As many reasons as there are bloggers

Mark Brady takes issue with an assertion made in this Sunday Times article that bloggers are like lemmings, all trying to find fame and fortune. Of course, it’s obvious that in fact there are as many reasons to blog as there are bloggers, and most bloggers couldn’t give a damn about ‘fame’ or ‘fortune’.

My beef with this is that the bloggers that “assume your [their] blog will be one of the tiny fraction that is brilliant” are not in fact the motives of the entire blogging population, or indeed a very large part of it. It’s a common attack pointed at bloggers. There are a lot of people blogging out there and not all of them are doing it for the same reason. One reason to blog is to reach friends and family without sending blanket emails to people. Another might be to keep a record of one’s life. Another might be to record notes and thoughts for a PhD, or other research project.

It’s an important point, and one that I keep seeing forgotten, over and over again, even by some long-time bloggers who should know better. Those of us in or heading for the spike are so very much in the minority, and we should not forget that. Most bloggers, the great vast majority of bloggers, simply don’t care about the power law, they don’t care about metablogging, they don’t care about stats. They just want to do what they do the way that they do it and that is, as far as I am concerned, wonderful.

Recently I’ve seen an increase in articles about blogging in the press, and most of them really don’t get it. I could fisk this Times piece so easily, but I just can’t be bothered. Reading it is like repeated poking myself in the eyes with a sharpened stick. I just want to scream ‘stop thinking ‘broadcast’, you morons!’, but I know my voice will just get blown away in the wind of rank stupidity and cluelessness.

I need to find some constructive developments to blog about instead, otherwise my ‘blog fuckwittery’ category is just going to take over the blog, like Japanese Knotweed rampaging through the gardens of England, unstoppable and voracious.

One thought on “As many reasons as there are bloggers

  1. I notice that people tend to judge blogs on the same basis that they’d judge whatever media they’re talking about them in. Thus blogs are bad magazines, bad newspapers, bad books, bad tv.

    Except for one thing: blogs aren’t tv, magazines, newspapers, or books. The reporters aren’t really seeing; we’re obscured by a scrim of their ideas about their own workplace. Some of the biggest errors come from thinking that blogs are another form of mass medium, where success equals getting a big audience — so they look at blogs and say, God, look how stupid, all these people will never be able to succeed, they should just give up.

    I do notice that this goes in the other direction, too. Some time ago Nightline came to visit my blogging group and some bloggers were unhappy to see that only some people were credited by name in the broadcast. Now, if a blogger made a blog post and only linked to the “important” bloggers cited in his post, most bloggers would think, Wow, that’s crummy. But TV has different constraints — you have to leave someone’s name up there for quite some time for anybody to be able to read it. TV isn’t just a bad blog — it’s a different medium with its own constraints. I think bloggers also pound on newspapers and magazines to try to get them to have the same level of interactivity and openness that the most basic blog with a comments section has by default. This is a project whose aims I think I might agree with, but we probably can’t turn other media into blogs in a complete and satisfactory way.

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