Wednesday, 9 April 2008

That blog is better than that blog

I've spent the last couple of days trying hard to get back into my pre-holiday blogging routine. Trawling my usual feeds, fave destinations, reconnecting with music-world happenings and the like. Its not that easy to be honest. Being back at work, tired from timezone switching and airline travel, feeling druggy from taking my travel-hat off. But I'm starting slow, and leaving myself open to some new influences, hence spending the last couple of hours flicking through the winners of the first annual TIME blog index.

Some of my faves turn up - Freakonomics, Boing Boing, engadget - plus a few new discoveries for me. Blogs like Lifehacker and RADOSH. The latter is written by Daniel Radosh, editor of The Week. He also contributes to the New Yorker and has written a book about American Christian popular culture called "Rapture Ready" which looks like a piss-funny, enlightening read. The blog itself is worth a visit, if only to take part in his ongoing cartoon caption competition.

The TIME poll reminded me of a similar one done by The Guardian and Observer in March which listed the 50 most influential blogs in the world. It featured many of those from the TIME list, but for my money provided better analysis of the blogs and a wider scope in terms of content and style. Interesting to note though that in both lists American blogs dominate, with a small amount of attention paid to non-USA let along non-english speaking blogs (although Beppe Grillo does rate a mention in both).

Looking at my own 'blogroll' on the right I'm struck by how many US blogs there are too, especially compared to say NZ, UK or Canadian ones. And also how USA-centric the Amercian blogs I read can tend to be, even when they focused around universal topics - marketting, internet advocacy, free speech, pop music, writing, art, design etc. I guess that's the attraction for their local readers, in the same way that a local radio station or newspaper is successful by tapping into the interests and opinions that matter to those in their coverage area. So what are the rest of us in the rest of the world getting from reading these blogs that seldom even pay lip service to other countries? Or that talk about issues in a universal way and yet when you dig deeper find that its completely US-centric? Or is it the case that actually the only good blogs are written by Americans?

Ok, I really don't have a cynical, anti-USA agenda here... And perhaps the answer to my questions above is that I read these blogs because they speak to me. They rock. They are cool. I'm in tune with their messages, or enjoy their discourses... if thats a word?... And whether they are written in Paraguay or Thailand I probably would still read them. With the amount of US/Western originated culture I've absorbed in my life I'm in sync with the kind of things these blogs are throwing up, and thats all there is to it... i wonder...

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