will discover from reading and watching some of the larger media institutions out there. Power in the media comes with having an audience. And so being refused by a portal such as this means to be excluded from "the source".

Well, guess what, the current discussion proves why blogs have a different kind of power from the established media. Blogs can share, generate and focus readers with very high speed. Beathe reports that s/he has had more readers and comments than ever, since s/he was excluded from nettdagbok.no. The event seems to have made parts of the Norwegian blogosphere react violently, making a stand for freedom of content and the right to present yourself as what ever you like, the kind of enthusiasm and intensity which creates the debates that creates the links that creates the blogosphere. This is the power of the blog, right here, in the buzz and the link and the sharing of the love, not in the organised portals and the control of the access to the readers. Come to think of it, hardly any of the blogs I read would have been permitted under the rules of nettdagbok.no, even if they did write in Norwegian.

The readers are there. Your skill, enthusiasm and involvement will grab them. But if it is only 5 readers who are made for your content, so be it, give those five your best, and it will be good enough. It is about the flow, not the fame. At least for me, and this is my blog, so right here, I rule!

1 comment:

thomas said...
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