So, last night Google CEO Eric Schmidt gave a nice little speech at the American Society of News Editors conference in DC, and apparently doesn’t find bloggers to be all that trustworthy. Maybe he was just trying to fit in with the print heavy crowd, maybe he only reads poorly written blogs or maybe he just really doesn’t like bloggers – who knows. However he did note…
“We’re not in the news business, and I’m not here to tell you how to run a newspaper. We are computer scientists. And trust me, if we were in charge of the news, it would be incredibly accurate, incredibly organized, and incredibly boring. There is an art to what you do. And if you’re ever confused as to the value of newspaper editors, look at the blog world. That’s all you need to see. So we understand how fundamental tradition and the things you care about are.“
Awww. Sweet ol’ guy. In any case, strange words from the CEO of a company who runs, as Gawker notes, “The biggest single blog network in the world.”
Is the title journalist, or even plain old “writer” a more professional title than blogger?
Schmidt’s comment, while oddball for sure considering Google runs Blogger, is not the first comment or action to make it clear that some assume bloggers bite when compared to other writers. Last year there was the fiasco of the new FTC blogger guidelines. The year before last, Target slammed bloggers as non-media and of course these are just some examples. The debate over bloggers vs. other writers is on-going. Who is better. Who is more trustworthy. So on and so on. Even my own experience has been like this…
A long time ago, before I became a blogger, I was writing professional stuff like magazine articles, business proposals, brochures, and other tech-minded docs. Then one day I apparently fell off the professional writing wagon – I started a blog.
Not only did I start a blog but I liked blogging better than other forms of writing, stuck with it, found blog clients and quit all that other stuff. Personally I can list a million reasons why blogging is better than all the other forms of writing I could be doing and I do consider blogging professional. Really, if you can make a living blogging, it’s professional enough right? It pays my bills. Major businesses have blogs – even major print businesses. That said blogging is professional enough for me.
On the flip side, I’ve read more than a few comments at writers forums or in chats where people mention that they’re cutting back on blogs or blog clients to do something more professional. I’ve heard people say stuff like, “I’m a writer NOT a blogger” with at least a little snide in their tone. I know for sure that some of my family and offline friends seriously think I don’t work (I just blog all day) BUT these same folks had deep admiration for my job when they could read my writing in print form; “You’re a writer!”
When I’m out and about or meeting new people and I’m asked what I do for a living, as folks often are at the start of conversations, I get very different looks when I say, “I blog” vs, “I write.” Can you guess which title garners a more favorable look?
Maybe it’s how bloggers are portrayed in the media – the few I’ve seen on television or in movies are usually slacker-like shut-ins or people who give away their pals deep dark secrets. Maybe it’s because not everyone reads blogs but most people like magazines. Maybe it’s because writer conveys an old school art form and blogging, well, not so much. Blogging is still considered a new medium by many, although it’s truly not; it’s simply a changing medium. I can’t say why people look down at blogging and not other forms of writing as much, but in my experience there is a noticeable difference.
In any case, I’ll be back soon with some ideas about how you can keep it professional if you happen to be a happy blogger.
What do you think? Is “writer” a more professional term than “blogger?”