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Festival 2.0

"Being a gatekeeper was a great gig," Margaret Simons told the Melbourne Writers Festival crowd, "but it's over." The session was once called Buyer Beware but later Where are the Gatekeepers? - about the rise of bloggers with Simons joined by Anthony Loewenstein and John Quiggan.

In both these session names bloggers don't fare well. Either as a commodity of dubious value or something to be kept outside the gates. With conservative estimates at 112 million blogs worldwide, the barbarians are well and truly inside the gates. Quiggan has his own interesting response to the topic (including the line from The Aussie 'we understand Newspoll because we own it') which is more articulate than anything I can add.

It's interesting the role of blogging in a festival. Live blogging can create not only a new audience but give greater feedback to include mumbles from the crowd. The Guardian's Charlotte Higgins gave it a go during Edinburgh's festival season, including a Twitter balloon and live blogging.

At MWF most of the bloggers were 'outside the gates'. Reeling and Writhing contributed several posts while Mark Lawrence did some live blogging. Some authors offered useful insights like Penni Russon who added a useful travel tips for out of towners. Readings even came to the party where another sponsor went missing.


  1. And what about Margaret Simons' challenge? We need to fray the ill-serving blanket called 'blog'.

    So vague and all-embracing, the phrase helps nobody.

    It's like saying brochures, sonnets, plasma manuals, Ulysses and Hansard minutes all answer to the category of printed material.

    What new terms can we coin to help clear the blog fog?

  2. Ooh, anon, I like that - 'brochures, sonnets, plasma manuals, Ulysses and Hansard minutes' has a nice noughties ring to it.

    HP, thank you for noticing! a few people didn't seem to at all.
    What a nice blog, I will come again.

  3. And I agree, especially this year there has been quite a bit of blog feedback on the Festival - I was pretty interested in the venue change for starters.


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