April 1, 2006
Better Bloggers Bureau
By Bill Kraus
There is something unappreciative about raising questions about the virtues of blogging while writing for a blog site. Sort of in the category of asking a woman who is on her honeymoon for a date. But it is time to begin sorting out this Moloch which is consuming the internet.
Blogs are so many things they defy classification. They are susceptible to a couple of descriptions, however, that would be useful to those of us whose lives are so empty that we actually read the damn things.
With rare exceptions blogs are opinions. Readers of blogs, if they read newspapers, would confine themselves to the editorial and the op-ed pages. It is the rare blogger who deals in what we have come to expect of reporters. Facts. News. Bloggers feed on information produced by others and then add their own insights and slants and comments. If the news producing organizations shut down, bloggers would starve to death.
With this as a premise the practice desperately needs transparency. Blogs need to be reviewed, the way CDs, DVDs, movies, books, any media need to be reviewed. Who is writing these things? Where do they get their information? What do they bring to the party other than their own opinions and biases? To steal a line from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, “Who are these guys?”
Many we know (including, of course, the creator of this Web site) but hundreds are well below the radar screen and have to give potential readers and responders some reasons to justify coming to their sites and reading what they are writing.
With rare exceptions this idea is going to be very appealing to the blogging community. To varying extents, blogging is a kind of ego-trip. I write. You read. Therefore I am. If, as, and when a blogging review system is created, bloggers will kill to be included in it. What bloggers want above all is to be noticed. Once noticed they will work on being understood, followed, even obeyed.
And who should do the reviewing? The suppliers of course. The reporters who are the main providers of blog fodder. This is kind of a poetic justice. The decline in newspaper readership particularly, and in news audiences elsewhere as well, is being attributed to the fact that there is a widespread preference for blogs and bloggers and blogging.
In a sense the news organizations created the monster. I think they are duty bound to go the next step. It will never be mainstream. It’s a kind of democracy or journalism or anarchism run amok. Maybe it can’t be tamed. It can be described and revealed.
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