Blogonomics and bloat?
Friday, June 17th, 2005
There are lots of definitions of blogging: it’s a simple technology, a diary, a minimalist strip of HTML updated daily, a line of single time stamped posts in reverse chronological order.
Or, it’s a spirit: giddy, bawdy, gutteral, spontaneous, grass roots… real, man.
All that is empirical. I always add a puritan prescriptive twist to the answer.
Blogs are written by autonomous human beings, not corporations. Blogs are tools of autonomous personal expression. They may be commercial, but they are not corporate, because corporate means literally (and legally) “formed in a unified body of individuals.” Unified bodies of individuals can’t play tennis or kiss or blog. (Yesterday, Tony Pierce offered 31 tips on blogging, including “28. tell us about your friends.”)While people inside corporations can blog (using the pronoun “I”), corporations can’t blog successfully with the pronoun “we.”
This isn’t just grammar or semantics. Bloggers have some huge advantages over corporations who pretend to blog.
a) Bloggers speak authentically. They don’t have to worry about what their bosses say tell them to write. “Real” blogs are very much about personal expression. Bloggers have a
genetic advantage over traditional publishers. Blogging is in our social DNA, just like conversing, except blog conversations are amplified by the Internet to reach around the globe and entwine with thousands of similar conversations. Basically the blogosphere is a big
cocktail party. A blogger may dish out an anecdote about what her son ate for breakfast, an endorsement of a candidate, a curse word or a prayer and a movie review. In that mix are bound to be comments that offend one constituency or another. That’s human.
A newspaper can’t do that. Newspapers can’t knowingly offend a portion of their readership or shareholders. Newspapers are well-oiled machines designed to create a uniform product with all the sharp edges rounded off. Nobody would invite a newspaper to a cocktail party. It’s not human.
b) A blogger doesn’t need a policy hand book, because she’s already got a personal code of ethics … and, assuming the person is sane, the two always align.
c) Not least, bloggers have the lowest overheads. Bloggers can blog from their bedrooms, not 1500 square foot offices, which in the long run gives them a distinct economic advantage.