Who do you think decides a blogger stays on or not? The Editor? The web site owner? The media Big Shots? You guessed it; it’s the readers, so much that they call us the ‘fifth estate’. And it’s not the read and smile or ignore type of reader like you and me that they talk about here but opinionated class-conscious readers who can make or break a website or a blogger’s budding career as it did here.
The Guardian newspaper wanted an ‘in vogue’ travel blogger for its highly successful website . Max Gogarty was naturally thrilled on being chosen; he was just nineteen and just about to backpack to India and the guardian website is branded as one of the best in cyberspace. They even put his pic on the site and he was to report on his travels once every couple of days. So far so good!
The first blog was put up on the Valentine’s Day and the attack began! And how! The website pulled off the blog immediately since the responses were numerous and vitriolic. His offenses? Very grave!
First, his writing was bad; ok, you are entitled to the judgement!
Then he didn’t belong to the right class of writer; he admitted he lived in a posh area in the first line he ever wrote on the blog.
Then he was colonist; a young affluent guy travelling to India and writing about that, was he going to experience the poverty there?
He was a jerk they said; sounds derogatory I know but it means just insult in a generic way and all because the poor guy said he spent all he earned on his pleasures and that he wrote for the TV show Skins. And worse of all, the nepotism angle; his Dad, Paul Gogarty, is a contributor to the Guardian, so how can he write there? Some even appointed Gogarty Senior the current travel editor on the spot.
The poor guy’s Dad then came onstage asking for peace and said his son won’t be writing again. And it’s not the accusations that got him down but the wrath and violence in the responses. The kid was simply not conscious that readers can judge your writing, your attitude and your life and pull you out there and stone you. Period.
What does the guardian say to this? Ah, well that’s a neat angle to be sure! Quite apologist. Do read it here and judge for your self – both the official response and the original blog.
(Techgoss note: the Guardian voice is generally middle class and the readers, as revealed in a survey, are the middle-ground liberal to left-wing end of the political spectrum. It is published from the UK and has an online version which is a free read. The Guardian also has a number of talkboards that are noted for their mix of political discussion and whimsy.)