If you were after something which ties the phenomenon of blogging in within a social theoretical but (I’d say) broadly accessible form, you probably can’t do better at the moment than Jill Walker Rettberg’s (2008) Blogging. She interrogates bloggers’ self-perceptions as ‘citizen journalists’ and how ideas of community, culture and networks might assist in making the common sense, internally unreflective process of blogging less common and more amenable to critical reflection on its place in our public life and discourse. On the Scottish front, however, we probably ought not to get too far ahead of ourselves. Understanding won’t spring fully armoured from the mind of Zeus. Moments make the year, of course, and these things take time, effort. Effort of the very sort put in of late by Duncan Stephen and finding expression in the inaugural Scotsblogs Awards.
While a flattering wheeze, from my perspective, the most interesting aspect of the scheme has been its attempt to map, and implicitly ethnographise a Scottish digital community. Although Duncan might decry the thought, this centredness around Scottish self-identification tells us something interesting about the social centre of gravity and suggests some sort of organising, nationalist principle – albeit with a small ‘n’. Indeed, rather than simply reflecting the existing sense of the Scottish blogosphere as a unit – albeit with interstices, cracks and feathered edges – we might actually see the Scotblogs Awards as doing and forming that unity. Literally, being a nationalist project, again albeit with an unpartisan ‘n’. For myself, the great joy of the Awards has been the glimpses they have afforded into people’s work which I’ve previously and unaccountably missed. It is all too easy to fall under the limited governance of your existing blog feeds and tread familiar ways. I must say, I’m also tickled to have been voted best newcomer of 2009, a wheezy 4th of the independence-leaners, 5th of the political cohort and a handsome 6th place in the overall century. Mostly, I’m rather surprised. Perhaps