Monday, July 20, 2009

Jewgleperth talks about blogs

Blogging changes the Jewish community

We live in the age of information technology. The evolvement of blogging over the past few years has been a phenomena that has developed a status and culture of its own. Blogging preceded some the more advanced forms of social networking that we have seen develop over the past year, but I believe it will also outlast some of the more abbreviated forms of communication. This is because of integrated media opportunities it offers.

Some people use blogging as an online diary, others as a reference depository. In some cases there is a cause to advance, and in others it is merely an occupational pastime. Our JewglePerth blog was established to provide a medium of communication and awareness for the Orthodox Jewish community in Perth.

There are many blogs appearing around Australia that provide a direct line of communication between those people that want to access the views and opinions of Australian Jewry, and those people who want to measure what the issues and attitudes are, and general pulse of the community is.

Here are just three of many good examples of other blogs, all of which help to deliver a new style of media for Australian Jews in their own unique way:

Aussie Echo

AJN Watch

Galus Australus (a successor blog to the Sensible Jew, and we wish them all the best, especially in light of the recent signoff post by their predecessor, that articulates the need for an alternative community forum in much the same way that we do)

The social change that blogging represents is worth thinking about. Many articles have been written from a Rabbinic perspective that discuss blogging formats from a halachic perspective. The laws of Lashon Hara, the isssues of bittul zman, matters of general respect, anonymity, and the controlled use of the internet itself are serious issues that are addressed from a Jewish perspective. I am not qualified to comment on this, but I am conscious of the positive and negative level of influence that blogging can create.

In an age of ever increasing scrutiny, the accountability and responsibility of publishing anything is becoming more important. The responsibility of a publisher is an awesome one. All publishers should welcome inquiry and critique, provided that it is appropriately directed. This is especially so for bloggers.

From a sociological viewpoint, I believe the traditional structure of the Jewish community will be transformed by the form of free speech that blogging delivers. Most of this I suspect will be for the good, but it will also sadly come at the expense of many things, including traditional community models and structures.

The blog delivers a forum that allows views to be expressed outside the scope of the editorial control of an organisation or the Jewish media. Suddenly the freedom of expression is not limited, and issues and perspectives that were not within the scope of discussion before (or stifled by the community leadership) are suddenly within the public domain, whether or not that is desired.

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