RYAN TUBRIDY, dangling the "trust" line in front of Damien Mulley, Suzie Byrne, and Val O'Connor encountered some pushback from the RTE chat show host today [24 min MP3 file]. Ryan is searching for comfort on the internet, comfort from trusting what he reads. His concept of "trust" is probably grounded in an academic approach, wrapped in peer review. Those are the same kind of factors at work on well-read online blogs and experienced bloggers are the online police. In fact, some of the Irish A-List bloggers are effective blogging police. They dismiss the existence of some online properties by refusing to link to them and they craft schema in awards programmes to redline and block the emergence of some online properties to ensure they aren't findable in the first few pages of Google searches. Ryan Tubridy doesn't trust online properties. He would probably point to a bogus Twitter account, set up in his name, as proof that what's online is hardly worth believing until verified by the rigor of the Fourth Estate. He's deeply bothered by inaccuracies that he finds online so in his book about JFK, he's going to spend time thumbing through newspaper clippings and archival information. That's his choice. But in the 21st century world, especially in Ireland, a lot of cross-talk is in the ether. If you don't know how to harness that virtual conversation--or worse, if you don't want to listen to it--you will fail to recognise the populist viewpoint.
In another line of thought, Ryan Tubridy pushes the vanity button. He brought Val's Kitchen into the mix and got some support for that premise. He's aware that bloggers, like broadcasters, live for their numbers. Ryan needs listener numbers. Those numbers translate into salary potential and future broadcast imperatives. Some bloggers also need those numbers, to sustain their motivation but Ryan didn't pursue that line of thought on his radio chat show today. And because he's actually dismissive of the blogging scene, Ryan Tubridy didn't look into the vast landscape of people blogging in Ireland. Some of those voices actually support Tubridy's basic premise. Perhaps in a future show, RTE would allow the sparks to fly on air between bloggers who actually disagree with each other instead of setting up Ryan versus the bloggers as the chat show format.
Now comes an interesting observation. While I was listening to Tubridy on national radio, I was also following the back chatter on Twitter. When I tweeted a comment about Tubridy's attitudes about bloggers, I often discovered a new person following me on Twitter. And when I found someone tweeting about Tubridy, I often followed them on Twitter. This creates a new hive of cross-talk in my daily life, something that other national radio personalities recognise in their work. If he wanted to sell more books or gain a larger listening audience, Ryan Tubridy could do worse than making a few throwaway comments on Twitter. In fact, if Ryan Tubridy engaged in an online conversation, he would probably grow in status as a national broadcaster. That's his choice. Making that choice would mean accepting some of the rough edges of the virtual parishes of Ireland.