Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison

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Beware the Blog

I love to blog and to comment on other people’s blogs. I’ve been doing it for years, and right now I am blogging at least once daily. Sometimes I struggle with other people’s blogs, and sometimes I am a bad blogger myself. I’ve thought about the this and offer some observations on the challenges of blogging.

** Blogs are too short for the topics presented
There are some topics in the world are VERY complicated, with lots of viewpoints and “facts” floating around. These topics stir emotions, and it is no surprise that people choose to blog on the topics. Unfortunately a blog cannot present or address all the viewpoints of a complex, controversial topic. The comments on such a blog will be diverse, and often off topic relative to the blogger’s preferences.

** Blogs are emotional
Don’t be surprised if blog comments get ugly fast. A commentary blog will draw opinions that either support the blog’s position, fight the blog’s position, use the blog’s position to talk about something similar but different (straw man), or use the blog’s position as an excuse to poke people in the eye.

** Blogs are biased, get a second (or third) opinion!
Blogs are biased because they are a reflection of the bloggers who write them. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but this does puts reader in the position to do a sanity check the information presented. I recently ran into this. There were several blogs about communication. I sensed a biased view, one that was smaller than the big topic being presented, but did not have a fully vetted frame of reference to say much. I had to check my priviledge! I ended up asking two people who had fully informed frames of reference, and found out that I was mostly correct in my reading of the blog.

** Blogs preach to the choir
Blogs are sometimes meant for a very select audience, one that agrees with the blogger. Blogs can be written to speak to a specific culture or sub-group. This works well when the blog is on a personal blogging site, and people who see it are those who frequent the site and share an opinioin base. In this day and age a blog is often blog is set free amongst the believers and unbelievers. A blog written for the “choir” is often short, emotional and biased. These blogs assume the audience knows the facts and agrees with the sentiment. These blogs are challenging to talk around because the frame work does not support good discussion.

** Blogs can be dead wrong
A blog’s “Facts” and statistics can be dead wrong, or wrong enough to invalidate them from meaningful conversation. Remember that there are three kinds of liars: liars, outrageous liars, and experts (credited to Robert Griffin). Most of the time bloggers don’t mean to be a liar. It does happen, especially when facts and statistics are borrowed from other sources. Other times blogger cherry-pick their facts. They aren’t wrong, but they don’t represent the big world. If you are reacting to a blog, and question the facts presented, than by all means check them out. You may find that there are three sides to the argument: theirs, yours, and the larger truth.

** Blogs can be traps – beware!
My lovely wife preaches this one. Some blogs are out-and-out trolling traps set to snare the unwary. Other blogs are there to feed the ego of the blogger. Treasure the sincere blogs and be very wary of the blogs that help no one, except perhaps the blogger!

** A shared blog is problematic – the original poster is missing from the conversation
This is a personal sore point for me. I’ve shared blogs before. A person says something I agree with and I want to share it with like minded people. This becomes problematic when the blog has one of the shortcomings I’ve already shared. The shared blog may be too short, biased, have questionable facts, or so on. The original blogger is not available to answer questions or clear up what is being said what / where / when. This can stop a good commenting conversation in its tracks when a critical point can only be addressed by the original blogger.

** A meme is not a blog
This is another personal sore point for me. A meme, a picture that presents a position / statement, embodies all the possible pitfalls of blogging: too short, often emotional, preaching to the choir, biased, questionable facts, BIG TRAPS, and the original meme creator is often, far far away from the resulting fire storm.
Tags: blog, challenges

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