Old media and the Net

A guy from the Richard and Judy Show (a daytime sofa programme running on UK TV; not sure which channel) telephoned this afternoon to ask if I’d be interested in coming on tomorrow’s show to talk about blogging. It seemed they’d been reading the intro I wrote for the Observer‘s list of “Websites that changed the world”.

I said that I couldn’t. “Why?” he asked, “are you out of the country?” “No”, I said, “I’m busy tomorrow. I have a meeting.” There was silence on the other end of the line as he digested the astonishing fact that someone would decline an invitation to appear on the show because he was busy. After he’d recovered, the conversation went like this:

Chap: “Well then can I talk to you about your piece about blogs?”
Me: “My piece wasn’t about blogs. It was about websites that had changed the world”.
Chap: “Oh”.
Me: “Blogs are personal websites published by individuals.”
Chap: “Oh. But what do you think are the really big blogs?”
Me: “Eh? What do you mean Big Blogs?”
Chap: “Well, you know like …” (and here he named a Blog written by an alleged London call girl whose notoriety eventually earned her a book publishing contract but whose name escapes me at the moment).

The conversation meandered on hopelessly like this for several more minutes until it finally dawned on me that (a) the chap knew absolutely nothing about blogging and (b) was so locked into the mindset of broadcast TV that he couldn’t actually comprehend the notion of millions of independently-published blogs. For him, as for everyone else in television, the idea of user-generated content is an oxymoron. It slowly became clear that what he meant by “Big Blogs” were ones that had been reported in the newspapers.