Margaret Wente: Tempest in the twitterverse
By Chantal Braganza
Globe and Mail scribe Margaret Wente ticked a lot of people off Thursday with a thought piece on blogging, and and a half-baked theory that the practice "is more of a guy thing." Her reasoning?
"Men clearly have an urge to blog that women lack. Like extreme snowmobiling, the blogosphere is dominated by men. Not many women are interested enough in spitting out an opinion on current events every 20 minutes."
She goes on to back her ill-researched claim with the dubious support of a 24-year-old friend named Sarah, who in addition to knowing enough about this newfangled internet thing to assert most bloggers are male, is expert enough in gendered psychology to understand why: it's all a peeing contest!
Just for this post, I'm going to assume (and hope) that the double-edged sexism in Ms Wente's sentiments needn't be plastered in red flags. It's too disappointingly obvious, and numerous sharp-minded bloggers have already beaten me to it.
The irony of a writer who makes a living "spitting out her opinions" penning such a column probably doesn't need too much pointing out, either. What interests me is motive.
You've got to hand it to Wente. For a national columnist that professes to make little-to-no use of such toys as "blogs" and "social media," she's caused a pretty big stir in both pots. Countless bloggers, both male and female, have chewed her out for it. She's been Canada's top trending topic on Twitter since G&M dropped the web-bomb.
Which is funny. Her apparent Twitter account (it's not a verified one), @pwente, was created almost a year ago to date and used to mine and research for such difficult questions as why people tweet, and possibly score an online interview with Twitter co-creator Biz Stone. She tweeted a total of four times. She proudly asserts she doesn't run a blog.
And yet on Friday, at noon, she'll be playing the expert of who blogs (or doesn't), and why, in an online debate hosted by G&M online. To use reference to a recent tragedy as indelicately as Wente has done, it's sure to draw an avalanche of traffic, and eyeballs, to the site.
For a self-professed internet illiterate, it's a pretty good web strategy, wouldn't you say?
Chantal Braganza is a Star intern copy editor and recent graduate of the Ryerson Journalism program. firstname.lastname@example.org