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Journalists, Bloggers and the Australian Blogosphere

Well the MediaConnect conference (Kickstart 06) is over and I’m home again and am in catch up mode (I managed to keep the inbox down to 1200 unread emails over the three days).

I found Kickstart to be a worthwhile experience overall. The highlights for me all revolved around the people I met more so than the content of presentations (not quite where I was at as a blogger – but there were a few interesting sessions).

It was fascinating to watch the small group of new media people (podcasters and bloggers) interacting with journalists, vendors and PR people (not that those categories are mutually exclusive as I met PR people, journalists and vendors who were also bloggers). My observation was that there is a little jostling for position (perhaps legitimacy) going on – but that there were some who were genuinely interested in discovering how the different industries could work together (and a few who were pretty stuck in their ways – believing that their paradigm was pretty much the only legitimate one).

This was probably most evident in a series of posts written by bloggers over the few days (both by those in attendance and those who were not) around the topic of an Aussie A-list. I won’t rehash the whole thing here but you can follow the ‘conversation’ with Charles, Mark, Cameron, Ben, Shane, Anthony and Frank (let me know if I missed anyone). update: Cameron has written a bit more on Kickstart here.

Not wanting to stir the pot but the conversation of who’s in and who’s out of an A-list to me is a sign of perhaps the level of maturity that we have as an Aussie Blogosphere.

I’m not saying that those having the conversation are immature – but rather that perhaps it is a reflection of the fact that Australian blogging doesn’t have a really strong identity. Conversations about who is in, or who is legitimate are just a natural part of establishing such an identity (the conversation reminded me of some of the elements in The Blog Cycle that Anil Dash wrote about last year).

I’m not sure we need an Aussie A-list and so stayed out of what was a largely friendly conversation. I was however happy to see Aussie bloggers interacting – something that I feel is important and that we should do more of.

In fact one of my reflections to Phil Sim (organizer of Kickstart) was that I’d love to see a larger contingent of new media types gather together in future versions of the conference (or in some other form). I’d have loved to get all the bloggers in the same room at the same time over the last few days just to swap stories, dream a little and nut out whether there was some way of drawing a larger gathering of us together in the future.

We’ve long talked about an Aussie Blogger gathering and while I enjoyed the company of the PR types, vendors and Journalists over the past few days it left me with a bit of a thirst to be around more of ‘my own kind’.

Having said that I did enjoy some of the conversations that I had with journalists particularly – some of whom are genuinely and honestly grappling with new media and what it means for their industry (and themselves personally).

Overall it was a worthwhile few days and good just to get out of the office and interact with ‘real people’ face to face – something I need to do more of.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Martin says:

    I don’t believe there really is a true Aussie blogosphere and after reading through all the posts and comments we’ve got a long way to go – the journo/vendor/blogger debate is so old.

    How many times has there been talk of a Aussie blog conference? It’s never going to happen because there’s no market for it here in Australia.

    Australian mainstream media has only a few main players and is very protective to keep it that way – hence why all the snide talk of “citizen media” being inferior. Heck, I’ve had more mentions in American media with my blog yet it’s a struggle to get a mention here in Australia.

    Most Aussie bloggers I know blog for a worldwide audience (80% America) and simply infuse some Aussie flavour into their writing.

  2. Luke says:

    “a few who were pretty stuck in their ways – believing that their paradigm was pretty much the only legitimate one”…

    Like those who insist on Broadsheets, Beta, Mini Disc… or Leaded Petrol, or Asbestos… the refusal to innovate and move with the times will be their (metaphorical) death…no doubt they’ll go down complaining about the good old days though.

    Australia is well placed as we are a reasonably sophisticated collection of writers (aka know something about the rest of the world) but we don’t have the population to support a big media industry. So people blog for the US as it’s easier than China. It doesn’t mean we can’t lead and host blog conferences. Wouldn’t you rather have a mature industry by the time the rest of the country catches up with this blogging thing?

  3. Stuart says:

    Um … well being a bit of a stirrer I can’t help but add my 2 cents to this debate.

    Personally the talk of A List bloggers leaves me thinking of either the pecking order among a bunch of chooks or the sort of elitist BS that legends in their own lunchtime subscribe to.

    Whatever it is the fact is that we don’t need it.

    Secondly anyone who is thinking of writing for the US or writing for Australia is missing the point. This is the Internet people – get with the plan and write for whoever wants to read your work whether they come from the US, Canada, China, Outer Calathumpia or two doors down and around the corner.

    If you want to write for one particular country you run the risk of becoming irrelevant.

    Now I’ll pack my soapbox away and get back to work.

  4. Andy Merrett says:

    “If you want to write for one particular country you run the risk of becoming irrelevant.”

    For global concerns, sure, but there is a place for more local / regional writing. That doesn’t mean that you exclude international readers that want to take part, but there would be scope for local blogs about local issues that might not concern anyone else outside that area.

  5. Duncan says:

    I saw Charles’ A-List and what can I say…..when bloggers so far down the popularity list (in terms of views and position) start creating A-Lists that include themselves….and please don’t get me wrong I like Charles, but we are all doomed to burn in the eternal flames of hell. There were half a dozen Australian bloggers I can name who weren’t at this confence who aside from you and Cameron were far more deserving to be on this list, in terms of influence, power and traffic.