Thursday, February 03, 2011

Don't call me blogger either

One of the blogs I read from time to time, I Will Dare (the personal one from the woman who started the Paul Westerberg fan site), had a post last week titled "Don't Call Me Blogger" where, as that title suggests, she refuted accepting that moniker for what she did. She began by admitting her original reluctance stemmed from her aspirations to be a "serious" writer and her belief (back many years ago) that no serious writer would blog. Obviously that's not the case, especially these days, but what now precludes her from perceiving herself as part of that is how the "blog" is done as a marketing tool; it's done to promote something the blogger had to sell (be it an object or a service or what-have-you), and as she was not shilling anything it was not apropos. (My summary doesn't do it justice; you should read it yourself.)

Both of which are fair points, I'd say, provided we could all agree that there's a singular definition of what a "blog" is (and, correspondingly, what a "blogger" is).

About the only aspects of a blog about which we could get some agreement is that it's a website (or part of a website) with material posted by date; a "blogger" is one who contributes content thereto. Beyond that, there's undoubtedly a fair amount of personal association the individual brings to the table.

I do not consider myself a "blogger" either, despite the fact that the site which hosts my site is called "Blogger" and there's dated posts in the format of a blog. However, for me the association is that one picks a given topic and comments on the news pertaining to that topic. It's not necessarily a thoroughly researched piece of writing but an initial reaction to events pertaining to the subject.

Obviously that's a flawed definition, and not one with which everyone would agree, but it's why I don't adopt the term openly. It's not that I see "blogger" as a pejorative or a role that prevents one from doing "serious" writing; I merely don't meet my own definition. The topics I cover here lack the cohesion of a uniform subject matter; what I write about is all over the proverbial map; while certainly there are recurrent themes, the only element they all have in common is… me. If pressed for what the site is "about" that's the only answer I could offer. While that statement is undoubtedly true of the majority of writing, whether it appears online or in print, I still suffer from not limiting myself to a single area here—and especially because I don't obsessively dwell on that area.

So it's a "personal blog"? Well, that holds a connotation as well, and one that is worthy of some denigration because it seems to be associated with the notion of "crypto-blogging" (talking about the minutia of one's life in excruciatingly dull detail in a way that could not be of any interest to anyone else); it's the "here's what I have for lunch" variety (which probably has shifted to being addressed by what people bore people with on Facebook or Twitter). I certainly like to believe that what I'm doing is above that. Maybe not much, but if I ever do mention lunch it will be because something interesting occurred, I promise you.

To be clear: I'm not denigrating the term "blogger" in general, or at all. I'm actually giving it some respect, and admitting that what I do—and whatever it should be called—does not meet with what I perceive the general population associates with the term. Thus, in a way, I am saying that I am not worthy of the moniker.

Some will find that to be ridiculous, and I'd be hard-pressed to convince them otherwise. Of course, one of the recurrent themes here is that I'm not really trying to convince anyone of anything—if I must come up with some mission statement for the site, it's to see what others think that's not exactly like what I already think (or what tongue-in-cheek variation on what I think I have posted)—I am not dismayed in the least by that.

If this widens your definition of "blogging" to include whatever this is, so be it; if it doesn't, then please let me know what you'd call this. I'd really be interested in knowing.


So whatever this is, I clearly have a certain proclivity toward it. I must consider myself lucky to have been around at a time when it was available as a creative outlet. (Okay, that last sentence presumes it is intermittently creative, but let's just go with it and not completely derail the thesis above.)


  1. This reminds me of the effort to euphemistically pass off a skeptic as a "bright" or an atheist as a "non-theist." Bullshit! I'm a blogger, i.e., someone who communicates with others through the format of a blog. That's the basic neutral term. If someone wants to get all upset about negative connotative qualities that others are imposing upon a term, then forget it.

    It's like the Republicans making the word "liberal" dirty, even to the point where some democrats were worried about the dreaded L-word. Yes, some words are bad, but don't let a neutral word be corrupted by those trying to impose their POV on what you're doing.

    After all, did Judith Miller and Jayson Blair make the word "journalist" totally invalid as a neutral term?

  2. I do think "blogger" started off with a negative connotation and eventually gained acceptance, but as to it having achieved the same general agreement about definition that "journalist" had I'm not so sure. And journalism suggests a particular activity; blogging only indicates a particular format for the delivery (as you note).

    Ultimately it's a matter of whether one feels comfortable with the consequences of the connotation some with conclude.

    At present, one cannot major in "blogging" at a university. But that's probably only a matter of time.

    (For what it's worth, "journalist" seems to be on its way down, undoubtedly for many reasons.)


So, what do you think?