By Phil Mac Giolla Bhain
Firstly I am very happy to write the inaugural blog for the Celtic Network.
I hope TCN becomes an integral part of the online Celtic Family in the coming season and beyond.
The technology that allows you to read this on a computer or on a mobile phone anywhere in the world-for free-has not only changed the economics of my trade It has also changed the nature of journalism itself.
Being a Journalist used to mean being part of a one way communication between producer and consumer.
The reader or viewer was largely powerless about what was served up to them.
Those in the media knew this instinctively. They were in a privileged position.
Factor in a cultural hostility to some of their readers and you get the hearse being hired to drive up Kerrydale Street before Fergus McCann saved the club.
The only thing the consumer of that media could do was to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper.
Once more the media held the levers of power.
In economics this is called “producer sovereignty”.
The Celtic Family have had more reason than most to chafe under this one way relationship with the traditional media.
It is therefore surprising that Celtic supporters have been among the most enthusiastic in embracing and utilising New Media.
My journey has gone from the message boards into my own site connected to Twitter and Facebook.
Although I sold my first newspaper article 25 years ago these days my work as a print journalist and my online presence are fully integrated.
I am comfortable with this and in my activism as a member of the National Union of Journalists my focus in on New Media.
I do not, however, see the traditional outlets and social media being mutually exclusive for good journalism.
Only last week articles of mine appeared in the Alternative View and the Celtic View about the need for a Famine memorial in Glasgow.
This output in traditional media outlets was also referenced in online content.
In doing so I was able to interact about the article with members of the Celtic Family and, inevitably, one or two Dignified objectors who consider one million dead Irish people to be the appropriate subject for “banter”.
Everything has a cost and, as much as I try to keep such interactions down to a minimum, they are occasionally necessary.
The visionary “futurologist” Alvin Toffler wrote in the 1980s in “Future Shock” and in “the third wave” about the “infosphere” and the “demassified media”.
What we are witnessing now is that restructuring of media industry into smaller independent operating entities. This of course cuts across the major mass media: Print (newspapers, books, magazines), film (commercial film), and Broadcast Media (radio and television.)
The Celtic Family offered a choice between reading succulent lamb sponsored copy in newspapers or gushing “interviews” on radio with a Rangers manager, are migrating to blogs, podcasts and message boards.
This is a democratic revolution in the media.
TCN is part of that revolution.
As a working print journalist and a blogger I see it from both points of view.
Ken Auletta’s recent book “Googled” spells it out for the traditional media.
The clear message is that if they don’t interact with the consumer in a respectful way then the technology exists for their extinction as a business.
What we have in Scottish football is a situation ripe for a new media revolution.
That change is being led, in the main, by the Celtic Family simply because of the virulent anti-Celtic bias evident over generations by the traditional media in Scotland.
This technology has created the means for the taken for granted consumer to become an empowered producer.
The media has been democratised.
I am happy to have been part of that revolution over the past few years and I’m happy to welcome TCN to the online Celtic Family.
You’ll Never Surf Alone…
By Phil Mac Giolla Bhain