Recently, I caught sight of this picture floating around the Internet, and it admittedly ruffled this little robin’s feathers:
I retrieved this picture from buzzfeed.com, but it’s all over the internet.
Now, I have censored out the language for propriety’s sake, but what I really took issue with was the last sentence or two: “Bloggers aren’t real writers.”
At the risk of opening myself up to criticism, I’d like to address this viewpoint, because it seems to be shockingly commonplace among most non-bloggers. As a writer who has picked up blogging as a hobby, I find that this acid view of blogging is overly simplistic and based in ignorance rather than truth. I seek to dispel at least some of that ignorance with this post.
#1: All Bloggers Are Not Identical
One cannot categorize “bloggers” as one solid group of people with one fixed set of interests, methods, and talents. That’s like saying “all fruits taste the same” or “all sneakers fit the same on everybody’s feet”–it’s simply not true. People blog about all sorts of things, and they blog in various ways; some use mainly pictures, some use video, and some, like myself, use mainly text to get their point across.
I could potentially understand this person’s perspective if all bloggers just used visual media as their posts; visual media does not require as much text editing and revising. But not all bloggers use pictures and video to the exclusion of all else. I’m a prime example, and I know plenty of other bloggers who produce text-heavy posts as well. Given that, how is text blogging not real writing, when it is primarily carefully-chosen words?
#2: Text Blogging Forces More Careful Editing
Blogging is a time-sensitive form of writing, produced on a schedule and conforming to content demands as well as formatting and time demands. What kind of writing does that sound like? Journalism! And, while blog articles are not always the highest of art forms, producing a good blog article DOES require a certain ruthlessness and discernment in one’s writing and editing process, which most if not all types of writers can benefit from.
For instance, I’ve noticed that I’ve become a much more concise, word-conscious writer since I began my blog in January 2011–I used to go on for days about a topic, and now I can condense that into a paragraph or two and get my point across much better. Blogging has forced me to reevaluate my writing style, and has helped me cut out some of the unnecessary verbosity as I revise and edit. My paragraphs are shorter and feel more “zingy” as a result.
Given this, how is blogging not real writing, when it requires the same amount (or often more) of typing, editing, and revising that I did while working toward my English major in college?
#3: Blogging = Written Communication = WRITING
Blogs, even and especially text-heavy blogs, communicate ideas between people, break news, and invite discussion, much as TV news stations and newspapers do. How is this not real writing, when all of these tasks are precisely what writing was first designed to do? People have been using writing as communication for over a millennium now, at least, and many forms of writing have since developed. Text-based blogging, while relatively new to the literate scene, is just as viable as any other form.
I don’t know for certain, but I have a feeling that the creator of this particular image categorizes “writing” as “creative writing” or “expository writing” only–basically, that “real writing” is only telling a fictional story or getting across an academic point. Unfortunately, that is like saying that “carrots and onions are the only real vegetables, and everything else you grow in your garden is a fake veggie;” it is a perspective that ignores every other opinion or fact as “invalid” except its own narrow, opinionated view. Writing is not only for creativity nor just for arguing points of opinion; it is also for communicating facts and discussing points, which bloggers do quite well.
I don’t claim that text blogging is the be-all and end-all form of writing, but it does take time and patience to craft and complete well-thought-out articles, and it does take discipline and dedication to produce such articles on schedule every day or every week. It is no different from the other forms of writing out there, which have similar mental requirements.
Additionally, if this person and others like him/her believe blogging is so stupidly easy, I would challenge them to try keeping up a daily text-only blog for about 6 months, coming up with original articles (about 500-1000 words apiece) and fresh perspectives every day. I think their experience would teach them quite a bit about how blogging IS “real writing” if done in this way.