Thursday, March 23, 2006

Blogging & the GE.

Heres a thought on the GE and blogging in between the pit-stops of working schedules….i broke a sweat writing it too.

Since the first known radio news program was broadcast on 31 Aug 1920 by the UK station 8MK, political chatter began a life of its own. At once, political chatter was collectively received since all listened in. And as the voice of the leaders filtered into each home, home life, in the general and collective sense, became politicised. Previously confined to the public rally square or even a gathering at a park, radio lent the political voice a hand to come ‘a knocking on the door of the home and hearth. Radio was of political significance to the leaders.

But what of the radio today and the coming GEs? In a sense, it is true that the political significance of radio has diminished since the days of WWII political broadcasts and Castro’s fiery speeches. One hardly hears the whisper of political chatter on the radio anymore. And in a sense, it is true that the evolution of technology has produced an alternative to radio in the form of the internet. But with the current discussion on the profusion of blogging and the GEs, I cannot help but wonder if the political significance that was once dear to radio, has shifted and moved into the blog. It is no wonder then than some have called for regulation and accountability on blogging during the GE. And since the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore revealed this year that 2 in 3 Singapore households have internet access, home life, in a general and collective sense, stays politicized. Like the days of FM radio, political chatter begins a new lease of life.

The radio was of utmost importance to the leaders. They spoke and whoever tuned in listened, thought, discussed and then voted. It was also important for the other leaders and many other leaders who wanted to be leaders. They too spoke, and whoever tuned in listened, thought, discussed and voted. It is strange then, that while the radio was of so much political significance for the leaders and other leaders then, the internet in Singapore shys away from its political significance. Or is it that the internet is being refused a political significance.

Radio was and is uni-directional, some spoke and all listened. The internet, and specifically the blog, is not. Perhaps that is the difference and that is why the blog, unlike the radio, has become politically significant for both the leaders and the listener (user I mean). It is strange then that there is a tendency to worry about blogs and the internet being politicized when it always has been the case (2 in 3 Singaporeans have internet access). It is odd that it should not be. Afterall, when radio broadcasted the revolutionary speeches, or the push for tax reforms, other leaders broadcasted the anti-revolutionary speeches and the anti-tax reforms. Blogs may for the most part be nothing more than displaced kopitiam political chatter, inane rantings and surreptitious comments. But they are also opportunities to win ground and persuade minds. It is what is said on the radio and what is written on the blog that matters in debate. In getting caught up with accountability for every single person that makes up political chatter, one tends to lose sight of the forest for the tress and invariably ends up plucking weeds.

No comments: