"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2

Monday, September 19, 2011

What is blogging?

View from on top of Aspen Mountain - Aspen, CO
Photo by Loree Huebner

I’ve switched posting to Monday, starting today. With the beginning of the new fall season, it’s just easier for me to post on Mondays now. I still will be visiting my favorite blogs during the week.

Also, I'm having trouble commenting on some blogs. For some reason, I can't comment on the blogs without pop up windows. Hopefully this problem will be resolved soon. Thanks for your understanding. 
Now on with this week’s post ~
Last Saturday night, hubby and I went to the movies. We took in a late show, seeing Contagion. This post isn’t about the movie, but a line from it that took me by surprise.
In one part, Jude Law’s character, a freelance writer specializing in conspiracy theories, named Alan Krumwiede, is confronting a research scientist/professor, played by Elliot Gould. The doctor says to him:
Dr. Ian Sussman: “You’re not a writer. You’re a blogger. Blogging is not writing. It's just graffiti with punctuation.”
Whoa! The line blindsided me and it took me a few minutes to digest and process.
Granted that the character does use his blog for his own (I want to insert “selfish” here) gain, but nevertheless, the line set me to wondering—do people really think this about blogging?
“Blogging is not writing. It’s just graffiti with punctuation.”
Apparently, like everything else, there are good and bad reviews about art of blogging. There are many, many blogging communities—news, politics, business, marketing, religion, sports, and entertainment just to mention a few. You name a hobby, there’s a blog about it.
Here in the writing community, blogging is about sharing the writing and the publishing experience, as well as platform building. I think we all support that. We love to celebrate someone’s recent successes—like getting an agent, acquiring a book deal, or just completing the first draft of a manuscript. We support and cheer on as we also climb the same ladder. We encourage and sympathize when someone receives a rejection letter. We post about the ups and downs. That’s life in the blogosphere of the writing community. I like the feeling that I’m not alone when I read a post about the very same thing I’m going through.
I am a writer. Period. And a blogger! Exclamation point! 
I’ve only been blogging for about seven months now. I’ve been reading blogs for several years. I personally think blogging is terrific. And of course, what I read is my choice.
In the writing community, there are some superb blogs filled with a fountain of information about publishing, agents, how to write queries, setting a mood, formatting, character development, research, genres, platform building and branding…something for everyone. I could go on and on. This is what I enjoy reading. I’ve learned so much about craft and the business of writing from reading certain author’s, agent’s and editor’s blogs. There is a wealth of information about the publishing industry for everyone from the novice to the published and beyond. It’s up to you to pick and choose what to read. We have a diverse blogging community of readers, writers, agents, editors, and publishers. How awesome is that?
The real plus about blogging for me is that I’ve met some real great people in the writing community, both authors and readers who visit my blog, and who I visit. It’s more than just “graffiti with punctuation”. I genuinely care about what other authors have to say. I learn great tips from the agents in business. I study the information and the experience we give and receive in our general interest of writing and publication. I find most is helpful in different stages.
Of course, our real lives do occasionally spill over into our blogs as we share a little of our daily grind as a writer juggling parenthood, work, a happy event, an illness, or a loss. I enjoy learning little tidbits about my fellow writers. We give and take. It’s more than “graffiti and punctuation”.
I love it.
What do you really think about blogging? Do you enjoy it? Care to share any good or bad experiences? Do you think it’s necessary for an author to blog?
Below I’ve included quotes that I’ve found on blogging. I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with them. I just found them an interesting read. A few are funny, most are truthful, and several are just—what the heck?
Between you, me and the gatepost,

“I read blogs every day, for all sorts of reasons, but I turn to blogs especially when I want to hear alternative viewpoints — for example, information on a particular medical treatment from the viewpoint of patients receiving it, rather than doctors administering it; reports from the battlefield seen through the eyes of soldiers rather than politicians; thoughts on a particular technology from the standpoint of engineers rather than executives.” (Jim Buckmaster)
“Blogging is good for your career. A well-executed blog sets you apart as an expert in your field.” (Penelope Trunk)
“In at least one way we are atypical bloggers. That’s because we just keep on posting. The typical blogger, like most people who go on diets and budgets, quits after a few months, weeks, or in many cases, days.” (Stephen J. Dubner)
“Blogging is the new poetry of our time!” (Author Unknown)

“Blogging is…to writing what extreme sports are to athletics; more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is in many ways, writing out loud.” (Andrew Sullivan)

“The casual conversational tone of a blog is what makes it particularly dangerous.” (Daniel B. Beaulieu)

“Blogs are whatever we make them. Defining “Blog” is a fool’s errand.” (Michael Conniff)

“Blogging is an art, same as any other method of self-expression. Some are better at it than others.” (Hugh Macleod)

“With 206,675,938 websites and blogs as of March 2010, you should be able to gain understanding of anything.” (Author Unknown)

“Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” (Brian Clark)

“If you love writing or making music or blogging or any sort of performing art, then do it. Do it with everything you’ve got. Just don’t plan on using it as a shortcut to making a living.” (Seth Godin)

“Blogging alone is nothing but a big hamster wheel.” (David Risley)

“And 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.” (Simon Dumenco)
“Without the New York Times, there is no blog community. They’d have nothing to blog about.” (Malcolm Gladwell)
“I sincerely believe blogging can save America.” (John Jay Hooker)
“But there’s a bigger trend I’m seeing: people who used to enjoy blogging their lives are now moving to twitter.” (Robert Scoble)
“People have often described me as a blogger. I generally shy away from the term because, to me, bloggers are boring, self obsessed narcissists who use their website mainly as a means to discuss the inconsequential minutiae of their day to day lives.” (Anonymous writer)
“I believe the term “blog” means more than an online journal. I believe a blog is a conversation. People go to blogs to read AND write, not just consume.” (Michael Arrington)
“When I started writing this blog more than 3 years ago, it was in response to traditional media’s habit of twisting interviews to fit the headlines they wanted to create.” (Mark Cuban)
“The Lazysphere – a working definition – is a group of bloggers who I won’t name by name, but you can spot them a mile away. Rather than create new ideas or pen thoughtful essays, they simply glom on to the latest news with another “me too” blog post.” (Steve Rubel)
“A novice blogger knows he can write about anything. A veteran blogger realizes he shouldn’t.” (Unknown)
“Blogs, social networks, newspapers, any other form of publication – all have social aspects to them. It is a spectrum really, with social networks at one extreme and a 19th century novel at the other. But there’s room for all types of social publishing platforms.” (Richard MacManus)
“Blogs are already moving up market and improving. The term “Professional Blogger” is no longer an oxymoron. Some in the traditional media realize this – ESPN, for example, recently purchased the popular basketball blog TrueHoop.com to complement its other online news offerings.” (Luke Langford)
“A blog is merely a tool that lets you do anything from change the world to share your shopping list.” (Author Unknown )
“Your blog is your unedited version of yourself.” (Lorelle Van Fossen)
“Blogging is not rocket science. It’s about being yourself, and putting what you have into it.” (Author Unknown)
“The personal nature of the blog is what they find appealing.” (Ethan G. Salwen)
“The first thing you need to decide when you build your blog is what you want to accomplish with it, and what it can do if successful.” (Ron Dawson)
“Blogging is hard because of the grind required to stay interesting and relevant.” (Sufia Tippu)
“Blogging is best learned by blogging…and by reading other bloggers.” (George Siemens)
“Yes, blogging is entertainment. It is performance. Each blog post a show, sometimes an opera, sometimes a 30 second commercial. Like a show, it may start with a bang, lead you along from song to song, have a great climatic moment, then leave the audience wanting more.” (Lorelle Van Fossen)
“To be sure, the blogosphere is subject to all of the same risks as the Internet itself. Many blogs are loaded with vanity posts, half-truths, rumors, and even intentional distortions.” (Christopher Cox)
“All bloggers have one faithful reader at least – Google bot.” (Unknown)
“As I have repeatedly written in one form or other, blogging is not about writing posts. Heck, that’s the least of your challenges. No, blogging is about cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with an ever-growing online readership, and that’s hard work.” (Alister Cameron)
“Then some profiles go, ‘for me, blogging cathartic’. Their posts are just a verbal diarrhea.” (Unknown)
“The more popular a person thinks he is in the blogosphere, the thinner his skin and the thicker his hypocrisy. This should be exactly the opposite: the higher you go the thicker the skin and thinner the hypocrisy.” (Guy Kawasaki)
Amongst these, I found a gem:
“Breathe. Know that the Internet has no eraser.” (Liz Strauss)
Have a great week!


Sandra Orchard said...

Oh, I love the Google bot quote. yay, one faithful reader!!! LOL

Keli Gwyn said...

Blogging is a great way for me to meet wonderful people like YOU. =)

Loree Huebner said...

Sandra: I thought that one was funny too.

Keli: Oh you are so sweet! And the same goes back to you.

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Ha! I love "the Internet has no eraser."

It's hard to acccept the changes in our world sometimes, but I think blogging is a huge plus. I like it more than all the other social media. My one regret right now is that I'm so slammed with work (and have been since May) that it's harder to get around. But this will be better by spring.

Anonymous said...

Loree, blogging does take time, but I enjoy the interaction and meeting wonderful people--writers, readers, Christians, and folks who are just curious.

I do believe it's advantageous for writers to blog. Why? It helps us to learn, grow, and share in ways we might never have otherwise. And, though it might not necessarily be the reason we do it, agents/editors do look at potential clients' blogs. They're checking us out, while we in turn are scoping them out, too. :)

So thrilled to have "met" you in the blogosphere! Keep on writing (and blogging!)

Brandi said...

Blogging can be intimidating sometimes, but it's a great way for authors to get their feet wet by sharing their writing with people. It allows us to connect with fellow writers and receive support that isn't readily forthcoming in our everyday lives. We learn from the newbies and the pros. I definitely don't consider it to be graffiti with punctuation. It's a great tool if we handle it with persistence, humility, and a positive attitude.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Blogging absolutely is writing! And it is more than just writing too...it's about connection. Great post, Loree! :)

Heather Sunseri said...

I love those quotes! And I love a quote or line from a movie that stirs up controversy.

I don't know why, but this reminded me of how the boys would claim cheerleading wasn't a real port when I was in school.

Charlotte Sannazzaro said...

I don't think a writer needs to have a blog, but reaching out to others sure makes the journey easier.

Loree Huebner said...

Rosslyn: I loved that last quote too.
I'm in the same fix as you. I wish I could spend more time on my blog. I can only do one post a week right now because I'm pretty slammed with work, family, and writing myself. The one thing remains true - I have found that blogging is a huge plus.
Thank you for stopping in!

Cynthia: I agree with all of your comments. I enjoy the interaction the most. I'm also thrilled to have met you in the blogosphere too.
Thanks for stopping in.

Brandi: Blogging can be intimidating. I still get nervous over writing posts. You're right though, we learn from reading the newbies and the pros blogs. It is a great tool. Thanks for popping by.

Sarah: Blogging is absolutely writing. That line in the movie just troubled me all night. Thanks for coming by and adding your wonderful comment.

Heather: I do like the quotes too. I agree, I love when a line stirs the pot. It sure stirred mine. Can't you tell how much that line bothered me? Ha! I was fuming. It gave me something to write about.
As always, thanks for coming by and commenting.

Loree Huebner said...

Charlotte: Absolutely true! Connecting with other writers makes the journey easier.
Thanks for coming by!

Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, I had no clue people actually tried to define blogging. lol I have to say, I love that line and I also happen to think Graffiti has it's own type of beauty.
Interesting post, Loree.
Since I've been blogging for a while now, I guess I must like it alot. :-)

Marji Laine - Unravel the Mystery said...

I identified with a couple of the quotes. Especially the one about the novice thinking he can write about anything and the veteran knowing he shouldn't. So true.

Loree Huebner said...

Jessica: I totally agree that graffiti has it's own type of beauty. I've seen some real talent.

Marji: I think that one about the novice and the veteran blogger is so true!

Jessica and Marji, thanks for chiming in!

Deana said...

I think blogging is awesome and very helpful. I think those who don't think so don't utilize it to there benefit.

Loree Huebner said...

Deana: I'm in agreement there! Thanks for popping by!

Jess said...

One quote that caught my eye is that some bloggers are moving their personal stuff to Twitter. I can see how that might be true~ it's another form of expression. I don't really have strong feelings one way or the other about blogging~ obviously I enjoy it, but I do it for the sense of community as much as for dispensing information/my opinions. I love the writing blog community!

T.O. Geezer aka ~Ron said...

I'm not a writer or the son of a writer. My blog is just a fun pass time for me. It's a place were I can interact and encourage fellow bloggers from around the world.

God bless and have a great week :-)


troutbirder said...

Blogging is writing. Carefully writing is requires thinking. An increasingly rare commodity is today call in & Tweeted AM radio world.
As to commenting try not to leave the check mark checked (keeps you signed in) when you sign in to your blog. :) At least it helped me with a similar commenting problem.

Loree Huebner said...

Jess: I can tell you love blogging. I do see more personal stuff on Twitter lately.

Geez: You do have a fun blog! I really enjoy your posts.

troutbirder: I'm in total agreement...I really like what you said about carefully writing requires thinking. I think we're all great thinkers!

Thanks for the tip on the check mark.

Jess, Geez, and trout - thanks for stopping in!

Stacy Henrie said...

Interesting perspective about blogging being graffiti with punctuation.

I enjoy blogging and I think it definitely counts as "writing." I like when authors I enjoy have a blog and I get to know more about them and their writing process/journey etc.

Loree Huebner said...

Stacy: I do enjoy blogging too. It counts as writing like you said. I totally agree on your last comment. It's been a real pleasure getting to know you and many others on the same writing journey! Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Jayne said...

Graffiti with punctuation--yikes. The fact that blogging was even mentioned in a movie is very encouraging news. I think it legitimizes bloggers as writers. And indeed we are, regardless of the content.

Great post, Loree. I've got to see that movie. ;)

Damyanti said...

So many definitions! I didn't know you could define blogging so many ways...to me it is fun and interaction :)

Join me at the Rule of Three Writers' Blogfest!

Loree Huebner said...

Jayne: YAY! You know, I was so upset about the line that I didn't think of it as legitimizing us bloggers as writers. Thanks for pointing that out. Got to get my nose back in joint. Thanks for coming by, Jayne.

Damyanti: I feel the same way about blogging...fun and interaction. Thanks for stopping in.

Gwendolyn Gage said...

I disagree with the statement that blogging is "graffiti with punctuation". He's obviously reading the wrong blogs. To me, blogging is an important tool. It's a way to connect with other writers, and way to get my work noticed and build a platform that will attract the attention of both readers and publishers.

Loree Huebner said...

Gwen: Well said, Gwen!