I read an article recently titled “Bloggers are Not Writers.” This is an old article, but it struck a nerve with me. Obviously, some of what she is writing about is not a commonly held opinion. The world has changed quite a bit in the last nine years since this was written. However, I think that these opinions still are widely held, especially for older generations. Younger people have been born into a world where blogging and reading blogs is an intimate part of their lives, so I believe that they have a different opinion on blogging.
The article though, is bull pucky.
There are plenty of articles defending bloggers, but this one sticks out like a sore thumb. It also seems like a popular opinion among people, and I have run into it a few times both on the computer and in the proverbial real world. Here are some of the facts. Firstly, being a writer means that you will never be short of criticism. People will judge you, and they will tell you their opinion whether you want it or not. Ideas and connections are human nature, I think. Everyone shouts into the ether of this world, hoping to connect with one person, anyone. That is a lot of what being on the internet and having your work out there is about. You are trying to connect with people with your writing. That is no different than a blogger. Speaking for myself, I yearn to connect with people. I desire to have a conversation with people about one of my favorite things, books. Or, more specifically, literature. I write about it with passion and conviction. Does that not make me a writer? Secondly, Why dismiss a blogger for merely being a blogger and choosing that medium to express themselves? You don’t tell a fantasy writer they are not writers, nor the poet, or political essayist. Why say that to a blogger?
“There are exceptions, okay. But very few bloggers can actually write. Bloggers pander to a crowd trying to satisfy the hive mind. Blogging is entertainment. Many bloggers are good at marketing, building community, relationships, and especially aggrandizing self-promotion, but not writing.”
The above argument is inherently flawed and wrong. Granted, connection and social media are part of a blogger’s world, but they are also part of a traditional writer’s world now. We live in internet communities saturated with media. To get your message out there about the latest book, or the most recent tv show, people need to be talking about it. That includes self-promotion and building relationships.
“But for bloggers, that is their mission; to create 500-word packages, bold-faced and headlined, read and digested in two minutes or less, bursting with lackadaisical opinion and junk epithets.”
I have never felt more dismissed with disdain and arrogance. Most bloggers I know seek to write the best articles they can. There may be varying levels of competence and skill in the blogging community, but there is in traditional literature as well. Not all traditionally published writers are continually writing “the next great American novel.” Contrary to the snobbery around some types of fiction, not all people want to eat caviar or read high minded twatery. Some people want an excellent book that makes them laugh, which allows escapism and joy. In turn, the writer will get an opportunity to eke out a career doing something they love. There is nothing better than that. The same is true for bloggers. If we can make money blogging, it is not any different than an author making money from their books — just a different format.
“What I think of as real writing; however, writing meant to last, is something else. It involves articulating a perspective that is not just reactive to yesterday’s moves in a conversation.”
All writing is reactive. I can speak for science fiction as they are genres that I am intimately and extensively familiar with. I wrote an article recently that talked about the rise of feministic dystopia novels and how there is a direct correlation with the events of the world. After the “Me Too” movement and the popularity of The Handmaid’s Tale tv show, there was a rise in dystopian novels. Specifically, ones that deal with the plight of women within dark circumstances. It is on the public mind, and it is popular discourse. That is where ideas spring from, the great “what if.” Writers don’t exist in a bubble of their imagination; they have been influenced one way or another by their own lives. We are all the main protagonists of our personal heroic stories. But, like any good story, there are supporting characters and plot points that shape our direction. Those plot points and ideas directly influence what creatively comes pouring out of our hands and our minds.
“Writing is something more. And it is in the reading of such writing that enduring ideas, observations, and philosophies satiate what we spend hours a day trying to glean from skimming any number of blog posts.”
Right. All books are water for the thirsty. Sure Jan.
I can say that many books have left me unsatiated. That has just as much to do with me as a reader as it does the author. Not every book is going to be the perfect solution to someone’s ennui or thirst if I can still keep using the tired metaphor. Articles, blog posts, and books will mean different things to different people. It would be a bland world otherwise.
As Geraldine DeRutier says on her fantastic blog, The Everywherist, “if you want to critique me on my shitting writing, I’ve an ample volume of work for you to peruse.” I personally have tons of reviews and articles to choose from. Last count, I have written over 500. Go ahead and read them and tell me they are crap. But, don’t tell me I am not a writer, or that my words don’t matter.