Blogging has become one of the most fashionable enterprises in the world. From observation, the emergence of blogs has ‘killed’ the dream of many people enrolling in journalism schools or getting training in the field because information dissemination has become easy and cheap, and the attraction that comes with the profession is tainted.
Would I want to be tagged a blogger in Ghana? May be not. Would I prefer to be called a journalist? May be Yes. At least with all the faux-pas of journalism in the country, there is something to celebrate about. Does the same come with blogging? What perceptions do people have about bloggers in Ghana, and ‘Ghanaian’ bloggers living elsewhere?
But someday to come, I would love to be a blogger. I have come to accept the fact that blogging isn’t necessarily journalism, and journalism isn’t just blogging. However, every journalist can become a blogger, so also can every blogger become a journalist. But something always strikes me: why most Ghanaian bloggers are quick to shove off the journalism tag. I am sure they are full aware that admitting to be a journalist comes with a huge responsibility—responsibility that is self-imposed, society-demanded and professionally-required.
Hiding under the cloak of blogging, sorry to say, does not absolve one of these, anyway. In as much as it is your personal space, where you decide what to write about and how you go about it, it is only prudent to let sense prevail! If I finally decide to go into blogging, there are a lot of things that I must know including my ability to communicate well in writing, be truthful to myself and my readers, thus having a clear conscience, but there are two basic things that are paramount to me which when I am able to achieve as a blogger, it will go a long way to tell the world the kind of home I come from, or the kind of person I am. And these are respecting other bloggers and showing respect to the people I write about.
Respect other bloggers.
There are a lot of professions out there that come with prestige in our part of the world. Certainly teaching is not one of them; neither is journalism. One can’t say bloggers have that much prestige compared to lawyers (not just people with law degrees), engineers and doctors. Lawyers for example respect one another; they call each other ‘learned friend’. Doctors do same.
It is difficult to have any of these professionals denigrate and desecrate the profession that they are part of, all in the name of helping to sanitize it. It is rare. Can we say same for bloggers in Ghana? Yes, peer review is very important in the industry. And I have had cause to congratulate a number of online writers and bloggers in Ghana for waging war against ‘copy and paste’ reportage. However, how such corrections and sanitization is done is critical, critical because in the media fraternity, no one can claim to be an island. What is the use of an island when the water body that surrounds you, that water body that makes you brag, has been desecrated by none other than yourself, and then you still thread on it to get off your island?
Unfortunately, bloggers and online writers in the industry do not respect another, and by extension do not respect themselves. If you respect yourself, you will shudder to disrespect or look down upon a colleague, whose crime may be not having the number of following or traffic you have, or not acquiring the degrees or book knowledge you have.
“This is why many of you [bloggers] cannot even buy a decent shirt to wear to events—mostly looking like some cheap road sweepers while these artistes shine in money and cars,” a blogger threw this at his own colleagues on his Facebook timeline. In fact this is one of the least I would want to share here, so as not to glorify stupidity! If this is not a smack of pride, I wonder what it would be. Pride, in fact negative pride, has a way of coaching one into destruction. If you are not an atheist, or a non-Christian, and believe in the Lucifer story as recounted in the bible, you will understand where pride can lead you.
In fact one need not be religious to even understand this. Common sense (sorry for the use of the word ‘common’ here because it is not common at all to the proud) will tell you to show humility, and respect others for who and what they stand for. If your religion is Science- and would want to have a scientific basis for everything, certainly common sense can’t be one of those, or? Then your trade will be to see yourself as supreme, one who knows more than any other person.
Respect the people I write about
Biting the hand that feeds you will be a vice I won’t entertain if I were a blogger. Unfortunately, that curse, that folly will be the doom of many bloggers. Money will come, but show respect and accord dignity to the ilk that makes it possible for you to be who you are, and aspire to be what you wish to be.
There are full time bloggers who confess that all they have has been about writing about people, often celebrities. Yes, they will be quick to state that they write about other stuff. But do those ‘stuff’ get them the traffic that the celebrities do? If I will be writing about people to earn money, if the (mis)deeds of people will make me survive, if people shape my survival, why should I treat them with contempt?
As a blogger, I will respect the newsmakers. I won’t insult them to tell my story. I won’t call them ‘bastard’, ‘chicken-head’ ‘block-head’, ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid’ before I can get my message across. If I did that, then I have not mastered the art of writing. If I did that then I have no conscience. If I did that I would be biting the hand that feeds me. And that is a curse!
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