What's in a name?

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The price of fame, in blogland, appears to be nasty comments. At least that’s what some visitors, the minority it would seem, to Naked Blog take it to be. Peter rightly points out that it is his writing that is the key element of his site, but I’m not sure that the following statement is quite what he means.

“the medium would descend to a money-making racket, then I wouldn’t have championed it so vociferously over the aeons.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to second guess a Bloggies Lifetime Achievement nominee but there seems to be a growing view that you either blog for pleasure, for the aesthetic if you will, or you are a whore to the green mistress that rules us all. The more I think about it, the more I begin to wonder if that isn’t exactly what is going on at the moment.

On one side you have the hobbyist blog. The traditional, grass-roots publishing side of things where, largely (putting small amounts from adverts aside), the key element is the publishing of posts on whatever topic takes the author’s fancy.

Contrasting that you have the “pro” blog. Usually topic-focussed (specialised), and aiming to have a large readership to ensure the revenue generated by adverts is maximised. Includes blogs that rely solely on advertising or sponsorship to survive.

Too simplistic? Well have a look at a blog, any blog you like, and try and apply the ‘rules’ above. I warrant you’ll be able to decide which camp it belongs to pretty easily.

I’m not arguing for/against any blog, what you do with your blog is up to you dearest reader. I just think that, as blogs permeate further into the media and society in general, it’s better for those who blog (that’s us) to take a look at these things and offer some suggestions. What I think we really need is a new word.

I think both ‘sets’ of bloggers would benefit from a new term in the blog lexicon that offers us a way to categorise a blog along the simplistic lines I’ve mentioned above. We already have the term “blog” and I’d suggest that is kept for the hobbyist (although as we are the ones without the money I’m not entirely sure we get to decide!). So we need a new word for the professional blog.

Except we already have one, a quick search for problog brings plenty of results. However I think this is still missing a trick as it doesn’t account for the ‘non-corporate’ professional bloggers (Kottke, Dooce… umm… are there any others??) but I think I can live with that. There are always a few sites that bend the rules.

This site is, and will remain, a blog. A means to publish whatever zips across my radar. A way to keep in touch with a large number of interesting people whom I’ve never met. Something that keeps my interest. A hobby.

Well this has sparked an interesting set of topics, not to mention a couple of very well thought out emails. There are a few other comments over at mike’s place which add to the discussion as well.

To close this out I thought I’d post a copy of the comment I made over there (hey if he can do it..)

Kettle fish etc..

Having re-read my own post a few times, and thought about some comments, and emails as well, I can see why some would think I was saying that X is “more worthy” than Y. That wasn’t the intention.

My background is communications. A key part of that is the seemingly simple matter of using common terminology. GETTING simple terminology out of a complex topic, like blogging, is nigh on impossible.

So, you take the mix of ‘what is a blog’ and distill it down as far as possible. I still think you can categorise ANY blog as either PRO (for money) or PERSONAL (not for money).

You are right that blogs are just “websites with reverse-chronological dated posts”. Couldn’t agree more. So maybe I should have focussed on the author, the motivation behind the blog.

Do I think that one particular type of blog is “more worthy” than another? Define “worthy”. OK, I’m being argumentative… in short, no I don’t.

I read political blogs, web design blogs, blogs about people’s lives, blogs about people’s football teams, blogs about music, movies, books… etc etc.

They are all blogs. The motivation behind them may be different.

I THINK that’s the point I was trying to make (but I’m backtracking a bit).

The next question is WHY categorise at all?

Simple answer? Don’t. There is no need. It was just something I was thinking about (and that I thought might spark a few comments). I certainly wasn’t getting “all het up about it” or anything. Far too unhealthy an attitude if you ask me.

As mike (as usual) succinctly puts it “Live and let live. Peace and love.” Well said, that man, well said.