by Sven Triloqvist
Thu Dec 2nd, 2010 at 08:44:23 AM EST
Last night was the first annual Finlandssvensk (Finnish-Swedish) Blog Awards, mainly organized by Radio X3M, with the 3 main Swedish-Finnish blogsites + the Swedish side of state TV + (I presume) an injection of funding from the The Swedish Cultural Foundation.
There was even a be-logoed celebrity wall.
Lots of photos here.
Though my closest friends and colleagues are deeply involved in all this, I'm just a walk-on in the Finlandssvensk drama. All I know is that it cost peanuts to set up ratata.fi, but it takes daily, unpaid creativity to keep it rolling. Not unlike ET. Ratata has over 1000 active bloggers! - the other 3 `competing' blogsites have about 500 each. By active, I mean frequent contributions every week, often daily.
Don't ask me why a horse was on the red carpet.
The content of these blogs is delivered in the standard format of personal pages, accompanied by unthreaded comments. Graphics and videos are easy to post. Because of the format, interactivity between bloggers is fairly low and online discussions of any depth almost never develop, although the gestalt of these blog sites is the discussion. These are personal diaries, or mini-zines. What has developed is not a localized Facebook or Twitter (though many users are involved in these too), but a kind of lo-kultur board where personal creativity is valued.
The user/audience is urban and wannabe socially fashionable. There's very little philosophical text depth at all. The only issue is happiness and the search for it - the concerns are the usual ones of young people at the start of their careers. These personal pages are social networking CVs. And among the 1000 active ratata bloggers are some very talented writers, photographers, fashionistas, observers, confessionalists, photomanipulators, cooks, comedians and all the usual aggregated sharing of what's happening. Ratata is the JCR of the university of life.
I'd guess 70% of the ratata user/audience is female (the same proportion as the attendance at the Bloggpriset Awards). And some of the really talented are young mothers. This is a phenomenon noted a long time ago: kids mean houseboundness, and after they've been put to bed, there's the TV, home hobbies or - newly - blogs. If you are peripheral to the `scene', and especially if you live, because it's cheaper and better for the kids, in suburbia, then blogs can connect you.
Blogging is one the cheapest hobbies you can have. All it costs is your time (once a kind person provides the platform). And having an audience of strangers - even just a handful - is empowering. Yes, the content might appear superficial, but we are, as I keep saying, at the very beginning of media decentralization. These bloggers are `practising'. I don't know what it is a rehearsal for, but I'm all for it. Quite a few of those present will be the iplayers of the Finnish future.
The awards took place at Korjaamo Cultural Factory, (Dodo alert), which is an old brick complex of tram maintenance `sheds' just north of downtown Helsinki in Töölö. They've even left some of the old trams inside.
The wisdom of placing inoperative transport in party situations has its critics. I recall accompanying actress Beth Porter ("She makes the Whore of Babylon look like the Singing Nun.") to the crew and cast party of The Great Gatsby at Pinewood studios in late '73. Perhaps in homage to the theme of the movie, alcoholic beverages were very abundant. We left in the early hours, and on the way out of the cavernous complex, on another stage, passed the set of a complete London Underground train carriage (breakaway front walls). In it was a comatose and recumbent überreveller, possibly dreaming of arriving at South Ken station in the very near future. Fat chance.
But, in the immortal words of Mr C. Cook, I digress.
Bloggpriset 2010 was mostly a success and partly a failure. Lessons will be learnt.
Firstly, it was a gigantic and hugely successful `meet-up'. And since it was an Awards ceremony, there were various amusing interpretations of the non-existent dress code. But I have not seen so many good-looking and daringly dressed young ladies in one place since the RCA hops in the Gulbenkian way back in the late 60s. However, the bubbly stuff was awful, and the nibbles bland. Fail. The MC had blond slicked-back hair and a cocky manner. He's the sort of presenter you'd like to go over and punch on the nose. Fail. But the awards were fun and deserved.
Sadly the evening-closing Swedish music `sensation', Salem Al Fakir, failed to arrive before 01.30, thanks to the Finnair cabin staff strike, and most people were not prepared to wait around for another 2 hours, including we provincials.
My VIP goodies bag on departure contained two other fancy bags, assorted jewellery, 2 different condoms, an intimate wipe, a sachet of intimate shaving cream, a trendy magazine and a black shawl. They knew their audience.