On being a blogger

Grahamstown, South Africa

The worst part at the Highway Africa conference is explaining why you are here: "Eh, you see, I'm a blogger!". What the hell does that mean? it's not a job, it's not an identity, and it shouldn't be treated as something soooo exciting.
Nothing drives home the fact that you are a geek more than realizing you feel more comfortable talking to the intellectual property lawyer than to all these perfectly normal human journalists.

Yeah I got stuck in this Media conference and it's like it's designed to intimidate me, from the selfish people who won't give you a ride from the airport to the formal functions.

But the worst part is explaining why you are here: "Eh, you see, I'm a blogger!".

What the hell does that mean? it's not a job, it's not an identity, and it shouldn't be treated as something soooo exciting.

I do have a blog (a much overrated one at that). It has become an important part of my life but so is Wikipédia. ">email

. I don't walk around calling myself an emailer do I? And I don't get invited to conferences just because I send a lot of emails.

And it's not even true, I'm not here because I'm a blogger as such, I'm here to a story of activism (but hey, saying I'm an activist is even worse. It makes you sound like part of a chemical process or something).

So I'm here because I happen to use technology while participating in political activities, fascinating.

And since this is a new kind of media I'm supposed to fit in a media conference (but the fact that was most comfortable talking to the lawyer should be a good indicator of how fitting I was eh).

But if I'm media why are journalists interviewing me, I mean, why are bloggers the news, if we are making the news why are we news? Do print journalists write articles about radio journalists and vice versa? Maybe they did, back in Marconi's days or something (they do tend to write about Al Jazeera a lot).

And the worst part is these interviews always start with "why did you start blogging?" which is really a stupid question. And they

never ask "why did you continue blogging?" which is the real question they should be asking (at the moment at least, since it will become a stupid question soon).

People need to get over their tech fetish. I'm very excited about the possibilities brought by new decentralized technologies like blogging, wikis, mobile phones but the story isn't about the techs themselves, it's about how people are using them (actually mobile phones are a great example, I don't think the people behind the initial technology or business models had any idea how they'll be used now). Mobile phone cameras are an extremely stupid idea until you realize that photos of torture from Egyptian police stations and Abu ghareeb would never have leaked otherwise.

These conferences sometimes feel like that scene in Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy. What use is the answer if we don't understand the question?

So next time someone asks me why I'm here, I'll just say 42.

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