Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Okay, maybe you can call me blogger

Last week I balked at the term "blogger," due in part to it being a title based on the format. That, to be fair, could be semi-hypocritical in light of how "columnist" is an accepted title which clearly stems from the format (where the writing appears on a page in a column). Admittedly, columnist could be as vague, but in my opinion it is relatively definite (oxymoron intended) in the way it connotes someone writing with a perspective (bias) on a regular topic, and where it is presented in a specific format (to distinguish it from the at least ostensibly unbiased journalism that appears elsewhere.

Which, when it comes down to it, is one possible definition of what a blogger is. As less columns are published on paper in magazines and newspapers, "columnist" does fade as applicable. Perhaps "blogger" should be the officially recognized replacement term for when those erstwhile column content is posted online.

While what I do does meet the criteria of format and, at least intermittently, of perspective, I think I fail to conform to the key one: having a regular topic. Unless one considers "whatever I feel inclined to write about" to be on par with established topics like sports or politics.

"Personal blogger" carries still (for me) the connotation of someone who blathers on about topics on par with what he had for lunch (and not in an interesting way). And although what I do may not be of greater interest to many than that, I like to believe the effort I exert is somewhat above that level. I concede that's probably the closest general term we'll get to distinguish that from the sort of blogs that qualify in the sense of replacing columns, but maybe over time the connotation will coalesce into something more respectable, as that "crypto-blogging" moves over to being done on the likes of Facebook (where such navel-gazing subject matter is more likely to be noticed by one's friends)

Or maybe as time goes on the need to distinguish types of bloggers at all will become moot, as fewer and fewer people remember what columns were. With other outlets like Twitter for those who merely want to make quick quips about the hot topics of the moment that may leave blogs for those who are inclined to write with some perspective at somewhat greater length on a topic (even if there's not a unifying subject like sports or politics to tie them altogether).

Ultimately, everything will shake out as only those who are thusly inclined will still be maintaining blogs; to be a "blogger" will indicate you are someone still doing that, irrespective of what your blog is about.


So it appears that we've arrived at the purpose Twitter and Facebook serve: They provide a better outlet for those who really shouldn't be blogging in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. I like the term "writer." Other terms, like "blogger" and "columnist" (and Fifth Columnist, ha) connote where the writing appears. "Writer" focuses on the action, rather than the medium or destination.

    Or, I can call you Betty, and you can call me Al. (Whatever happened to Paul Simon, anyway) I think he got smaller and smaller until he disappeared.)


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