Death to “Bloggers” – Long Live Writers

I never liked the word “blog.” First of all, one-syllable words give me the creeps. Why just one syllable, huh? What is the word trying to hide? I think if a word has only one syllable, it’s not trying hard enough.

Second, “blog” isn’t even a word of its own. It began as a combination of “web” and “log,” was shortened to “weblog,” and now it’s just “blog,” as if saying “weblog” took too much time. Pretty soon “blog” will be shortened to a high-pitched whistle only guys who still live with their parents can hear.

But the main reason (i.e., “real reason”) I don’t like the word “blog” is because of that other word it spawned: Blogger.

I’ve said this in client presentations and in public seminars, and now I’m going to say it here. When someone uses a telephone, we don’t call that person a “telephoner.” When someone paints with watercolors, we don’t call them a “watercolorer.” So why the hell is it when someone has a blog, that person is called a “blogger?”

If you write a blog, you are writer. Not a blogger, not a computerer, not a Typepadder, but a writer. Why is that so hard to understand?

It may seem like I’m overreacting, and perhaps I am a bit. But I am trying to make a point, and that is not to associate the platform someone uses to express their art or opinion with the personality traits of that person.

Here’s what I mean. The following is a from a white paper published by Eric Schwartzman, President of ipressroom and host of the always interesting “On the Record…Online” Podcast. In describing "Who are Bloggers?" Eric says:

"They are a sort of self-appointed vigilante, bent on shaping opinions of their own accord. There is no editorial process that they follow, no fact checkers that ensure their accuracy and no formal appeals process when they are wrong. For these reasons, most marketers — until now — have chosen not to engage with or empower bloggers, a choice which may be somewhat short-sighted, since these new citizen journalists can have a profound impact on popular opinion and corporate reputation."

Eric, I like you and would enjoy meeting you someday, but that kind of thinking is just so full of crap. It may scare prospective clients into hiring blog relations consultants, but it does a disservice to the communications profession and to the thousands of people who are using or who are considering self-publishing tools like blogs.

I doubt Eric would put his own blog, Spinfluencer, into the category of  “self-appointed vigilante.” And by the way, not all “bloggers” are “citizen journalists,” either.

There is enough misinformation and misconception about blogs out there already, so let’s not keep adding fuel to the fire. Eric should know better than to fan the flames – and so should we all.

6 thoughts on “Death to “Bloggers” – Long Live Writers

  1. >>> But I am trying to make a point, and that is not to associate the platform someone uses to express their art or opinion with the personality traits of that person.
    But, for some people, the act of writing blog became something like a lifestyle, or even an obsession. So the label “blogger” is perfectly justifiable, I’d say.

  2. Plus, I think it remains to be seen just how much influence bloggers … er, writers … have.
    In some small circles, like the tech world, yes. To the general public? I think the jury is still out on that.

  3. Here we go again. We’ve been down this path once before. So, there are no novelists, biographers, screenwriters, speechwriters, journalists, critics, or columnists? Just writers, eh? Death to subcategories and deeper levels of understanding? Nonsense. Yes, I’m a writer. I’m a business book writer, a magazine article writer, a report writer, and a blogger, and proud to be all of the above.

  4. Shel, as I said, I was purposely overreacting and (trying) to use humor and hyperbole to make a point, which is that the platform one uses does not dictate his personalities or opinions. My real beef is with Eric’s characterization of “bloggers” as all being a certain personality type (“self-appointed vigilantes”). It’s like saying “oh, Shel is one of those ‘authors’, I know what he’s like.”
    And by the way, I’m glad you are a writer — I like your podcast, but your writing is what I most enjoy 🙂

  5. I agree completely about Eric’s characterization, although it certainly applies to SOME bloggers. Perhaps we even need MORE subcatgegorization — political bloggers, journalist bloggers (like Tom Foremski), humor bloggers, business bloggers, cat bloggers, and self-appointed vigilante bloggers…

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