Thursday, November 10, 2005

How Pretentious Should Blogging Be?

Sitting at my desk today during lunch, I took a spin around the blogosphere to see what the latest thoughts were. I was struck that one of my fellow bloggers felt the need to comment on the low quality of reviews and musings done by other blogs. My first thought was this: since when is blogging being judged on quality of content? In my opinion, a blog was a place a person could be free to express their thoughts and opinions in any way they damn well feel like it. This isn’t a contest or a profession. To most bloggers, I believe it is a labor of love- nothing less and nothing more.

As someone who has done reviews for a “comic book review site”, I do realize that there is a difference between composition and free flow. When I have prepared my reviews for the review site, I have gone more in depth and made sure to comment on the book’s creators. Here at my blog I sometimes do prior composition on Word, but other times I just want to point out a cool book. I hope I am not judged on my wording and superior grasp of the English language. I always just assumed that as fellow comic bloggers we are trying to give a heads up, not impress the crap out of each other with our grammar.

Enough of that rant. What are your thoughts?

9 comments:

James Meeley said...

I wouldn't put much stock in anyone who thinks "free formed thought" should be the same as a conscious effort for verbal perfection.

Personally, any blogger who'd do that, is probably a very pretentious person anyhow. Best not to give them a second (or even first, if possible) thought. Those types are just never worth it. They just suck the fun out of whatever room they enter, including your own mind.

Just blog about what you want and be passionate and honest in what you say. You can't ask for more than that of a blogger (and if you do, that's YOUR hang-up, not anyone else's).

P'La Jarvinen said...

Heidi,
there are so many "bloggers" out there that see their personal blogs as works of perfection and because they enjoy listening to theirselves talk, they seem to think that means they have something of superior quality to anyone else's blog. unfortunately they have an inflated sense of self worth and that will make them attack other bloggers on a whim.

if they really set down and looked at the big picture of how many millions of bloggers are in this huge web of words, they would feel very humbled by the fact that there are likely millions of people who have never seen what they had to say, nor would they care to.
don't ever let what someone else writes affect how you feel towards your own work. if it is written as constructive critism that is one side of the coin, but if it is written solely for the basis of blowing hot air around... the best regard is IGNORE. like I said, they are just one amoeba in a giant fishbowl and there are a lot of other fish that would read what you have to say completely different.
enjoy what you do, have fun with it and remember that your space is just as worthy as blogger #2's.

Ragnell said...

Don't listen to him at all. This is an individual expression of your own personal thoughts. No stringent rules should apply. Nobody has the right to criticize content here anymore than they have the right to criticize the thoughts in yur head. If it's anywhere near an established art form, it's much closer poetry rather than journalism. No real rules there for form, or content. Just purity of expression counts.

And really, why bother to be pretentious? Is that why you blog? Is it to share your genius with the Internet? Maybe, but in that case, I'd say someone likes the look of their own words on the computer.

I think for most people, or, at least for myself -- this is like keeping a diary you don't mind others reading, and socializing while your at it. It's not done for anyone else, it's done for your own satisfaction. To get all of these thoughts out of your head and onto the Internet so you won't drive your co-workers insane talking about Green Lantern.

So who cares what snobby jerks think?

Melchior del DariƩn said...

Short answer to your question: since the medium is so personal and immediate, a blog will pretty much reflect the person; a pretentious persion will probably produce a pretentious blog (or at the very least, pretentious posts).

On the particulars, I agree with what the other commenters have said.

Heidi Meeley said...

Wow. You all make really good points. I am humbled by your words.

I agree that a blog is a personal form of expression, whether it be a diary of sorts, a place to blow off steam, or even an opportunity to practice one's writing skills. I like to think that at times it is all three for me.

The other thing I appreciate about having a blog is a sense of ownership and therefore freedom to say what is important to me. I love what all of you do on your own blogs, and the uniqueness it brings. I can't imagine a world where we all try to be the same and emulate one format.

I guess the blogger in question shouldn't have riled me up, but it is the judgemental mentality that stirs me into a frenzy. I know that putting myself out there is part of the risk I take, but it stinks to have someone feel like they are "better" then me due to whatever reason sticks in their craw.

At any rate, I appreciate the perspectives given here. It is the individual freedom that makes blogging so special and incredible. We are but one of many, and whatever we get out of it is up to us.

Thank you again!

Michileen Martin said...

As a blogger, I feel the kind of mindset you're describing threatened to win me over, but I escaped through the use of self-control. And laser beams.

Here's my own experience, and I can't really say whether or not it applies to the bloggers you're referencing, but it seems likely it's part of it.

You start your blog, and you want visitors. Sure, it's personal, but you want some kind of readership, even if it's just your close friends. You tool around the blogosphere, and you notice a lot of bloggers linking to other bloggers on their blog (can I say blog enough times, let's see). You quickly recognize this as a means with which you can draw in more readers (cause if you comment on a blogger, he's likely to respond and link to you, bringing you more traffic and more likeminded bloggers who will link to you in the future). So, you get caught in this vicious cycle where you're continously checking out other blogs to find out what they're saying, particularly if you're in a rut and don't have a lot of conversations you want to start and so instead bounce stuff off others. Eventually it comes to a point where you're not just critiquing comics, movies, whatever, but other bloggers, and that's when the discussions like "the blogosphere is dead!" or "there are too many bloggers who aren't as smart as me!" come up.

It's a tempting mindset to adopt when you ge to concentrating more on site hits than you do on what you want to write. I think I started going down that road during my early blogging days, but I pulled myself back. Now I only comment on other bloggers if there's some kind of cry for help, or if I genuinely and passionately agree or disagree with something h/she said, and want to start a conversation about it.

Heidi Meeley said...

Michileen- I couldn't agree more. It is tempting to steer your own course within the blogosphere without succumbing to the temptation of "cross-blogging". I know there have been times I have been super tempted to "link blog" to get some fellowship going, but my heart won't let me unless I really feel what the other blogger is saying. It is tempting to go down that road, for sure.

I agree that all bloggers want to get a readership, and definitely have dry patches. It is in that time of wanting to grow that the decision must be made. We just have to step back off that ledge!

Seeing as I don't want to end up that way, and you don't either, I have to give us pats on the back for staying true. I think in the long run it is the only clear decision.

Let's work together to keep the "fellowship" true and pure, you know?

I really appreciated your comments. They were sincere and heartfelt and really rang true.

Mark Fossen said...

I figure a blog is what you make it.

I'm pretentious as hell, myself. I worry a lot about the writing and spelling, grammar, etc .... but that's because that's what I want to do. I like writing for publication, I like the challenge.

I don't expect anyone else to do it, though. Seems like a blog should be what you want it to be.

It is tempting to steer your own course within the blogosphere without succumbing to the temptation of "cross-blogging". I know there have been times I have been super tempted to "link blog" to get some fellowship going, but my heart won't let me unless I really feel what the other blogger is saying.
I've been doing a lot more linkblogging lately, and never though of it as a cry for hits. I just thought maybe the handful of people reading my site might like to see what's going on elsewhere, if they don't already know about it. It makes me feel good to get notice and confirmation from other bloggers I respect ... maybe I can pass that along. Perhaps it's egotistical? I dunno.

Maybe, but in that case, I'd say someone likes the look of their own words on the computer.
Well ... yeah. I do. :)

Heidi Meeley said...

Mark, your first sentence says it all. "A blog is what you make it."

I too am concerned with correct grammar and spelling, if for no other reason then that I extremely anal retentive. :-) I take pride in the fact that I have decent english skills -why not use them?!

As for link-blogging, I have a love-hate relationship with it, as I have above stated. I have a hard time doing it, but I think that if someone brings up a good point or has news of merit, it is just peachy. The thing I don't like is when it becomes all about link-blogging, and the person's own characteristics are lost in the mix.

A blog is a form of free expression, and that is just exactly as it should be. I appreciate your thoughts and agree that it is up to the individual.
What I saw on the blog I visited that prompted this post was a person so self-serving it made me really think about blogging and what it is in general.

I don't think it is at all wrong to want to have a blog that looks nice and presents a good image of the person responsible. On the contrary, I find it quite appealing. I take exception with the person that pronounces judgement on other's for their efforts. The person in question may think their blog looks just swell.

I appreciate your thoughts on this!