blog and the city

right after i’d written the cult of the gate-crasher post i found an op-ed video of sorts made for the wall street journal by scott karp, responding to the question of whether bloggers can be journalists, and i’ve been following him since.

today i just saw this very interesting piece he wrote: Should Newspapers Become Local Blog Networks? among a lot of other thought-provoking things, he writes:

“The word “blog” has way too much baggage — it’s too often equated with opinion. But a blog is just a content management system, and you can use it to publish shrill opinion, or you can use it to publish traditional journalism…or you can use it to publish journalistic reporting with a bit more point of view.”

he’s totally right. the word blog does have a lot of baggage, and i personally refuse to carry it even though i actually even have… you know… one of those things. i practically never say the word, and i certainly don’t think of myself as a “blogger.” (don’t take it personally, i went to burningman when i was 18, and am inextricably enmeshed in the burningman community in l.a., yet i refuse to say i’m a “burner” either. i’m equal opportunity when it comes to defining the difference between something i do, and who i am.)

what i am is a writer. and there happen to be quite a few other writers out there, with the same sort of approach to articulating a combination of insight and opinion, and publishing their writing using the same kind of content management system that i do. a blog IS just a content management system, and lumping all the people who use the same system into one category, rather than actually examining the difference in the content being produced, is kind of ridiculous.

in a lot of instances a blogger (that is, the content creator, not the system user in this case) is nothing different from what has traditionally been called a “columnist.” you know… opinionated and personal, yet creating something informative and entertaining enough to get to see the light of print. i mean… look at the layout of a blog! they all even LOOK like a column. there may be a nation of blogges out there who all use the same sort of content management system, but i think i’ll claim my allegiance to the nation of columnists.


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