Monday, April 28, 2008

Why blog?

A few months ago, my friend Neil posted this question on his blog. I recently posted some comments on a liberal blog and was asked the question, why I would post there, when it was primarily liberals who visited there. The comments were later clarified, I don't mean to imply I was made non-welcome or anything. In fact, I had a nice dialog via email after the initial banter.

But it got me to thinking about Neil's post again. Why do you blog and why do you read blogs? I'm going to list several possible answers and some comments to them. Neil, I apologize for stealing your idea.

1) Some people blog in order to inflame like-minded individuals. This is good. You'll likely attract a lot of people who think the same way. Use words like "stupid" and "narrow-minded" to describe those who disagree with you and you'll likely make a lot of points with those on your side. These blogs seem to mostly be about religion or politics.

2) Some people blog to inflame the opposition. Another good reason. See comments above. You're not likely to make friends, but then you're not likely to see these people in person, so who cares.

3) Some people blog for fun. They really don't care if anyone else reads what they have to say or not. This is good too. I confess, I sometimes fall into this category. I've gotten some good comments back on some of the movies/books I've read and added new material to my list of things to read in the future.

4) Some people blog to inform. This is tough. You need to find something that people care about, then present it in an unbiased, un-flamable matter. If you use words like "stupid" and "narrow-minded", you'll never reach those on the other side. And if you only reach those on your side, have you really informed, or were you just preaching to the choir?

5) Some people think they are journalists. This brings to mind the difference between journalism and editorializing. The former expresses facts, the latter expresses opinion. I know, the line can be blurred easily, with statements like "Randy refused to answer questions about his wife-beating habits" (if you asked those kinds of questions of me, I'd refuse, but that doesn't mean I beat her - I'm much too afraid of her).

I confess, I fall into the journalist/editorial categories sometimes. I actually never consider myself a journalist, I know one and that would be an insult to him. But sometimes I do report my findings in an unbiased manner (recent Obama and McCain post are two cases) and then follow up with editorial comments (Obama1 & Obama2, McCain).

Ok, I've probably inflamed some people with these comments. I will say they are not intended for any of my regular readers or the person with whom I recently exchanged emails. But they do reflect an opinion of what I've seen in blogs and in comments on blogs.

The real question is why do you read and/or write blogs?


David said...

Interesting question. I've tried to answer it before, it it still applies. As for your list, why can't it be all of them? I can think of several posts I've written that apply to each category.

I've also been meaning to ask you about a journalist. I saw a piece in the USA Today a while back about religious podcasting by a Barnett from your area, is that the journalist you know?

Randy said...

I think we all fall into multiple categories from time to time. Some things that I had seen recently implied that some bloggers were leaning heavily towards categories #1 and #2, purposeful inflamation. I think it's a waste of time and internet cycles. Like trying to teach a pig to sing I think is the old saying.

The journalist I know is a print journalist (newspaper reporter) and not a Barnett. But I'll see if I can find the guy you're talking about. I don't think we're related.

David said...

But numbers one and two are so much fun! Well, in moderation of course.

As for the journalist, I looked back at the article (I had set it aside and then forgot all about it). The guys name was Ron Barnett from "The Greenville (S.C.) News. It's no big deal, I just found it interesting. Here's the article online.

Randy said...

Ron Barnett (no relation) writes in the local paper (The Greenville News) on schools. I read the article you referenced and I think I saw it in the local paper.

Both USA Today and The Greenville News are owned by Gannett, so that's the tie-in between the two.

My neighbor is on the local school board. Everytime I see him, I remind him that I'm not related to Ron, seems the paper and the school board are always at odds.