Wednesday, 10 February 2010
You might already have heard of theblogpaper, which describes itself as “the first user-generated newspaper in London". Anyone can publish blogs, photos and comments to theblogpaper website, which are then rated by the community of site users. The highest rated and most discussed content is then “promoted” to a printed newspaper produced once a month, which acts as an aggregate for the site content, and is distributed for free at tube stations and the like.
The project is still in beta phase at the moment, and is certainly an intriguing and exciting idea. I’d already heard about theblogpaper, via the Manchizzle, when they got in touch with me a little while back, and invited me to get involved. In the interests of giving it a go, I submitted this little review of the Museum of Everything to the site, which made it into the third edition of the newspaper (which also includes a great piece on Banksy by my blogging compatriot runpaintrunrun). I haven’t yet got my hands on a hard copy of the paper, but you can read it online here.
However, though I love the idea of a more democratic, "crowdsourced" approach to publishing, I must confess to finding the experience itself slightly odd. I'm not sure exactly what I feel about blog posts being rated and scored: surely one of the greatest things about blogging is that it gives us the space to have individual and idiosyncratic voices rather than trying to please the masses? I would also question the suggestion that as bloggers we should necessarily aspire to be "promoted" to print as a superior format for publishing. Having said that, theblogpaper offers a diverse and intriguing range of content, and there's no doubt in my mind that any project that gives bloggers a higher profile has got to be a good thing. I also have to say that I love the idea that London’s commuters might, just once a month or so, go home reading something a little more unusual, distinctive and controversial than the same old Metro/Evening Standard fodder. I'm not sure yet whether I'll be submitting any more content, but I'll certainly be watching this space.
Interestingly, I’ve also been hearing some intriguing whispers of plans for an a blog aggregator project in Manchester. Go here to find out more...