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Who you calling "blogger"?


 

As I narcissistically keep tabs on who's saying what about my story this week--i.e., the one on the old media-new media sportswriting feud--I'm noticing a theme: there's a lot of disagreement out there about what, exactly, "blogs" and "bloggers" are.  By way of example, here's a comment posted to a column by Salon.com's King Kaufman (whom I quoted in the piece, and who returned the favor by writing about it today):

I'm sorry Mr. Kaufman, but I don't consider you a blogger. I think of you as a columnist that is published on the web. You write in complete sentences and paragraphs. Your columns can each be read as an independent entity - you don't have to be in on the joke to understand them fully.

The idea that anything published on the web is a blog is absurd and irrelevant. Good writing is good writing, whether it is chiselled into stone or streamed directly into the readers brain via web 9.0 or some other future technology.

On that last point--"[G]ood writing is good writing, etc."--I wholeheartedly agree. Some of the other stuff, not so much. Who decided, for example, that writing like a grown-up means you're not blogging? Or that writing pieces that stand on their own means the same thing?

To my mind, something's a blog if it's A) published online and B) subjected to less editorial oversight than an article that runs in print (though not necessarily no editorial oversight at all). It's hard to come up with a narrower definition. Most blogs allow comments; some don't. The author's point of view is usually dominant, but not always. Some are self-published by amateurs; some are written by professional journalists for their employer. Some are obscene and juvenile; some are high-minded and esoteric.

That's precisely why anyone who makes blanket statements about what blogs are and aren't risks looking like a jackass. You wouldn't condemn "newspapers" after reading Page Six, or "radio" after listening to Michael Savage. Same deal here.

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