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
? 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
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 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