Does “blogging” equal “sloppily written”?

It always irks me a little when someone throws out a generalisation about blogging, or bloggers, or turns their nose up at the term “blogging” because they feel it somehow demeans their writing.

While I take John Gruber’s point that “the entire… ‘pro blogging’ industry… is predicated on the notion that blogging is a meaningful verb. It is not. The verb is writing. The format and medium are new, but the craft is ancient,” I still wonder at the snobbery some seem to have towards the medium even when they’re publishing using it.

On the Blog Herald today I reported on authors using blogging to promote books and engage with readers. Award-winning author Patrick Ness has decided that he prefers to call his blog a diary because “blogging… to my mind always implies ‘sloppily written'”.

Now, Patrick can call his blog whatever he likes, but I take issue with the notion that any collection of writings assembled together as a blog must by nature be poorly written.

Good and bad writing exists in every medium, be that printed books and magazines, online web sites, forums or blogs.

Perhaps it’s the ability to instantly publish on most blogs, plus the sheer number of them in comparison to other formats, that leads to the overarching perception of low quality. Yet it’s the immediacy and sometimes untidy nature of blogging that should be its greatest charm. Of course there are some highly professional blogs, but there are also many unpolished but passionate sites. They might not win a Pulitzer prize but they’re essentially what blogging’s all about.

5 thoughts on “Does “blogging” equal “sloppily written”?

  1. I do come across blogs that are sloppily written, I even frequent a few because they’re interesting nonetheless. It’s not true of all blogs, though. And I see what you mean about how it shouldn’t be considered any different than “writing,” just because we have a new word for it. In fact, I was a little irked by the term “blog” when it first became commonplace a few years ago. “Do you have a blog?” someone would ask. “Um, no, I have a website that I regularly post commentary on.” I don’t mind the phrase now.

  2. Even being a blogger I tend to agree with the sloppily written stigma, although it doesn’t detract from the value the blogging provides. Like you said, it probably even adds to its value, because of the immediacy of the platform and the sheer volume of material that can be produced.

    Here are my factors that lead to the ‘sloppy writing’ stigma :

    Emerged out of personal journaling style.
    Sheer number of blogs, plus extremely low barriers to entry = a lot of people who aren’t ‘good’ or studied writers.
    Less time and effort is usually spent putting out the average blog post than professional articles.
    Higher cost to produce generally translates in more quality perception even though it doesn’t have to be the reality.

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