Friday, April 15, 2005

Blogs as intellectual platforms — Part 2 

Lzydata picks up my earlier post on Koh Buck Song’s ST article and comments:

... [N]ot once did Koh mention blogs... Indeed that is disappointing, especially when one considers that [the] Review pages [in The Straits Times] are going to have a harder time getting “fame [reaching] from Haiti to Holland” when they have to be paid for, & their mother publication treats its readers so shabbily. Koh’s idea is not bad, & I look forward to the time when we find that periodical, or maybe constellation of blogs, that lives up to the description.
Huichieh adds his own comments on the issue, particularly on the viability of blogs as a medium for intellectual discussion:

The fly in the ointment, as far as I can tell, is that while there seems to be a lot of talent in the Singapore blogosphere, a large part of it is not directed toward expression of the intellectual sort at all, if impressions mean anything. Secondly, a constellation of good bloggers still won’t be quite the same as a good publication (think “edited”) in presented a focus (or name) that readers can easily point to (as opposed to a more diffused, “hit and miss affair” that is often the case with blogs).

Singapore Commentator mentioned the “intellectually vibrant blogging community in the United States”--yes, there are some very impressive blogs in the US, but they at best complement or supplement the major perodicals (the list under “magazines” in Arts and Letters Daily is indicative), not rival them. In many cases, the blogs comment on the commentaries offered in the perodicals. It does help, though, that many blog writers are also writers and contributers for the perodicals...

I was thinking through the points listed by Koh and wondering if there is enough talent and gung-ho among the Singapore bloggers to make a small start. At the height of the ST paid subscription uproar (that’s like so long ago in blogosphere time), Trowa Evans of The Police State made an interesting suggestion concerning an online magazine. But we’ll need people (editors, web people) who can commit full time, or at least quite a bit of time, to the enterprise--while most bloggers blog as a hobby.
All good points that I agree with, but I would add two points.

One is that many, if not most, of the reputable print periodicals in the United States are legacy publications that acquired their reputations and readerships before the widespread use of the Internet. A new periodical started from scratch as Koh suggested would, I suspect, merit slightly different considerations, a point that would surely not have been lost on Koh as he talks about “commercial viability” at the end of his article.

The other point is that blogging helps keep intellectuals on their toes. Even with a dominant print periodical, blogging — as Huichieh says of the US situation — can “complement or supplement the major perodicals” — and contribute towards a truly vibrant intellectual community. But this is true only if enough people — people like Koh Buck Song — pay attention to it.


Or frivolous blogging may just be a response to the socio-economic conditions in Singapore.

An online magazine's a whole different creature from blogging.
If I may draw an analogy - an online magazine would be considered a "standing army". However, bloggers would be considered "guerilla fighters".

Post a Comment

<< Home