Does blogging’s informality drive its formality?

I enjoyed each of the three articles we read. However, the only one I vividly remembered was Sullivan’s “Why I Blog.” Perhaps it was his laid-back tone–a way of representing blogging’s essence– that drew me into the piece. Although I’ve had minimal experience with blogging, I agreed with Sullivan’s description of what defines a blog.

It’s informal.

It’s written quickly.

It incorporates links and images.

As I read through the article, I found myself agreeing to these concepts without a second thought. They’re all pretty basic blogging concepts. I’m pretty we can all agree that blogging’s a tad more informal and can incorporate more technology.

But as I neared the article’s end, I reached one of Sullivan’s points that got me thinking. The haste with which blogs are written creates some interesting (if that’s the right word) effects. Since bloggers must immediately write posts, they don’t have time to become experts in every topic they write about. Sullivan verifies this, saying “A blogger will notice this almost immediately upon starting. Some e-mailers, unsurprisingly, know more about a subject than the blogger does.”

This creates quite a difficult position. Being a writer, a blogger’s job is to convey an idea accurately and effectively. However, to really succeed in the blogging world, these writers must publish their content immediately, running the risk of providing incorrect content for their readers.

Bloggers must be under serious pressure. I mean you’re going out of your way to write something, and someone writes to you saying how much your article sucks.

But as I continued reading the sentence, Sullivan explained the benefits stemming from a blogger with a lack of subject knowledge. “They [people more knowledgable in a field than a blogger] will send links, stories, and facts, challenging the blogger’s view of the world, sometimes outright refuting it, but more frequently adding context and nuance and complexity.” Sure, it sucks to hear that your argument is logically less superior to another, but at the end of the day, this caused you to learn something. More likely than not (as I’m sure you’ll correct your readers) you can make a new post clarifying whatever you learned.

If you held a misconception on an issue, I’m sure that someone else reading your blog did too. In fact, more likely than not, I’m sure a lot of people reading your blog held the same opinion. Herein lies blogging’s strengths: its ability to self-correct. A post leads to a conversation, and a conversation leads to sharing and revising ideas. It’s almost as if a blog post’s “final draft” occurs outside the confines of its words. It’s the sparked conversation that leads to a more thorough understanding of a topic.

And if blogging truly revolves around this self-correcting tendency, doesn’t this informality drive blogging closer to a definition of writing? Since writing intends to express and explain ideas, simply writing a post on a topic opens the door to a vast community that can build and clarify ideas.

As I conclude my first blog post, I won’t lie; I don’t think much of what I’ve said applies to this post. I doubt Sullivan will find this blog, and even if he did, I can’t imagine him needing to clarify my ideas. The point, however, is that he could. Any of you could for that matter. Blogs don’t necessarily need to be corrected. They could, after all, state an all-encompassing, accurate opinion. What’s important is they can be, and knowing that perfection and blogger aren’t the same will help me take more risks throughout the semester.

One thought to “Does blogging’s informality drive its formality?”

  1. Sullivan piece stood out to me the most too. I think it’s maybe because we’re always on the internet and we are always surrounded by blogs, so we relate to it.

    I think the question that you pose is interesting: does blogging’s informality lead it to be a formality? (since it is self correcting as you put it). Maybe because I think it depends on whether your post generates conversation. If it doesn’t then you aren’t receiving feedback so you don’t have any revision material to draw from. But if you are a more famous blogger, then yes I think it leads to something like a formality. Like you said it goes into a part of the writing process.

    I think blogging is a good way to get ideas out there and expand on them. Who knows? A single blog post might turn into an essay.

Leave a Reply