Simon Dumenco has a column in AdAge magazine entitled A Blogger Is Just A Writer With A Cooler Name, which takes issue with what he feels is the trumped up division between blogging and just plain old writing. “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,” he says. Bloggers just want to think of themselves as something different because it’s cool, Simon says. Others agree.
Simon has a point — although I think it’s stretching it to say bloggers are writers with a cooler name, since the word “blogger” is actually pretty stupid (thanks a lot Jorn). Writing is writing, whether done on a blog, or in a newspaper, or at a magazine. Just different lengths, different deadlines, different styles. Some use their blogs as a platform for ranting, and some use their newspaper columns for the same thing. Some blogs do better reporting that the Times.
It doesn’t do anyone any good to play up the divisions between the two, nor does it serve any purpose — as Simon notes — for the Times or anyone else to make a big deal out of what is a blog and what isn’t. At the same time, however, I wouldn’t want to erase the divisions entirely, because what makes a blog different from traditional media is important. In a nutshell, that difference is interaction — which turns plain old writing into something Amy Gahran calls “conversational” media.
And that is something the traditional media could stand to learn a little more about, a point I was trying to make in the post just before this one as well. Steve Rubel is right — it isn’t just writing, it’s a dialogue.