Saturday, April 30, 2005

As a fan of alliteration, gotta love this post... for the content? Not so sure.

Shai Coggins outlines 5 types of "Bogus Blogs" in this list, and cleverly finds a way to create the following alliterative descriptions:

Fictitious (Written in the voice of a character)
Fake (Either dishonest marketing blogs or even spam blogs)
Forged (Ghostwritten blogs)
Fiction (Just like it sounds: someone publishing their fiction via blog)
Felony (Blogs used for phishing or to spread viruses.)

Here's my issue.

I think it's uncalled for to lump all the above types of blogs in this cute little alliterative bundle that pretty much put them on the same level...and starts out by calling them Bogus Blogs. Adding a little question at the end doesn't mitigate the overt accusation. And I think the five types listed above are vastly different.

First of all, for the life of me I can't imagine what quibble anyone would have with someone publishing their fiction online. Doesn't everyone extol the virtues of blogs as the great democratizers and perfect for self-publishing? Oh, did people only mean self-publishing of their personal political rants? (Which frankly can also often be fictitious!)

Second: turn your nose up all you like at ghostwriting, but then turn your nose up at every speech ever given by someone prominent...and not just major politicians. My aunt is a speechwriter for the head of the AARP. Yes, my artsy, Jewish, white female aunt writes for a black man. And turn your nose up at quarterly financial conference calls, and quotes in press releases and countless other ways that people get writing assistance. Just recently a company wrote a quote for me for an impending press release. I did tell them that one phrase didn't sound like something I would say, and they changed it. But is this truly a forgery? Forgery implies a criminal act done without the signer's knowledge.

Third: can we allow people to be as creative and fun and entertaining with their blogs if they are upfront about it and it causes no harm? Isn't the problem with the Licoln Fry site that they tried to pretend it was serious? What if there had been a big Advertisement disclaimer at top and bottom? What if the 'About' paragraph has said: "This is a blog built for your entertainment by McDonalds. Have fun." how is this different from the advertorial inserts in every magazine you get? I'm not say enjoy particularly this kind of tool, but really how do most of the above-described situations equate with blogs that are used for comment spamming and phishing?

I'm a little over the high-horse dictatorial pronouncements from people who think they own the blog ethos. I'm perfectly OK with Steve Rubel thinking, for example, that character blogs are a "waste of time." He's a marketeer; that's his marketing opinion. but for people to cast aspersions on some of this stuff reeks of arrogance and insularity.

Some people don't want to acknowledge that blogging is a tool and technology. It is not a state of mind. once again I can find a post from Shel Holtz that articulates my feelings on this topic.

We're going to be talking about this in my panel at BlogHer entitle $$ and Sense. And I expect Toby Bloomberg will have lots to say on the matter.

Hmmm... I'm not quite sure if you misunderstood my article or just completely missed my point. The title of the article is actually "5 Types of Bogus or Non-reality Blogs" --- and I realise that there's a difference. Also, I was just trying to point out the subtle differences between these types of blogs. I didn't think I was being accusatory or judgmental. In fact, the only one that's clear-cut wrong for me are the ones I called "Felony Blogs". I'm also a little bit put-off by "Fake Blogs" - esp. the spam types. But otherwise, I believe that there's a place on the blogosphere for the other three types I mentioned.
I didn't miss your point, but I think a lot of people will. I don't think the impact of your article is quite as non-judgmental as you think, because of your language choices.

"Tolerable" is surely faint praise. "Bogus" is surely pejorative. And I would totally disagree that there is only a "fine line" between phishing or spam blogs and some of the other types.

You never explicitly say: these are OK, and these are clearly wrong, so because you stick to the objective listing of their attributes, under one list, it does lump all those types together.

IMHO of course :)
Elisa, you've hit on something very important. The labels/names people are applying to these alternative forms of blogs quite often have pejorative connotations that perpetuate negative stereotypes. I personally am pretty tired of the phrase "fake marketing blog" as though fake and marketing are joined at the semantic hip. Not all marketing blogs are fake or dishonest -- many are quite good, even excellent. And a fake blog could just as easily be created by an individual to advance a personal agenda. Looking forward to your session at BlogHer.
Actually, thanks for bringing up that point Susan. I don't think Shai is one of those who equates Marketing with Dishonest.

But plenty of bloggers pretty much do.
Point taken. But yes, that's the thing with my "work site" --- I have to find a balance between being subjective and objective at the same time. Not an easy task in some cases. And yes, I don't equate marketing with dishonest. Thanks.
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