Ad Age Says There Is No Such Things as Blogging..But The Name Is Cool

by Marianne Richmond on January 17, 2006

A story in today’s Ad Age by Simon Dumenco said that there is no such thing as blogging and no such thing as a blogger…"it’s just the software, people." He says that blogging is instantaneous, "voice-y", and opinionated but says this is not different than old-school media. He says that just because there are blog specific seach engines, blog content is not different than non-blog content and as news sources blogs and traditional news sources are given equal weight. I guess he means by himself.

He goes on to say that bloggers are only bloggers because they believe in blogging as something distinct, in the mythical blogosphere,  and because traditional media types think that bloggers are amateurs and that they are the professionals… professionals don’t "work way faster, interact constantly with readers..{and are} not vastly more voracious." Not sure what "vastly more voracious means exactly"

His conclusion is that "blogging software" will become the universal online publishing solution and that there will be two types of media people, fast and slow. He also thinks blogging is a cool name. Actually, I think the name is kind of stupid and I think he is really missing the point about blogging so I have to say that I disagree with most everything he wrote. Blogging is not just about writing faster and interacting with readers.

With lots of help from the not so mythical blogosphere, here is what Simon didn’t say or see:

Steve Rubel summed it up in one word: dialogue. Blogging is different than traditional media writing because blogging is a dialogue and writing for tradtional media is a monologue…comments to the former go instantaneously to the blogger, to be read by blog readers in the context of the post while in the latter, comments go to the editor long after anyone remembers what was written.

Bloggers interact with other bloggers and with readers who may or may not be bloggers. Lots of participants, no editors or refereeing. Big difference.

The Eide Neurolearning Blog
say that "blogs foster conversations, interactions with other blogs and other information sources, and invite feedback from their readers. " This would include comments but also includes links, another distinctively blog attribute. Links form the structure of the blogosphere. They can be reciprocal links, explicit or implicit but links drive the speed of the information; not bloggers working "way faster". They also bring up another distinctively blogging attribute, associational thinking. They write, blogging can be a powerful promoter of creative, intuitive, and associational thinking. And yes, this is maybe about "faster"  and technology driven, but it is also that faster "promotes a kind of spontaneity and ‘raw thinking’–the fleeting associations and the occasional outlandish ideas–seldom found in more formal media."  How does that work? You read it, react to it, associate it, and you blog it. And of course, there is always another blogger or a blog reader right there, ready to comment, link, correct, disagree, or expand upon the thought or idea.

What else differentiates blogging from writing? Well Simon said something about amateurs and professionals….an important difference though not necessarily in the context that he was referring. Writers in traditional media are professionals in that they get paid to write, have editors, bosses, deadlines, page requirements; bloggers typically do not. We might write our blogs so that someone will hire us to DO a job…but writing the blog is not our job. They have editors, we have spell check.

OK, the summation of all of this, blogging is a social media, it is about social networks. Conversations, relationships, social capital, connections, that you don’t get from just writing or reading. Writing is about the page, staying within the lines…blogging is not about the limits of the page; it is about stepping off the page and beyond the lines and engaging rather than reading, writing and listening.

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