Is blogging journalism?

I’ve ranted on an on about this in the past, but over the years I’ve complained that the vast majority of bloggers are simply too unprofessional to claim themselves to be anything but the incompetent tea boy (or girl) of a press room. (There are of course, exceptions that prove the rule!)

Yet, the question keeps coming back at me time and time again.

In a recent interview for an as yet unpublished paper, I was asked the following:

Even though you are working in what many see as a journalistic medium, you do not consider yourself a journalist. Why is this? Why do you think that blogging is not a form of journalism?

Now I put the question to you. Is blogging journalism? If it’s not, why not?

It’s not about the result but how you play the game…

kind-of-person Life is a funny old thing. It really is. Some people blame life for everything. Some just accept it. It’s how we take the cards that are dealt to us in life and use them which separates us from each other.

For an old cynic like me it’s easy to sit back and make scathing commentaries on life and people. It just so happens that tonight I’m in the mood to.

In my experience there are 3 main types of people, or even bloggers if you want to make that comparison (of course there a shades of gray in between, but for arguments sake lets say there are 3.)

  1. Some people just exist. They plough through monotonously day by day, going through the same old, same old. They never look back on what yesterday was and they never expect a better tomorrow.

    They can often be found bemoaning things, or simply lacking the luster to move forward in any direction. Finding 5 cents under the couch when hovering may be the highlight of their week.

  2. Some people would like to live life. They would like to reach out, to broaden their horizons and their experiences. Yet, they fail to embrace it because they are always worried about something. What will other people think? How does this make me look? What happens if I don’t succeed? What happens if I do succeed, will I be able to handle it?

    This kind of person is very often envious of type 3, and will talk bad about type 1 and 3 people, because type 1 are too boring to know and type 3 have achieved that which they crave so badly but never will achieve.

    These people are often found living with lots of travel brochures and other paraphernalia in their homes, but have never ventured further than the local Walmart (or Tesco’s for those on my side of the Atlantic) and their idea of true adventure is ordering a 47 instead of the usual 46 from the Chinese take away.

  3. Some people live life. They embrace life and all it’s challenges. They look at each new challenge as an opportunity and go after what is important to them in life.

    They are not confined by the shackles of peer pressure or the worries perceived social standing. They chase what is important to them. They do it 110% and they are happy.

    Strangely enough, as selfish as these people may sound in their quest for personal fulfillment they are often the people who are most kind, caring and generous, because they know the true value of happiness and achieving and want to share that with others.

    Type 3 people are disliked by everyone, except other type 3 people (being generally happy tends to have that effect on others). With the exception that the loathing that extrudes from type 1 and 2 people is never expressed except in private, where they like to tear little strips off of the type 3’s.

    Example: “You see him over there? Just sold his company for 5 million, but I heard that he’s a tight bastard that wouldn’t pee on you if you were on fire, and he’s supposed to be lousy in bed.”

As I said above there are shades of gray in all this, and I’m painting with a very broad stroke here.

I’m wondering what makes us a type 1, 2 or 3 person?

Is it environment, upbringing, genetic disposition or just plain will power (or lack of it as the case may be)?

Can we change from being one type of person to another? Can we shift up a gear so to speak?

(I know people who have, so that’s a yes, but your mileage may vary. I happen to know of type 3 who is now if the process of removing a type 2 from her life that almost pulled her down to the bottom. You know who you are, and I’m proud of you for getting out of there.)

Can we become so ingrained in a position that a type 3 can be pulled down to a lower level?

What do you do if you are a type 1 or 2 and really want to be a type 3?

Beside those subtle shades which exist between 1,2 and 3, is this old cynic missing any major people types here?

What type of a person are you?

And before you ask, yes I am that cynical tonight!

Defining professional

There are many different definitions or explanations for “professional”.

  • engaged in a profession or engaging in as a profession or means of livelihood; "the professional man or woman possesses distinctive qualifications …
  • a person engaged in one of the learned professions
  • an athlete who plays for pay
  • engaged in by members of a profession; "professional occupations include medicine
  • and the law and teaching"
  • master: an authority qualified to teach apprentices
  • Occupations that require knowledge in a field of science or learning typically acquired through education or training pertinent to the specialized field, as distinguished from general education. …
  • applied to describe a person (or work of such a person) with the following attributes: service orientation, making expertise available to others, based on a distinctive body of knowledge and skills underpinned by abilities and values, autonomy in performing working within defined boundaries …

 

What does “professional” mean to you as a blogger?

Introducing you… the CEO of your blogspot blog…

Do ever ever stop and think about how you introduce yourself, about what that title you’ve slapped on yourself says about you, when people in your industry know what it is you do.

Anybody can be a CEO these days. The title is so bandied about that it’s almost become the new word for “unemployed with a project”.

I received this today via the contact form on my blog today. I’ve removed the identifiable information, but it just goes to highlight how ridiculously over used the title of CEO is.

Hi Paul:

My name is XXXXXX and I am CEO of the blog, 
www.XXXXXX.Blogspot.com. 
I look at your website regularly and I think it is good and I
think it's cool. In fact I have bookmarked it.
I would like to partner and trade links with you.  I am based
in XXXXXX and I receive traffic locally as well as from all
over the world. 
I hope to hear back from you soon and if you have any questions
please let me know.
If you decide to trade links with us please send back your web
address and how you would like your site's name to be listed. 
If you decide to trade links with us, use the name XXXXXX and 
the URL: www.XXXXX.blogspot.com .
Until then have a great day.

Best Regards,
XXXXXXX YYYYYYY
CEO, ZZZZZZ
XYXYCYCXXYX@gmail.com
(XXX) 000-0000

See what I mean, ridiculously over used. And lets not even mention that URL! LOL

Interview with Christine Kane

I had a great time interviewing people in Chicago and one of the most outstanding interviews was with singer/song writer Christine Kane.

This interview was really special for me because while Christine is first and foremost an artist, the conversation here is a unique take on a marketing and blogging.

Dawud Miracle had this to say about the interview when he posted the raw version of the interview on his blog:

At SOBCon08 last weekend, she sat down with Paul O’Flaherty from FuelMyBlog to chat about music, blogging, business and new opportunities for musicians using social media.

From the interview (below): “…blogging for me has enabled my creativity to reach people who wouldn’t in a hundred years go out to a club.”

I’ve posted the interview (less than 15 minutes) below so business owners – musicians and otherwise – can see a successful niche blogger share what she’s learned about social media that’s made her successful.

Christine has also posted the raw version of this interview and has expanded upon a brilliant little question that was raised in the middle of this interview on her blog.

If you were a real artist, you wouldn’t need a blog
…all you would have to do is paint in your studio, or hang out with your instrument, creating and creating, while the masses of adorers who are feverishly running around looking for someone to adore just continue to find you even though you spend all your time making your art. If you build it, they will come, right? If you were a real artist, they would come and they would discover you. Wouldn’t they?

Christines latest album "A Friday Night in One lifetime" is available from Christines site and is well worth checking out, I was lucky enough to get a free copy of it at SOBCon and you can check out a free sample track here.

The great laptop we had for recording these vidcasts was kindly sponsored by ERA London.

Are you locked in your room?

I was thinking as I lay awake last night (30 minutes total sleep and I went to bed at a shockingly early 11pm) that the room I was staying in last night was very much representative of many bloggers who don’t read other blogs (or who keep within a limited number of like minded bloggers).

The room itself is representative of the mind set of many people who like to surround themselves with people who think along the same lines and represents a self imposed wall of thought around the creative process behind blogging.

That’s why the best bloggers read a lot. Not just blogs, but newspapers, magazines, listen to the radio and build a much broader picture of their world that the narrow one which is just their field of interest.

They don’t keep the door to the room locked and only allow in folks of similar opinion. They make the room open to all and sundry to visit and actively trek outside to experience other rooms and place in order to build of a bigger picture of the world.

They pursue experience by challenging themselves to face to opinions of those who would not normally fit into their room.

What about you? Do you let fly the windows and doors and venture outside or do you remain inside?

Dear bloggers: Networkers network. Everybody else just shouts!

I had an awesome conversation on IM this morning with Sara from SuburbanOblivion about networking and bloggers and with her permission I’ve shared this gem of segment with you guys.

Sara: who says we have no power? 😉

me: nobody did

The problem lies with the definition of “we”

Sara: ?

do tell

me: We is a collective term

99% of individual bloggers have no power

Sara: very true

me: So really.. that 99% have no right to the term we

It’s that 1% that they latch on to 😉

LOL

Sorry.. just taking a provocative stance here

Sara: lol

nothing new

me: because it fits with what’s going though my brain at the minute

Sara: and I will say, one this this ‘collective’ is good at is networking and community

its not a matter of latching on, its a matter of building relationships

me: LOL.. 90% of bloggers do not build relationships

They latch on

Like junk floating in space

they latch onto the nearest big object that stays still long enough

Sara: maybe in your experience

me: The problem is that most bloggers just want to be heard..

They do not want to do the networking

they invest neither the time nor the work needed

The people who attend conferences and actually network are the minority

Sara: that doesn’t have to be done at conferences

me: No it doesn’t I never said that

Sara: I have a buttload of bloggers I email back ad forth with on a personal basis regularly

me: Yes you do.. and so do I..

get the point yet?

Networkers tend to network

Sara: and sites like Facebook and twitter make it even easier to get to know and keep in touch

me: They tend to be connected to other networkers

It doesn’t matter that the tools are there to be used..

Look at facebook, twitter, myspace, linked in..

friendfeed etc..

Look at your contacts

Sara: ok..

me: I’d wager that 75% or more of your contacts are the same on all of these networks

Networkers tend to network with other networks

er.. networkers

You have to look beyond that sphere

Sara: to a degree

me: You’re a networker and are connected to other networkers

Sara: never thought of it that way

I’m a blogger, and I like to get to know people

readers, potential readers

other friends too though 🙂

me: Yeah I know..

At the end of the day it really comes down to that old saying .. “birds of a feather flock together”

Sara: it IS networking, and I swear moms are a natural at that, but I’ve always thought the term ‘networker’ more as a business thing

if that makes any sense at all

likely not

me: Yeah I know

Sara: lol

At the end of the day, those of us that are part of the conversation are those of us who have the mind-set to network with and converse with others.

Everybody else, no matter what title they assign themselves is just another piece of flotsam washed up on the shore of the community they claim to be a part of.

Shirt in or Shirt out? What kind of a blogger are you?

Have you ever sat back and asked yourself what kind of blogger are you?

I don’t mean are you a tech blogger, business blogger or mommy blogger. I mean what kind of a blogger are you?

Are you a “shirt in” blogger, (I’m thinking about people in suit pants, shirt and tie on the hottest days) who dots every “i” and crosses every “t”.

Are you the kind of blogger who puts together impenetrable blog posts, full of outstanding logic that leaves little room for argument? When you’ve written your post do your readers feel the need to comment or are your posts so perfect that there’s nothing left to say once they’ve been read?

Do you only post about the topics your blog is supposed to be dedicated to?

Or are you a “shirt out” blogger?

Do you write posts that are off the cuff, that allow plenty of room for interpretation and rely on the intelligence of your readership to fill in the blanks? Do you trust that your readers will figure things out for themselves once you’ve provided the quick piece of insight which will spark conversation.

Do you allow your blog posts (like your shirt) to fall out beyond the realms of the pants and belt you’ve tucked them into?

So dear readers – shirts in or shirts out?