It’s not exactly news that the art of journalism and journalism as a career has been on the decline for a number of years now. The fact is that the Internet has lowered our tolerance for well-written, comprehensive pieces of writing. We’re a part of generation that takes in information 140 characters at a time (Twitter) or in small doses (Tumblr). The concept of brevity has taken on a whole new form. What it means to be a journalist or a writer is something quite amorphous in present day. Of course, good writing, the level of writing we’d expect from a true journalist hasn’t altogether disappeared. Sure we might want to consume our news in the form of RSS reads, but when you’re looking for something in depth or opinionated, the importance of the journalist/writer hasn’t faded. This has gotten me thinking about what it means to blog.
There’s been a fairly active debate over the past couple of years in regard to whether bloggers should be held up to the same standards as a journalist. Do we expect bloggers to uphold the same level of grammatical correctness, cited source material, and general writing ability as we expect from a journalists or professional writers? My answer after having been an active blogger for a number of months now is that it depends. For me a blog is just simply a platform. We live in a time were there is a large number of publishing platforms that anyone can use to get their word out to the public. WordPress, Typepad, Blogger, Twitter, Sbtvle and any other number of online publishing platforms are available to practically anyone. You can hold a blogger up to the same expectations as a journalist if that is what the blogger is striving for. A blog doesn’t have to be formal though. I’ve noticed that I have a spectrum of formality in terms of where each of my blog posts falls. Whereas some of my posts are relatively short, quick, and informal, some of them tend to be much longer and written in the mindset of the writing of formal article or whatever it may be. You can be a blogger and be a true writer/journalist, but you can also be someone who is just looking discuss and put your opinion out there. It all depends and expectations have to be in line with the intentions of the writer. When all is said and done, writing is an art form. It’s something that can and is taught, but it’s also something that is free. A platform is a platform and a blogger is just a term for someone who writes online. How a blogger defines him/herself is what should set the expectations.