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Lazy Town (or - If Dr. Phil did a show on blogging)

Yes, of course I'm back. It started innocently, intended to be a one-shot deal and then, well, you know how that goes. I got sucked in, once again. Actually, it's a bit more complicated than that. See, my husband threatened to leave me if I didn't stop my verbal ranting. We're talking 24/7 here. He said I was doing audio blogs in my sleep, even. So, after a week of watching Dan Rather's slow dance to irrelevance, and after doing two interviews (one on "how to" blog and one about the pros and cons of having a personal blog), I've done so much thinking about blogging that the word "blog" itself is causing some Pavlovian reaction, where my head explodes every time I hear/say/write it. You know that scene from Scanners? Like that, but instead of brain matter flying all over the place, it's hyperlinks and blogrolls and Moveable Type code. The walls in my office are splattered with HTML, I tell you! I took part in an online focus group the other evening on blogging and hyperlinks. I'm not allowed to quote any of the chat here - which involved about ten or so bloggers, all anonymous - but I think I'm allowed to give my general feeling about the whole thing. Which is, simply: holy shit, some people are pretentious.
There was one person who said - and I'll just loosely paraphrase so as not to break any rules - that blogging about personal things instead of news of the day means is lazy blogging. As if all it took to write a personal post was to vomit all over the New Entry page and be done with it. Lazy. If I had the superpower ability to leap through a computer screen and into anonymous blogger's living room I surely would have beat him/her over the head with his/her keyboard. Such an arrogant statement. What makes one form of blogging (head explode!) more important or harder to maintain than another, so much so that a person automatically dismisses a certain genre? From the perspective of one who does both personal and news blogging, I find it harder, in some aspects, to write about personal things. The struggle lies in making it interesting to you. Not everyone is James Lileks, who can make a day spent at home coloring pictures of Rollie Ollie sound absolutely riveting. That's not to say that news blogging isn't hard. I do it here, and to a further extent at Command Post, and a lot of work goes into it. Just ask any of the RatherGate powerhouses about collecting links, verifying sources, backing up stories and gathering information. It's exhausting. So here I sit in my pajamas (Old Navy cotton jammie bottoms, NYFD L124 t-shirt, if you must know, which apparently some of you do judging from my email), emoting away, getting personal and wondering if this is really just lazy blogging. Well, here's the thing. I don't care. Some days I'll just sit here and emote and some days I'll storm the castle and bring you the head of the Big News Story victim, all wrapped up in hyperlinks and cross-references and pdfs of documents. And when I don't do that, someone else will. That's the beauty of the blogosphere. No story goes unnoticed, no stone goes unthrown, no turn of the phrase gets left out. If one hundred bloggers are busy whining about how much they hate summer and how their baseball team sucks, there will be one hundred bloggers bringing you the latest news from Iraq or covering a hurricane or unearthing a story that's about to become big. And then there are the other thousands upon thousands of bloggers not writing about the news and not even writing about their pets or their children. See, blogging is bigger than you and I. In fact, it's bigger than Instapundit, bigger than Command Post, bigger than Bill Burkett's Kinko's account. There are bloggers who are superstars in their corner of the 'sphere and never even heard of Charles Johnson or Wonkette, and I think it's best to sit back and think about that sometimes. While the newsbloggers ("warbloggers" is so yesterday) are the champagne of the blog world right now, next week RatherGate will be a distant memory as other breaking stories ebb and flow. We are stars in our own eyes right now. That's not to take away from what's been done. A handful of newsbloggers worked their asses off and not only broke a major story, but became part of the story itself, or at least a sidebar to the major issue. If anything, these guys proved that bloggers can be journalists, reporters and act as impetus for change. It wasn't a matter of posting a link and passing it around. It took a lot of detective skills and leg work to get the story right and keep it going. It's hard blogging. It's work. Which brings me back to personal blogging. Is it lazy? Was that person I labeled pretentious correct? After all, when I sit here for 45 minutes and emote at you, I'm not doing any research, I'm not putting many links in the post and I don't have to fact-check and back up my sources because my only source is me. For instance, this post took me about an hour to write. There's nothing newsworthy in it and it's really just a long "this is what I did today" post. No work went into it except for the work involved in sharpening my sentences, polishing my paragraphs and running a spell check. Then there's this post, which is just a whole lot of emotional baggage disguised as a topical issue. You know what? That post was damn hard to write. Emoting (I'm starting to get a Scanners moment with that word) is hard. It's work. Putting your emotions out there for people to read may not be as hard as tracking down news sources and links, but it's hard in an entirely different way. Putting emotions into words that are readable is not an easy task. It can be spiritually draining, as opposed to the physical and mental drain a hard-hitting news post can be and it can be just as time consuming. Of course, it's possible to mix both news and opinion without getting into an navel gazing soliloquy that makes the reader feel like a voyeur. I go back sometimes and read older posts and I'll cringe at the guest-on-Dr. Phil feel to it. But it's part of what I do and part of what thousands of bloggers do. To call all of them lazy is to not recognize the importance of anyone else besides yourself and I think that's an inherent problem with a good portion of bloggers who are stars within their part of the system; they put too much value on their own import, to the extent that they don't realize just how small a piece they are of the whole picture. It's just blogging. On the whole, we're no less and no more important than the Podunk Daily News, which prints local birth announcements and stories about cats stuck in trees. The Podunk Daily News may not be important to you or I, but the people of Podunk swear by it. So when people ask why blogging is important to me, I tell them: because it's important to me. Understand? It's important for me to sit here and emote and it's important for me to be able to sit here and watch you emote (head! explode!). It's important to me to be able to brg you the news at a rapid pace and it's important for me to read about your peptic ulcer or your breaking of the news. But the blogs themselves are not more important than each other. I get just as much out of this as I do out of this. Maybe if more people spent more time getting out of their own end of the blogosphere, we wouldn't have people deeming anyone outside their little world insignificant. And this has been my emoting for the day. My head will now asplode.

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» Different Strokes from DaveDorm
Michelle from A Small Victory and more notorious of Command Post fame, took a brief break from blogging. Very brief. Don't get me wrong, I was happy to see her reappear in my RSS Feeds that I read daily. But Michelle is a unique kind of blogger. S... [Read More]

» Bloggity Blog Blog OR You don't have to read it if you don't want to from seldom sober
<Sober Post> Bloggity Blog Blog OR You don't have to read it if you don't want to What she said. Update: Most bloggers did not go to journalism school. Most bloggers did not start their blog to become journalists. Most... [Read More]

» Bang A Drum: The CBS Fallout from Winds of Change.NET
The CBS fallout continues. Michelle is back to blogging, CBS is burning a brand that took 90 years to build, and hyper-partisan liberals call Kevin Drum a traitor for admitting that the CBS memos are forged. [Read More]

» Bang A Drum: The CBS Fallout from Winds of Change.NET
The CBS fallout continues. Michele is back to blogging, CBS is burning a brand that took 90 years to build, and hyper-partisan liberals call Kevin Drum a traitor for admitting that the CBS memos are forged. [Read More]

» And on the bloody morning after - one tin "News"man slinks away... from Who Tends the Fires
The Word for the Day is: "Kamikaze Kerry" "What's the frequency, Kern-eth?" is your Somazine, uh-huh You were brain-dead, FAQed out, numb, not up to speed You thought they'd faxed you an idiot's dream Tunnel vision from the insider's screen.... [Read More]

Comments

Raises glass. Glad to have you back, M.

(Pssst. Hey, buddy. If you know what's good for you, you'll pay no attention to that crazed woman down at the end of the blogobar who keeps muttering to herself.)

Each bloggers blogs for their own reasons. Some do it for fame or to stroke their egos. They are arrogant - these are the same people who stand on soapboxes at Speaker's Corner.

Blog for your reasons, and don't worry about why others do. For some, it doesn't matter whether you get 3 hits per day or 300,000 hits per day - it's getting your thoughts out into the world (or at least part of it) that counts.

I should really blog more about this - keep an eye on trackbacks!

Blogging about personal things is "lazy"? Wait'll Lileks hears about this.

I have a word for people who've never heard of Wonkette: "lucky".

And Michele, welcome back! There was a big hole in my daily routine and now it's better.

What a pretentious prick. What really makes me pissy is that someone with that attitude knows nothing about the "history" of blogging and the fact that lazy bloggers like myself are the ones that got this whole thing off the ground. Newsblogging (which you know I enjoy reading and admire) changed the face of things and brought blogging into much wider use, but shit bubba, remember where you came from.

It's your blog site and
You'll blog if you want to
Blog if you want to
Blog if you want to
You would blog too if it happened to you!

Good going Michele.

Are you sure you can't find out for us who Mr/Ms Pretentious was? I really don't want to waste any time on that blog.

Oh, and welcome back. I didn't want to say anything before, in case you were still undecided about coming back. Frankly, I need my daily dose of ASV to survive to November.

If you keep quitting and coming back, you might be mistaken for Rachel Lucas.

Nah, she's way cuter than me.

Is not.

People need to understand that blogging is a medium. News bloggers who sneer at the personal bloggers are no different than news journalists who sniff at the news bloggers. Don't like it? Don't read it. Yeah, there are a lot of navel-gazing blogs out there, but they're interesting to somebody.

There's room on radio for everything from John Sterling to Rush Limbaugh to Puff the Magic Diddy. You can't define CNN by "Fear Factor," and you can't say all books are unreadable because you didn't like James Joyce. It's a flexible medium.

I agree. Is not.

I love these people who dictate what blogging should or shouldn't be. Me, I like my little cheese sandwich world, and as I'm the only person I'm writing for, those who don't like it can not read me. Oh, and bite me too.
Mmm, tasty cheese sandwich blogger....

This moonbat is certainly happy to see you return, Michele! :) big moonbat hugs

Well...there goes another three hours of productivity per day.
Yippee!

Emoting is very cathartic for most people and the function of a highly stimulated mind.

Of course, the same could be said of sex.

Thank heaven you are back.

I come here BECAUSE you (Scanners moment warning) emote.

You write and express things that I feel but can't put into words.

Your take on the news is great, your personal thoughts are great. Just keep writing exactly what you choose to. I don't think you'll lack for readers.

And welcome back.

Blogging philosophy - I'll offer my take on current issues that catch my attention, but I have no interest whatsoever in becoming a reporter. I'll occasionally offer personal info, but I'll never be as open as Michele.

So why do I do it? To me, blogging is just a way to communicate with people whose existence would have been otherwise unknown to you. That's the beauty of the Internet in general - it makes it possible to find all sorts of cool people and things that you'd never encounter in your offline life. And no matter what your specific subject matter, I think that just that mere act of communicating does reveal clues about the personality of the blogger.

Blogging is a wonderful thing, so long as one doesn't try to force it to conform to one's own idea of what it ought to be. I think it's great that there are all different kinds of people doing all sorts of different things with blogs. I will completely and blithely ignore any pretentious fools who go around spouting off about the supposed superiority of the specific type of blogging that they do.

what the fuck? This person obviously doesn't know how much damn work and effort it takes to post pictures of ones beautiful, perfect boobs...er, I meant CHILDREN.

Lazy, my ass. Editing and cropping is HARD WORK!

Well,officially, welcome back.

Writing well is hard work, regardless of whether you write about taking your kid to the dentist or the culture of corruption at CBS.
I've written personal pieces that took hours to write and ran only a few paragraphs. I've written heavily researched pieces that took about the same amount time, because I wasn't trying to put any art into the writing, just clarity.
Lazy blogging, my ass.

Glad you're back. Missed you. Just do your thing. The results will be most welcome.

All I can say is "it's about damned time." ;-)

To weigh in with my unsolicited opinion, your post on "Baby Songs", which is linked as an example of a personal post above, is a favorite of mine.

I always wonder about the people who complain to you about your blog. If they do not like it, there is something like 3 million other blogs out there that they can read. Dissent in the comment section is one thing. Polite dissenting comments are often very interesting. But people who feel obliged to tell you what to write ... they should read other blogs and get a life.

Y'know, it's about time someone wrote a song about blogging.

"It's my website and I'll blog if I want to,
blog if I want to...
You would blog too if it happened to you!"
;-)

-A.R.Yngve
http://yngve.bravehost.com

I read your site because of the variety and mix you offer. If I wanted one-dimensional opinions, there are plenty of places I could find them.

The posts you write - the ones where you express your feelings - are usually the ones that make me reflect the most upon my own feelings. And isn't it true that deep thoughts don't manifest themselves upon demand; the most seemingly insignificant, mundane activities can trigger an idea...which inspires a thought....which in turn leads to insight? Allowing us a glimpse into your life away from the keyboard is a generous gift on your part and I appreciate it.

Blog on.

Yes, there are as many bloggers as there are subjects, but you are who I go to when I want my daily dose of sheer pissed-off-poetry.
I also admire your courage in dealing with anything "September 11" Nothing less than the Holy Grail.
Thank God you are back.

Good to have you back, Michelle! I missed you...

As for me - I blog because I want to. I'm not doing it for the fame at all. If I were doing it for hits (like some I've known, who have long since ceased) I'd have stopped long ago. As it is, I count it a good day if I get more than about 25 hits a day - and that's including search engines!

Love ya, hon - keep up the good work...

J.

Whatever the reason is...I am glad you are back. Never, ever, shut up....Cathy

It's great to have you back- I really missed you. Now if only Den Beste would come back...