I knew it was only a matter of time before I'd open the paper and read an article like this. Newspaper columns like these I strongly object for a variety of reasons, mostly because they trivialize blogging, whether intentionally or not, describing it as though it's little more than the latest craze for young people. The first website mentioned, for God's sake, is described in terms that render it little more than an approximation of a low-rent Elle or Cosmopolitan magazine feature. Those not in the know might assume we bloggers talk exclusively about cutesy fashion tips or sure-fire ways of making sure our cuticles are perfect. The reality is not nearly as easily defined. This knowledge, I realize, will not be news to my regular readers or active participants in the nebulously-defined endeavor we called collectively deem "the blogsophere" but in the odd chance someone new to the parade reads what I have to say, please let me set the record straight.
Maybe this is merely common sense, but as Voltaire famously put it, "Common sense is not so common." The egalitarian format of the web provides a wealth of different kinds of blogs in a staggering variety of genres ranging from the ever-popular emotional vomit type, to Mommy blogs which obsessively document the lives of the writer's children, to the fashion tip modern day Emily Post sorts, to blogs which showcase a person's art, to the kind of citizen journalist/social commentary blogs of which this is an example. One of the strengths of the internet is that it is, as yet, unregulated and so it's truly a medium of the people.
The reality, however, and call me a snob if you wish (I've certainly been called far worse) is that They The People often have very little to say of substance. As anyone who has browsed the internet for any length of time at all, the challenge is not finding a wealth of information, the challenge is instead sorting through the copious amount of crap in order to find the proverbial rose in the garden of weeds. The relative ease of blogging opens up the internet to anyone, and this more often than not invites any yahoo with a computer and/or a digital camera to spill his/her guts all over the monitor. Sometimes the results are fantastic and deeply thought-provoking, often they induce little more than yawns.
I have a bone to pick with the writer of this article. Several bones, actually. My first criticism is in references to a particular assertion in the text of the article.
...Young Adults are joining a national trend of posting thoughts and ideas in hope of making a difference and/or making enough money to call it a career.
Most blog authors who I interact with on a regular basis, indeed, the ones that you will find linked to this blog are usually several years older than me. The reality, take it how you will, is that most people my own age and younger do not "blog" in any conventional sense. If they do, they likely use their blogs for largely masturbatory activities like the sort described above, or worse yet as a template for emotionally overwrought confessionals--little more than a high-tech journal. Some of us have hopes to make money by blogging, but so far, paid positions are rare. Those who make money off their blog either a) advertise copiously on their site or b) have the connections and luck necessary to get a job writing at the handful of heavily-visited sites. As it stands now, this blog features no advertising for a reason. I'm opposed to it on principle and I also understand quite well that a relatively low-traffic site like mine would not produce much income from ad placement.
The article does get it right when it mentions that many of us want to make a difference. That I can get behind, though I do make a point to qualify that I never forget to remind myself that my relative scope is fairly limited. Small potatoes blogs like this one average twenty hits a day and most of those visits are by members of an adoring core audience. To me, the real thrill in this exercise is making an impact on a few people who I love and who love me in return. This family atmosphere would be compromised, if not made far more difficult if I hit the big time, so to speak.
Yet, if you spoke to most of us, we'd like nothing better than to be one of the big boys. Count me as someone not holding my breath.