I was smacked in the head today over just what a strange and diverse bunch we bloggers are: from parenting, politics and photography to blogs about Japanese style cooking, the chronicling of someone’s high school years, sales and marketing, and the craft of fiction.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are 144 million blogs out there.
My friend and teammate Joey Strawn over at For Bloggers By Bloggers got me thinking about all this when he published a brave post yesterday. He got a little push back in the comments (and a fair amount of love as well).
The title of his post was controversial enough in itself: Are You a Blogger or Just Posting Stuff Online? Joey went on to offer his definition of blogging. I’ll let you read his definition and decide for yourself.
“What?” you say. Put blogging in a box? This thing that has evened the playing field, made us all publishers and content creators?
The point he was making is that blogging should be considered an art, a form of writing to be valued and taken seriously, by the mainstream media and by bloggers themselves.
He said that, because anyone can play the blogging game, that people think that blogging isn’t real writing.
He had no intention of dividing his readers, but some of them felt that he was excluding them from the circle. That some people are welcomed into the club and not others.
That some people are bloggers and some people just post stuff online.
Are bloggers real writers or imposters?
So, anyone who writes is a writer, yes?
Though I’ve published my share of magazine articles and written for newspapers, I’ve never made it (yet) as a published novelist. Does it mean I’m not a writer?
Because my definition of a writer is someone who writes. Yours may be different, but that’s mine.
If you do three pages of free writing in your journal every morning, in my book, you are a writer.
For me, making money from it has nothing to do with it.
So, want to know how I define a blogger?
You guessed it. Someone who blogs.
And, to me anyway, bloggers are writers, too. They write blog posts, don’t they?
I think that with all new art forms, we wrestle with defining them. And blogging is such a personal act that it’s almost impossible to put in a box. But the reason I love it is that it is what you make it.
Blogging isn’t journalism (by the strictest definition). It isn’t opinion. It isn’t an academic research paper. It isn’t a magazine article. It isn’t a diary entry. It isn’t a poem. Or a short story.
And yet it can be all of that—and more. It has allowed citizens, we ‘common guys,’ to communicate with the masses. (Or not, depending on our subscriber numbers.)
We are all publishers now!
And we accomplish great things every day: helping people heal, teaching people how to be better parents, sharing the beauty of our art with the world, solving marketing problems for small businesses, entertaining our readers with stories, you name it.
Can you define what it means to be a blogger?
If you are blogging for no one but yourself—and I hear this surprisingly often—if you have no intended audience, are you still a blogger? Does a blog need readers to be a blog?
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound? (As a 7-year-old, the future writer in me used to love to think about that one.)
Do you need to be a professional (substitute “income generating” here) to qualify?
Does the low barrier to entry (anyone can build a blog and start putting stuff up) and the absence of any standards make blogging less respectable than other kinds of writing?
I’d love to hear what you think.
Are you a blogger?
Do you think that because you blog, you are also a writer?
And what about blogs with photos only? Blogs that are online diaries? Are they still blogs?
How do you define blogging?