Many bloggers, cheaply swayed by shrewd marketers, are losing it

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Blogs are supposed to be the voice of the independent. They are supposed to be the tools of free speech. They should be places to share information, research data, and even amusing prose. NATION MEDIA GROUP

A decade ago, there were less than 20 bloggers in East Africa. None of them used their real names, preferring to use strange pseudonyms.

And through those means, they emerged as bold purveyors of independent and frequent content. Today, blogging is supposed to be at an all-time high with hundreds of entrants into that sphere.

But, alas! Corporate organisations are now using bloggers and their blogs as clearing houses for press releases. Today’s bloggers seem more focused on products and services, and targeted at a very niche public.

There is nothing wrong with that, except that it is becoming the mainstream voice of bloggers. Let us face it. Blogs have become boring to read. They are no longer what they used to be. What went wrong?

In every blogger’s mail box is a host of press releases from different agencies and marketing departments of corporate companies, announcing different products and services.

Many bloggers wake up to this each morning, and the question is which press releases end up as blog posts. Every ounce of creativity it once took to craft blog posts is now lost.

If you scour through technology blogs today, it is more or less the same theme and content. Some of them look as if all they did was copy and paste the press releases.

In many of the technology blogs, it is about mobile operators, mobile handsets, newly released tablets and hardware, and different product variations. The only variation is the more angry blogs that seem cobbled together by dejected bloggers with axes to grind.

Let me put it in black and white. Many bloggers have been compromised. Flashy new gadgets, subsidised bandwidth, a couple of freebies, fancy events with free food and drink will get them to sing whatever song the corporate institutions want them to sing.

At that point, they lose all objectivity and fall into the pockets of agencies or companies. Complaining about lacklustre products or services gets you barred from the pool of invitations to events.

We would imagine that the price it would take to get a blogger to toe the marketers’ line would be much higher, but it seems a new device is adequate enough to make them lose objectivity.

In the end, blogs do not have anything worth reading except whatever is regurgitated from marketing agencies and communications officers. This further exposes blogs to flawed or biased data.

Data should be plainly honest. There is no such thing as a hopeful number. There is the real number and the made up number. Many bloggers are being fed the latter.

With flawed data, they easily draw false conclusions, which then become the basis for spreading falsehoods.

Blogs are supposed to be the voice of the independent. They are supposed to be the tools of free speech. They should be places to share information, research data, and even amusing prose.

They are supposed to point out the flaws in our society that mainstream media cannot address. But now blogs are themselves badly flawed.

Blogs are being used for personal vendettas and, in many cases, bloggers get paid to destroy the reputation of other individuals.

Underground blogs are even less objective because their agenda is almost publicly available if you see who they are smearing. This being an election period, blogs will be used for dirty campaign tricks and smear tactics.

So are blogs dying or being killed? Today’s blogs are self-destructing. Bloggers need to re-evaluate their position in society and adjust to what they should be doing.

Making a living off blogging is a tough thing, but it is not impossible. It takes just more effort than many are applying.

http://www.nation.co.ke/Tech/Many-bloggers-are-losing-it–/-/1017288/1629798/-/ps1415z/-/index.html