Interesting piece over at AdAge by Simon Dumenco titled a blogger is just a writer with a cooler name where he argues that blogs are just websites and that there shouldn’t really be as much focus on it (found via Adrants). He explains it better.
‘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. Even though I tend to first use Microsoft Word on the way to being published, I am not, say, a Worder or Wordder.’
I have twin reactions to his article:
1. I guess one could extend his argument in lots of directions and say there is no such thing as a columnist, a webmaster, a newspaper journalist etc. All are writers. But the thing is that people like to classify people and as long as they do this there will be some sort of natural naming of such things as blogging. While I think Simon makes some valid points I don’t have a problem with using the word blog to describe a type of website or for people who run those websites to refer to themselves as bloggers.
2. On the flip side I’ve argued on numerous occasions that bloggers should not not be too narrow in their focus and only see themselves as ‘bloggers’. I believe this for a number of reasons:
• Blogs ARE Websites – When it comes down to it Blogs are just one of many different varieties of websites. Yes there are things we can say that might define a blog as different but when it comes down to it they are fundamentally websites.
• Positioning for the Future – Blogging does have an element of ‘cool’ about it at present but the next ‘cool’ thing is never far away. To set position yourself too strongly and narrowly as a blogger could mean you position yourself out of the market in the future.
• Competition – Some bloggers get sucked into thinking that their only competitors are other bloggers. The fact is that on virtually every niche topic that I can think of that there are loads of non-blog type sites out there providing content on the same topic. The niches I compete in (with the exception of ProBlogging) are dominated by non-blog-like sites. For me to only consider the blogging world would be foolish.
• Most readers don’t care – I’ve surveyed some of the readers on one of my other blogs recently and found that most of them had no idea what a blog is. Some said that they’d never read one (despite the fact that they read my blog every week). Marketing yourself as a blog might appeal to some readers – but in the scheme of things the majority of them just don’t care. What they want is content that is helpful, relevant, informative and/or entertaining.
• Insularity of Blogosphere – I’m half expecting to be shot down in flames for this one but I wonder if in defining ourselves solely as ‘bloggers’ whether we run the risk of isolating ourselves from the wider web community. In the last year I’ve purposely extended my networking beyond bloggers and have learned so much by doing so and have developed some productive relationships with non-bloggers as a result. I’ve also found that bloggers have a certain reputation among some other webmasters – a reputation of being snobs and elitists. While I don’t agree with this assessment I do see where it comes from and wonder whether a time will come where bloggers will need to interact more outside of the blogging space.
Now I can see the irony in someone like me writing the above five points. Here I am as someone who has strongly positioned myself as a ‘blogger’, who writes for the blogging community writing that perhaps we need a change of direction.
I will say that there ARE times when I think it’s smart to position yourself as a blogger but that you should do so with the above in mind.
Read more on this topic at Blogs as Blogs or Websites