Ireland’s first ever Irish Blogging Awards are to take place next month to recognise new talent in this emerging sphere. Some 1,000 Irish people are now using the medium to share their views and opinions and the event will be used to highlight the benefits of blogging to businesses.
A blog — or web log — is an online diary that allows anyone to publish and distribute their opinion on any topic via their own website or a free blogging service. Users have full control of the message but also cater for readers to comment on the opinions generated by a blogger.
It is estimated there are currently 27 million blogs online and a new blog is created every second. The total number of blogs double every five months and 13pc of all blogs are updated on a weekly basis.
Well-known bloggers include Jeremy Thompson of Sky News, the inventor of the internet Tim Berners Lee and US TV personality Rosie O’Donnell.
The organiser of the Irish Blogging Awards, Damien Mulley, explained that Ireland’s small but growing Irish blogging community is a prolific one. “While the Irish blogging community is small right now, the community outputs a considerable amount of work that is consistently of very high quality.
“With this in mind we decided that having an awards event would be a way of showing the newest members of the Irish blogging community the blogs that our community is most proud of. The awards will be our quality mark.”
Mulley pointed out there are potential benefits to businesses in rolling out blogs as both a marketing and a public relations exercise.
He said: “Many companies now monitor blogs to gauge people’s opinions on their products or competitors’ products. Large and small companies are now also encouraging employees to blog and engage in public discussions via blogs. General Motors, Sun and Microsoft have all created spaces for their employees to blog and to interact with and gauge the opinions of existing and potential new customers.
“Amazon are now linking directly to the blogs of authors so their fans can interact with their heroes with the chance of additional merchandise being purchased,” Mulley explained.
Mulley predicted that the next version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer product, IE7, the ability to allow direct subscriptions to blogs in terms of automatically downloading and displaying the latest material will result in an explosion in the audience for bloggs in 2006.
The Irish Blogging Awards will take place on 11 March at Buswells Hotel in Dublin at 7pm and will be hosted by 2FM DJ Rick O’Shea.
By John Kennedy