Wednesday, February 04, 2009

blogger

I am a blogger, apparently. Apparently. It's an accident borne of having a blog. On some days, being a blogger is a good thing to be: as when bloggers latch on to a story that fell below the radar of the media. On some days, it's not: as when the expression of inflamed passions go beyond the boundaries of decency.

On most days, I don't even bother at all with the distinction. I have a blog, yes; I feed it with stories, yes; sometimes, the stories are substantial, but more likely they're mundane. What can I say? Keeping a blog is a hobby and an outlet.

But a blogger? Hmmmm.... If I'm ambivalent, it's because there are bloggers and there are Bloggers. There are the folks like me who plug away a few minutes each day at the keyboard because it keeps our writing fingers limber and because it's our way of keeping touch with a small circle of friends. And then there are Bloggers, the superstars whom everyone sees as representatives of blogging at large.

What makes a blogger a Blogger? I'd say it's the following, running into the hundreds and thousands of readers each day. Some have the following because they have something to say and they say it well. Some, because they're entertaining. Some, because they network well. Some, because of their personality and notoriety. It even gets to the point that some Bloggers cultivate their notoriety in order to maintain their following.

With a daily audience in the hundreds and in the thousands, Bloggers can parlay their popularity into cash. What follows is the fever for blog monetization and the incestuous affair with search engine optimization. Make big money from home! Make big money while you sleep! Who can resist such a pitch?

Fame, money, power: can a little bit of madness be far behind? With all the influence they wield within their circle, Bloggers aspire to be media moguls. They formulate new theories, they prognosticate on the future of the medium, they seek to depose traditional media. The battlecry: Out with the Old! In with the New!

Alas, their circle isn't nearly as big as Bloggers think it is. We can't fault Bloggers for their ambition, but surely there's a Flaw in the Plan. And the Flaw? Bloggers are Bloggers because their barriers to entry are low. On closer examination, their infrastructure is nil, their only currency are posts, links, and eyeballs. Posts can be commissioned, links can be bought, and after that, the eyeballs will follow. Fame can be fickle, and when that goes, so too will money and power.

While they can be entertaining to watch, Bloggers ultimately leave bloggers like me in the lurch. There's a point early on at which our motivations and results diverge. My audience is not likely to grow beyond the 20 or so friends who read my blog regularly, nor would I want it to: there's something about that kind of fame that I find creepy. Yes, I monetize my blog but it's not likely to go beyond the pocket change I take in every day; if the price for higher income is the creepy kind of fame, no thanks. While I may occasionally agree with a point that some Bloggers have to make, I don't need -- much less want -- them speaking for me; I can speak my own mind, thank you very much.

Simply put: I don't want to be subsumed into a movement, or lumped into a mass. My blog exists because it's an expression of my voice, no one else's.

I have a blog, but that's all it is. If that makes me a blogger, fine. Just make sure it's spelled with a small letter 'b' because that all I am.

10 comments:

  1. you're putting some lines between the bloggers who just blog for the sake of their personal expressions and Bloggers who blogs as for their careers. And that's pretty obvious nowadays, there's two kind of citizenship in this blogosphere - one for the ordinary ones, and the other, for the professionals.

    Same goes to the real world. I think, since blogging rooted from the highly acclaimed freedom in the cyberspace, we all have opinions to write about same as we all have opinions to talk about. Our products can be bought (as paid advertisements for Bloggers)same as to write ups of the journalists - the professional writers.

    http://fjordz-hiraya.blogspot.com

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  2. sentiments nicely written as always.

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  3. You have very valid points, Dom. But, I hope you do acknowledge that you haven't covered everything here. For one, there are those who blog for a noble purpose, be they bloggers or Bloggers.

    Not all Bloggers think only about monetization. Take Buddy Migs, for example: by your definition, he's a Blogger. But he hardly monetizes his blogs (most of them are on WordPress.com).

    As I keep saying in various fora: let's avoid generalizing.

    Still, your words are very enlightening, Dom. Thanks for this post!

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  4. Bloggers (upper and lower case) get a bad rap from the print media that's rooted in jealously, for the most part, because newspapers and magazines are obsolete. As cliche as it sounds,this really is the way of the future.
    It's doubtful that I'd ever reach the status of being a Big B Blogger.....but it would be nice to make a living while wearing pajamas.

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  5. I am especially leery of people with a Noble Purpose. They are least trustworthy of all.

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  6. dom,

    are we starting a "cause" here?or just voicing out? again such media characteristic is not distinct to blogging/blogs. The main media (noble,advocacy,paid or bought)is also riddled with that.

    what makes blogging unique is its capability to bring such power into the hands of ordinary people like us, bloggers.and it is entirely into the moral responsibility of each of those people to use it according to his needs...

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  7. I made $1.60 on my blog in January. I guess that makes me a little 'b' blogger. :P I'm fairly sure you have a readership closer to 100 than 20 though. I know my mom reads and follows your blog, but never ever comments. :)

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  8. Very well written, Dom.

    Like you I blog to express myself. But although I profess to continue blogging with or without a following, I can't deny the fact that it warms my heart to know that there are people out there not necessarily family and friends who find my posts, or some of them at least, worth reading.

    I dont think I'll ever become a Blogger. But I would like to think that even as a mere blogger I can make a difference no matter how inconsequential.

    Bloggers or bloggers let's just keep on blogging.

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  9. Very well written, Dom.

    Like you I blog to express myself. But although I profess to continue blogging with or without a following, I can't deny the fact that it warms my heart to know that there are people out there not necessarily family and friends who find my posts, or some of them at least, worth reading.

    I dont think I'll ever become a Blogger. But I would like to think that even as a mere blogger I can make a difference no matter how inconsequential.

    Bloggers or bloggers let's just keep on blogging.

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