Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Baby, You’re No Good

Roger Abramson shares his thoughts on why some blogs are no good (and h/t to Kat at Music City Bloggers).

Roger has some good ideas; for example, he’s right when he says “For the most part, the media (or, MSM, if you prefer), really doesn't "get" blogging, or the Internet, for that matter.” He’s absolutely correct. But why should they? How many television producers “get” book publishing? OK, maybe that’s a bad analogy, but what I’m saying is, they are different formats that serve completely different functions.

But I think Roger is wrong when he says this:
I do think that the most well-known (and most hated by bloggers) media criticism of blogs—that they could use editors—holds water. Because, well, this is the truth: most blogs are not very good. Many just plain stink. Really. Now, don't look at me like that. It's true. And the fact is, you know it too.

I think this argument only works if you are expecting blogs to be something that they're not. Which means, maybe Roger doesn’t “get” blogging any more than the MSM does.

Blogs are not news outlets. Yes, many serve as such, and a lot of us use them as a source of our daily news. But at their root, that is not what blogs are.

Blogs are diaries. And some diaries will be no good. Like, the dorky diary I wrote when I was 13 years old and filled with angst about why didn't Jon Safell like me and I poured my heart and soul into really lame poetry with names like “Diamond Face” and “Summer Sunset.” Yeah I’m sure someone would have said, “get this girl an editor” if anyone had read it. But, thank God, no one did.

The blogosphere is a collection of diaries, which you can choose to read or not, as you wish. It is a format for the open exchange of ideas. It’s a conversation, and you don’t need an editor to have one of those.

So that’s why I don’t think Abramson’s criticism of blogs is especially relevant. His main criticisms are that some blogs lack perspective, originality, are boring and filled with poor writing, and the blogger is “a pompous ass.”

I say: so what? It’s a diary, get over yourself. I’m sure my blog has suffered from all of the above and more at one point or another, and I’ve only been around a few months. So what? It’s my diary. If you think it’s boring, pedantic, pompous, etc., you don’t have to read it. Some days I feel boring, pedantic, and pompous.

Abramson’s advice to bloggers and the media is pretty spot-on, though:

“Being a blogger doesn't mean anything other than you have access to and write a blog.” Agreed. I think it’s pretty cool that technology has advanced to where we can have this kind of conversation, though.

"Bloggers rarely break stories." True again. Also, I would remind Abramson that as diarists, we aren’t supposed to. Sometimes, though, the “breaking story” is just doing the legwork and connecting the threads that a journalist on deadline failed to do.

“The media is not your enemy.” Again, agreed. But one of the boring, pedantic, pompous issues I blog about is the media’s deterioration from being an information source to its current state as a source of entertainment. There are a lot of issue-oriented blogs, better ones than mine, that have the same concern. And by golly, we will blog about it. We will point out the lack of real information offered by the MSM, and how those of us desperate for news are forced to find alternative sources to get informed. And I do think bloggers’ criticism of the MSM for this failure is the reason we see a lot of anti-blogger criticism back at us.

The MSM loves to point out that “bloggers aren’t journalists.” No, we’re not. We aren’t supposed to be. But if you people would do your fucking jobs, we wouldn’t have to be.