03 February 2006

NTU Blogging Survey: Redirect

Q: What role do you see blogs playing in society and politics in Singapore in the future?

I'll take this question (and 'blogs') to refer to generally blogs devoted to social, political, or cultural commentary or analysis.

Researchers need to understand the density of bloggers with respect to their readership, and then to the population in Singapore. Then, they need to compare how blogs play a part in society and politics elsewhere.

There are a few models available, which I'll categorise according to how they're organised.

a. original commentary and analysis by varying degrees of experts. You'll need the participation of academics and professionals whose work or field of interest are related to policymaking. Singapore doesn't have much going for it, aside from Cherian George...

b. groupblogs. Often, posting on complicated topics takes time, research, self-questioning, informal peer review (and so on), and hence individual blogs aren't updated so often. Groupblogs get around this problem by having a roster of writers who double as commentors - ensuring a deep discussion on any post.

c. social mobilisation. There's not much original commentary in their posts, which seem to be just cut and paste jobs of current news. The key is these blogs function more to mobilise and provide a forum for ordinary citizens to discuss their responses to the current events. File Joe Trippi's Deanforamerica blog, Atrios and Daily Kos under this category. Does any Singaporean blog remind you of this category?

d. minionblogging. Not a judgemental term, actually. It's quite normal for the RNC's campaign heads to decide on a message of the week (on say, a policy issue) and disseminate the stand to political pundit shows on tv, select Republican bloggers, and watch the message of the week multiply in diverse variations in ordinary blogs all over the place.

We're already seeing this happening in here. How and why did PLU's media release get picked up by the blogosphere? How did the bloggers reproduce, modify, reject, co-opt the message?

e. viral. The shorter, simpler, and more self-evident the message, the less problematic its defense, until none is expected. You'll even have traditionally non-political bloggers replicating these messages on their sites.

That's why there was an overwhelming response to the Acidflask affair. Or why the NKF peanuts comment spread like a wildfire. Or why every blogger commented on the white elephants. Or how many poked fun of yet another (s)Elected President.

No matter how they are organised, blogs are engaged in the reframing of political and social issues. Depending on their reach and how they incorporate discussions, I see them as a new extension of civil society. Whether or not blogs have any impact on politics and society has to do (again) with their role in social framing, and their dominated position within the mainstream media: often, blogs have a direct impact only with cooperation by decision makers in the MSM.

Do you see that happening here?


the third wei said...

Which category do you think your blog falls under? :)

akikonomu said...

wei, I try to be original at times =D

btw, when are you getting in touch for brokeback movie?

Elia Diodati said...

brown and miyagi, before and after.