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Who"s davidlian?

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davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

So did you study blogging in Uni?

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Read a funny story in the New Straits Times today about Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) might soon allow students to take blogging courses as part of their subjects.

Vice-chancellor Datuk Seri Prof Dr Ibrahim Abu Shah said something interesting, and I quote:

"Anyone can become a blogger now," he told reporters after a seminar here yesterday.

But this did not mean bloggers could write about anything, as they first needed to master several aspects of writing, such as language, ethics and accuracy of reporting.
Ibrahim said he supported any proposal to offer courses on blogging and that it was the most suitable time to do so.
I find this statement self-contradictory. First, Dr. Ibrahim is right by saying "Anyone can become a blogger now." That's absolutely right. Your plumber could be a blogger. Your mother could be a blogger. And don't be surprised if one day the pope starts a blog.

So if this is right, then why add requirements to becoming a bogger by saying that "they first needed to master several aspects of writing, such as language, ethics and accuracy of reporting?"

Does this mean if my English, Bahasa Melayu or Mandarin sucks I can't be a blogger?

Or if I don't hold on to the same "ethics" you subscribe to, I'm not credible (maybe in your eyes, not that of my fans)?

Or if I report on rumours and wild speculation, that I cannot be a credited as a blogger? Tell that to these guys - their blog is practically a rumour mill! And a very good one at that.

What does it mean to be a blogger? Some very enlightened people I listen to put it very well: blogging is just a publishing tool. Just like how anyone can write a book, anyone can blog.

Furthermore, not all bloggers are journalists. Some a diarists (they use the blog as their personal diary), some are story-tellers (ever read a blog that was pure fiction), some are commentators (they put forth their opinion on whatever subject they see fit), some are fanboys (they blog about their hobby, their pets etc) and very, very few bloggers will claim to be journalists.

Tom Merritt (links to episode 720 of Buzz Out Loud where comments were made) has a good solution for this. If a blogger wishes to be accorded the rights and pr0tection that's afforded journalists, then they must adhere to the same ethics and regulations that journalists adhere to.

If a blogger says, "hey, I'm not a journalist, just someone who writes!", then they are pretty much free to do what they want, but then they can't expect the protection journalists get (like the ability to "protect sources" even while subpeonaed).

One thing is clear though, this blanket definition of bloggers has to end. Not all bloggers are media. Certainly not some of our most famous political leaders (who have or recently started blogs).

(I mean, at least I won't consider those bloggers media).

Update: Thanks to the wonder of Twitter, some feedback with Twitter-people led me to this thought: Would being a degree-holding blogger entitle you to more money from blog-advertising?

22 comments:

KY said...

i'm just someone who conteng. :D

joshuaongys said...

i'm someone who conteng num2

izzat said...

i think they want to treat blogging more serious. and i don't agree the way they put a requirement to become a blogger. What the heck with aspects of writing? language? lols.. but i agree with 1 aspect which is ethics.

Ping Ping said...

walao..like that in future they say everyone cannot blog liao unless you got a degree. like that ma teruk. They really ah, follow trend one. Hopefully no one enrol themselves in such courses. If not, later I tak jadi blog. T.T

davidlian said...

@KY and Joshua: I'm just conteng-ing also.
@izzat: We'd all love to have people who live up to our expectations in terms of ethics. However, not everyone does. And we can't force them to. That's the nature of blogging - it's personal as much as its public.
@ping ping: Haha... :) Trend-followers, not -setters is right.

Simon Seow said...

I'll start a tuition center for blogging. LOL.

Nicocoa said...

why didn't my uni offer blogging courses back then... -.-

curryegg said...

I guess they're trying to produce a big group of 'GOOD' bloggers who can help certain politic parties in achieving their objectives.. Herm.... hope that the course won't 'brainwash' others mind like other subjects... :(

Tim said...

Back before the blogging hoo-ha, a particularly intrepid MMU lecturer actually gave coursework marks for blogging, to improve his students' English :)

Nigelais said...

Soon, Twittering courses will also be made available. LOL.

AhVoo... said...

blogger course? malaysia boleh! the first to introduce such subject! hahaha...
why the authorities always want to complicate simple things? i can say that this move is to further control press freedom... because ppl dont need a license to blog, but since there are several cases that reveal something they dont want the public to know, they started this crap! oh my...

davidlian said...

@simonseow: You start one and I'll work there.
@Nicocoa: Aren't you still in Uni? Wanna try to sign up for UiTM?
@curryegg: Nah. What I'm ranting about is more apolitical. I mean, can you realistically in the blogosphere set rules like level of English, Accuracy of Reporting and Ethics? If blogging is just a form of expression, can't anyone express anyway they want (short of doing something illegal)
@tim: was that your lecturer?
@Nigel: Yes, I'm sure. Twitter is the new blog. :)

LcF said...

hey, I should apply for blogging lecturer there! ;)

davidlian said...

@avhoo: I personally don't think it's a control mechanism more so than cashing in on the hype.
@lcf: LoL! You can try man. You can try.

3POINT8 said...

WooHoo!!!
we are successors! We are already blogging even without taking up a course. We good, we great, we are self-taught bloggers!

Btw, I can give tuition too! Even better than earning from ads, yes?
Ahahahaha

3POINT8 said...

oh oh....Maybe some of us can convince them to use some of our blogs as case study.
Free publicity! Wheee~~~

E. G. G. said...

It's a good idea indeed!

E. G. G. said...

It's a good idea indeed!

^^ Pontianak ^^ said...

I'm not surprised at all. In local uni, they can easily come up with courses like that. Where I used to study, they made it compulsory for degree students to take up basic computer lesson. The first few chapters teach you the difference between a monitor and a mouse, how to turn off the computer, and how to insert a diskette.

Yling said...

i want to start teaching my baby how to blog so she could excel in her uni course lol

davidlian said...

@3Point8: I'm told self-teaching is one of the new learning methods of the future.
@e.g.g.: :)
@pontianak: Hahaha... that's classic!
@yling: Maybe the courses would have changed by the time your baby grows up. Who knows?

SlowCatchUpKuan said...

need to attend uni to become a blogger? ridiculous lar LOL!