Sunday, 10 April 2011

Blogging sociology

Something terrible interesting is happening in Catholic blogging circles. Last week the Vatican announced a meeting for bloggers (often known as a blognic) in Rome on 2nd May. It is being held by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and according to THOC's unofficial translation:

In the two planned sessions, various speakers will present some key points to open a discussion open to all the participants. In the first, five bloggers, representing the different language areas, will address specific issues of general importance. In the second, there will be accounts from people involved in the communication strategies of the Church, who will present their experiences of working with new media, as well as initiatives for an effective meeting between the Church and the world of bloggers.

All very worthy, I'm sure ...

But today I learn news of the Other Catholic Blognic on Hilary White's blog Orwell's Picnic. The programme for this blognic is as follows:

"Shaping the Narrative: how Catholic 'new media' is re-defining the global Catholic debate"

and talk about what *YOU* want to talk about...

Unlike the Vatican's, ours will be FUN!

AND ours will have beer...

AND pizza...

AND we'll let you come in your pyjamas if you want.

Tell your bloggy friends and enemies.

Skipping over to the Facebook page about this event, I note there are a number of worthies promising to be in attendance, including the great Fr Z, Dorothy of Seraphic Singles and Michael Voris. Others, including James Preece, are 'maybe attending'.

Very interesting that. And it has got me wondering whether this counter-blognic has something to do with English native contempt for ground-roots activities when some European bureaucrat tries to muscle in on the action, or whether there is something in the blogging community that would rather stand shy of officialdom. Is this a case of a fear of boredom or a fear of bodysnatching?

The stakes are high of course. The former could lead down the road trodden, I suppose, by the American Papist [nice chap though], and the latter could lead down the road taken by Austen Ivereigh [shudder]. Does this counter-blognic simply mean a refusal to accept blogging as a form of ecclesiastical karaoke, or does it mean that official sponsorship would make bloggers as proverbially dodgy as Pravda (or Ivereigh)?

I note the event is for Taliban Catholic bloggers, which is a shame. That rather rules me out since I have sworn to hold both revolutionary and the counterrevolutionary clubolatry in contempt!


Seraphic Spouse said...

Oh, hello, dear Sensible Bond. You do indeed sound sensible. If you return to Facebook, you will note that the emphasis is less Talibaneque.

The blognic is for Catholic bloggers, presumably the ones that care enough about blogging and Catholicism to show up in Rome and meet favourite bloggers. All kinds of mild-mannered people have been invited, including Mark Shea. I do hope he comes, as he is one of my favourites (and, indeed, is a favourite with many).

I wouldn't say it is a counter-blognic but a model (not THE, but A) blognic, which does not at all interfere with, but supplement, the official Vatican blognic. If anything, it is a brilliant illustration of how blogging, and indeed, internet communications work.

The Vatican's idea is a brilliant one, and Hilary gives it full credit. However, its methodology leaves something to be desired and gives the unfortunate impression that its advisors know nothing about blogging and blog culture, particularly English-language Cathoic blog culture. English-language Catholic bloggers and blog-readers have, in a sense, elected its leaders by voting for its favourites on innumerable polls and declaring themselves "Followers".

It seems odd that the those in charge of the Vatican blognic have just vaguely invited All The Bloggers Of The World to apply to drop in, should they be in Rome May 2. Anyone who knows the Catholic blogosphere could have told them that hundreds, if not thousands, of Catholic bloggers would be tempted to sell a kidney to get to Rome and be one of the chosen 150 consulted. It's like inviting all the philatelists of the world to apply for the Vatican's collection of 150 penny blacks. What an extraordinary thing to do.

So Hilary, with a lot of edgy humour, has decided to throw her own blogger party, and this means, of course, that if the Vatican DOES invite those the English-language Catholic blogosphere has voted their favourites, some of them will have already bought a ticket and arranged a place to stay. I find it significant that she has just invited reporters from the very establishment Canadian Salt + Light TV, who will no doubt be on the spot for the Beatification.

The bloggers who have accepted invitation are a rather mixed bag, and it rather amazes me that I will be in rubbing elbows with Father Z, Father Finigan, whose writings I enjoy, and Michael "Banned in Scranton" Voris, whose videos I do not.

It seems to me unlikely that Hilary's blognic will turn into a mutual admiration society, but I hope we can all be cordial and just have fun, Hilary's principal theme.

Seraphic Spouse said...

P.S. So come to Rome and join in the bun-fight!

Ches said...

You're too nice, Dorothy!