Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Blogging for the ages

Susan M. Schultz, a poet , small press publisher and author of the excellent Tinfish Editor's Blog, has an interesting post where she speculates about the objective criteria that might eventually form when we discuss evaluate blog writing. She considers the misgivings critics and readers with a strong prejudice for print have over the alacrity of opinion that speed our way in the wake of a book publication, a political event, a contention over public policy; the writing is called "too bloggy", changing the term into a negative, with the implication being that blog writing will the death of English prose with it's surfeit of drifting diction, under-researched opinions, breezy informality and, worst of all, the erasure of the reflective pause between what's been witnessed and one's response to it.

The "considered opinion " is near extinct the conservative scribes among us insist. "Response", an analysis of a subject's contents, assertions and a presentation of counter assertions, is replaced with "reaction", too often the knee jerk variety, with an in-extractable reliance on hearsay, received opinions, gossip, fear monger, walled off world views. Not a pretty sight. Schultz thankfully does not let the matter rest on a casual bemoaning on the lack of standards for bloggers; we will and are creating the standards that will have standards the lot of us will be expected to aspire to, regardless of a blog's focus, political, literary, popular culture. The standards will be in place because, I suspect, the lot of us want to be read again and again , certainly more than the once-over.

The forlorn yearning for immortality remains strong even with the whiplash pace of internet news cycles. She list 8 salient points she suggests for what a readable, well considered blog should have. I think it's a good place to start as bloggers start turn professional.The blunt fact awaiting those who actively demean blogging is that at the end of the day blogging is writing above all else. One needn't wax too generally about the history of how new technologies changed the character of writing--the invention of the printing press made the book a public commonplace and made for writing that was for the general reader, not the entombed specialist, priest or benign dictator. The emphasis of writing had changed, of course, but it was writing all the same, professional writing this time, in popular genres, for a growing audience, and there was the inevitable turn in the elitist thinking that there was simply nothing they could do to put the genie back in the bottle and instead accepted the inevitability of movable type, books and a growing literate population.
Blogs, whether we like it or not, mean more writers, and as with all else that has come before, critical terms and criteria are still being formed--the best will remain , the rest will fade, simply vanish. We all know that not everything published in print form initially are sentences without peer; most books chew the root, to be honest. The same for blog writing, I think, and we're already seeing standards form bloggers will be held accountable to.