Thursday, September 18, 2014

Just some thoughts

I had started to write  a story yesterday, and I am just not feeling it, but that was because my mind was on something else.  Specifically the media, well the news media.  The Big 3 (CNN, Fox News, MSNBC).  I was also thinking of the current state of the media, and where bloggers like myself fit into things.

There was a time when the news you got was neutral, it was not for or against something it was called down the middle.  You were given the facts, allowed to make a choice as to if the facts measured up, or if something was right or wrong.  Today we are not given the facts we are given biased opinion.  The truth is bloggers often give you their opinions about the things we see and hear. 

Unlike many in the media, many bloggers and youtubers who create news, political, or entrainment blogs or videos try to give an unbiased view of the world.  Some of us try to give our opinions about the events we see.  When I rant against the GOP for saying or doing something stupid, I honestly feel that it is something stupid.   Yes, I am biased against many things, the GOP being one of them, and it does show through because I am human.  But I also try to show the history that causes me reason to feel as I do.  Unlike some bloggers, I give you the facts as I see them, and I do not feel that I should lead you directly to the information, but I do not want you to take everything I say as fact.  Remember I am human, I error, I am fallible. 

I feel strongly about some of the things I write about, while I do not care either way about other things, and it shows.  You have people like +Gaijin Goombah who takes the time to create a video because he wants to inform his viewers, well all viewers about the culture of video games, no that does not sound right.  He wants to explain to us what some of the symbolism and characters we see in our games mean, and along the way he explains various aspects of different cultures to us.  Even that does not sound quite right, but it is close enough to illustrate the point.  He really cares about what he is doing, he wants to educate us about the aspects of culture, and he considers ignorance to be the enemy.  Also if you are reading this, I cannot recommend his channel to you enough (linked here). 

Then you have people like +Jerry Walker (linked here you should check out his work as well) and +Larry Dillon (who can be found haunting Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and random appearances on this blog) who write on politics.  They share their views on the events as they can.  Their views are biased, just like mine, but they try to be rational about it.  Do you see where I am going with this?  While bloggers might be biased, we are giving our honest view of what we see happening, and the potential of what might happen, unlike the mass media news we have running things today.  Everyone tells you what to think, whereas bloggers attempt to give a neutral version with their own personal opinions, the mass media just berates you with their side of the story.  If you watch Fox News, you are going to get the news with a conservative slant, if you watch CNN and MSNBC you are going to get slightly liberal to heavily liberal slants, depending on the source and topic.  That does not help inform people because of our cognitive biases.  Basically we seek out people who we agree with, and those who agree with ourselves, that is confirmation bias.

But there is a larger picture that I want to tie this into.  Bloggers are the newest incarnation of the fourth estate.  We are the attempt to keep people in the media, law enforcement, politics, and entertainment honest.  The problem is, we are also the starving artists of the world as well.  Blogging is a secondary job in many regards, something to attempt to supplement income.  I started blogging because I did not have a job, and there was little hope of finding one where I was.  I did it for the money, and I am not ashamed to say that.  But, money was only part of it, it became a way for me to speak my mind in a fairly intolerant place.  Now, I said it is an attempt at supplementing income (or even being income) because of new add-ons like Adblocker, which prevents ads from showing up in your browser.  Sadly that is how revenue is made on youtube or on a blog, ad clicks.  The more people who click an ad, the more a blogger makes.  Of course some bloggers will set up a donations page directly on the blog, while others will go to Patreon, and get followers to assist them by giving a dollar or more a month. 

This is just something to remember as you navigate through the world of blogs and youtube videos.  We are in some way trying to supplement or earn income.  There is one final thing about this, if we cannot make more income (if we are doing this to supplement our current income) we won't be around to blog, the same is true for those who are using it as their sole source of income.  Something that has become harder since Facebook has restricted how many people actually see a thread, based on likes, shares and comments.  But when those who read a blog come to understand that people are trying to make at least enough profit to keep the site open for them, things tend to change.