Don’t Prove David Bullard Right

David Bullard has written an article for the Sunday Times titled Name and Shame Offensive Bloggers which has the SA blogosphere up in arms.

Now, let me first say that some of the reactions to the column (see Nic and Vincent) are justified in the sense that it was a pretty scathing attack. However, all the rampant negativity and the typical knee-jerk reaction Bullard is getting from us bloggers is probably doing more harm than good.

I do find it a little strange that Bullard would mock the same people who sat at his hospital bedside, helping him record a podcast (which I would assume is less dodgy than a blog) after being involved in a shooting incident. I find it even stranger that the Sunday Times would publish an article in the Business Times of the same day titled Business Missing Out on Blogging (which was largely contributed to by two unnamed Air Guitar players :)).

I dropped out of university. Twice. Unlike Bullard, I have no degree/s support my passion for writing and telling stories. That said, I’d hope that for all my sometimes questionable English and intermittent posting, there’s some value to be found in what I say (at least for those who choose to read it).

But Bullard is entitled to his opinion just as we are. If he honestly feels blogging is an outright farce, that’s cool. For the most part he’s right. 99% of the 71 million+ blogs out there are pretty useless, but thanks to aggregation tools like Muti, Afrigator and Amatomu, it is becoming easier to separate the wheat from the chaff.

David – I don’t know you. I’ve seen you drive cars on the telly and this was the first time I’ve ever read your column. Still, I try to reserve judgment and assume the best until I have reason to feel otherwise. And you are a likable guy, or at least seem that way. Still, I am sad that you haven’t made the effort (especially as a professional journalist) to at least recognise the one or two talented, valuable bloggers out there who are helping evolve the way we communicate.

Last comment: blogging is not wannabe journalism. I keep hearing Print pro’s comparing the two, looking for ways to differentiate, looking for ways to attach relevance and importance. Blogging is it’s own practice, together with the wider digital social networking practice, and I think seeing all bloggers as try-hard journalists is unhelpful.

  • Well done Mike. I felt anger when I read the article . When I tried to understand my anger it was about the fact that he was labelly me as a journalist…. a poor one at that.
    I have no desire to be one but blogging has opened up a world that never existed for many. In a connection economy this type of technology has made those that care more aware and able to be part of the big picture. The changes happening where the consumer/man in the street can now take charge and have a voice is here. Those that write this kind of column have not understood the “Flat World” we live in.

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  • Paul

    Good post Mike! As you said, it is his opinion and he is entitled to it. So, too, are the bloggers entitled to their opinion and they are expressing it. I think his comments go a little too far, particularly the comparison between bloggers and people like the Virginia Tech shooter (who apparently wasn’t a blogger). This isn’t the first attack on blogging and it won’t be the last.

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  • Jacoba Budden

    Mike, as usual your comments were moderate – but excellent reading. I read Sessa, Uno, Eric Edelstein and I do refer you to my longish comment on Sessa. I cannot condone someone of Dave’s calibre actually sitting down and writing an article of which about 65% consists of unmitigated, venemous drivel. What happened there Dave? Was it the bullets? If we do not start taking notice of the young (and many brilliant bloggers) in the country, we are going backwords as quickly as we screwed up the planet. On top of everything, my Sunday mornings will never be the same again. Shit man!

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  • Very good blog post! It sets out the differences between blogging and professional print or visual news media. Why compare when they are really in essence different. Yes, sometimes they cover each other but the one rarely detracts from the other. I do however think that the blogosphere is more important to politicians than news media in the traditional sense. At least in the 1st world. Those folks want to know what the man on the street thinks. As we found out through Mr. Bullard, journalists can lose touch…

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  • Hi Mike

    Brilliantly written. And also, this is exactly why I didn’t write about David Bullard. It would only prove him right.

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  • Sunday Times Editor

    Dear Sir,
    Kindly refrain from attacking David. He is a fine journalist, and his column is read by 1000’s each week (more so than I guess read your blog). I reckon that he also earns more than a blogger does….silly bloggers!

  • Harry

    Dear ‘Herbert’,

    Thanks for the smiles. Times like these, we take whatever humor is available. :)


  • Dear Herbert. Kindly refrain from being a dunce :)

    I didn’t attack him, I actually showed respect for the man. And you guess wrong on both accounts. Check your facts like a good journo :)

  • David is a better media strategist than many might credit him with! He set the cat among we blogging pigeons and then launched his very own blog that day. What an incredible way to get hits galore, get your name ‘out there’ and ensure that people who might never have heard of you, now sure as hell do! ;-) Bravo and applause for his chutzpah.

  • Fivetide

    This came up when I googled “unmitigated drivel” (see Jacoba Budden, above)… ’nuff said.

  • Nic

    For those of us who haven’t read what bullard wrote….were can i find a copy? thanks!

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