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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Blogging slows, life in progress

I'm amazed at how many bloggers still warn people when they're not going to post for a while. Isn't it a bit conceited?

It reminds me of the way corporate types can get when they get carried away with writing an opinion piece or a regular column - pretty soon they're wandering off into self-indulgent prose mixed with advertorial that gives little to the reader. You can almost hear them reading it out to their long-suffering spouse, completing the monologue with a guffaw at how clever and brilliant they are.

The key to a great blog, or opinion piece, or column, is humility. As a journalist, you're keenly aware that all you are is a conduit of information. Even when writing an opinion piece, all the writer is really there for is as a foil to the human or corporate condition. Not one of the opinion pieces I ever wrote consisted of my unadulterated and unchecked opinion. They were based in fact but mixed with, shrouded in and enhanced by fiction to create an enjoyable experience for the reader. And not once did I apologise that I wasn't going to be there for the next issue.

Most opinion pieces from vendors are often too painful to read as they're steeped in self-love and corporate messaging. Either that, or they're heavily edited. I'm concerned that blogs could all too easily go the same way.

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6 Comments:

Blogger David Rossiter said...

I don't see that bloggers telling readers they'll be away for a while is really that big a deal.

Now there are so many more blogs, I guess it seems odd but even a year ago, it felt kinda nice - made you as the reader feel more part of that blog's community.

Anyway, that's what I think - FWIW!

7:48 pm  
Blogger David Tebbutt said...

As a z-list, and erratic, blogger I doubt that anyone would notice my absence. I'd probably be back before anyone read it.

However, on your other point, if blogs go the way you fear, then they won't get read.

But the cream of the crop, such as your own, (grovel grovel) will continue to be read avidly.

1:15 am  
Blogger Jon said...

David R - I agree, the blogosphere's way bigger now and starting to encroach on 'traditional' publishing. I think that's why it feels weird that people are apologising for not writing. It shows them up for still thinking it's the comfy little community it once was, and reminds me a bit of old-fashioned newspapers and their bizarrely familiar tone.

David T - Stop grovelling! Mind you, your posts have been a little thin on the ground lately...

8:45 am  
Blogger John Cass said...

To me its just a matter of politeness letting people you may not get around to moderating or answering their comments for a while.

1:36 pm  
Blogger Wade Rockett said...

I think it's also about keeping your audience. If someone stops posting to their blog with no explanation, I might start to think after a couple of weeks that they've given up on the project. After a while I'll wonder if I should delete the feed from my reader.

I would certainly like to see more humility in the world; but when you're blogging, it seems reasonable to proceed as if someone is enjoying your work, and treat this possibly imaginary reader with courtesy. I think that includes letting them know if you're going to be posting significantly less often than they're used to.

10:03 pm  
Blogger John Cass said...

Wade; what you say makes a lot of sense to me. However, I also don't think anyone should think its expected to make a post every time you leave the house.

As a blogger it’s your personal choice, but I definitely don't agree that with someone when another blogger criticizes him or her for leaving such posts. You don't have to read the post!

1:12 pm  

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