AdAge Strikes Again

    January 16, 2006

…it occurred to me that there is no such thing as blogging. There is no such thing as a blogger.

Blogging is just writing-writing using a particularly efficient type of publishing technology. Even though I tend to first use Microsoft Word on the way to being published, I am not, say, a Worder or Wordder. It’s just software, people! The underlying creative/media function remains exactly the same.

So begins an AdAge article by The Media Guy Simon Dumenco titled “A blogger is just a writer with a cooler name: Why Blogging vs. Traditional Media Has Been Oversold.”

Dumenco must never have heard of “novelist,” “biographer,” or “journalist,” unless he considers all of these to be just writers with cooler names.

To his credit, Dumenco addresses some of the distinctions between blogging and other forms of writing before dismissing them. He misses two points. He acknowledges that the Net treats blogs differently, but limits the difference to blog-specific search engines. He doesn’t list Blogpulse among them. If he did, he’d see that the blog space within the Interent (that thing we know as the blogosphere) has its own pulse that is driven more by by commenting and trackbacking than it is by keyword indexing. And commenting is the second aspect of blogging Dumenco ignores, the fact that blogs, in the best instances, are a form of conversation.

In an interesting bit of coincidental timing, Rex Hammock picks up on the same theme:

If I were a carpenter and I used a hammer in my work, I wouldn’t be called a hammerer. I am a father and a husband and a business owner and a friend and a church-member and several other things. I use a blog to communicate, but I also use and and and a phone and email and IM and iChat AV and several other things. I don’t mind being called a blogger-in fact, I like it-but that’s not really what I am.

We are all many things. I’m a communicator, a writer, a father/son/uncle, a volunteer, a taxpayer, a podcaster, a procrastinator, a consultant, a blogger. Are bloggers writers? Indeed (with many exceptions-there are thousands of bloggers who only fancy themselves writers). But to suggest that a poet isn’t a poet, that he’s just a writer, is the height of absurdity. There are categories and subcategories. Simon, was this really worth a whole column or could you just not think of anything substantive to write about?

Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology which focuses on helping organizations apply online communication capabilities to their strategic organizational communications.

As a professional communicator, Shel also writes the blog a shel of my former self.