Bloggers who aren't

The Atlantic blogger, Marc Ambinder, started the week with a farewell to blogging. He’s staying with the company but writing as a reporter for both print and online products. I hate this, but I have to say good riddance.

Marc’s farewell is curious, to say the least, and reveals something I’ve been discovering of late. The “bloggers” who are leaving the blogosphere probably were never really bloggers in the first place. Ambinder, for example, waxes on from a traditional journalist perspective about how “good print journalism is ego-free” and how print journalists “are not primarily known for their identities. They are primarily known for their work.”

Right.

What Marc is really complaining about is being a print journalist in spirit forced to pretend to be a blogger.

He adds, “the standard for defining oneself as a web journalist depends upon establishing a certain credibility with a particular audience of critics. Responding to complaints about content and structure and bias is part of the way one establishes that credibility.” This is pure nonsense, because it comes from the perspective that blogging can be a journalist’s “job.” I blog to challenge my assumptions and have written many times that bloggers blog, because they have something to say, not because they’re paid to say something. This was Marc’s curse. He speaks of faking it when he says “I will no longer be compelled to turn every piece of prose into a personal, conclusive argument, to try and fit it into a coherent framework that belongs to a web-based personality called “Marc Ambinder” that people read because it’s “Marc Ambinder,” rather than because it’s good or interesting.”

I’m sorry, but if that’s the way he feels, Marc Ambinder never was a blogger, and all his departure from the blogosphere does is make room for somebody who really is. Unfortunately, the mainstream press has infiltrated and, in some ways, taken over the blogosphere, even though they don’t really understand it. They see reach/frequency, but there’s an insincerity disguised as transparency that threatens to destroy the rich history and language associated with the form. This is especially disconcerting, because many regular bloggers of “the day” have taken to Twitter and other platforms in the real time stream, and their blogging has suffered as a result.

Or perhaps the spirit of the blogger lives on in Twitter. Regardless, Marc Ambinder’s apologetic carries the caveat: consider the source.

Comments

  1. Sigh. You’re right, Terry. Some people have the blogging “spirit” and always will – other don’t, and sometimes it’s pretty obvious.

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