Louisa recognises that blogging might matter outside the ivory tower. It does (blogging is now a mass media, more people read blogs regularly than newspapers), but it isn’t blogging so much as the ‘styles’ of doing that blogging requires that really matters. Different tones of voice, regular writing and doing, observing, thinking out loud, small pieces that exist by themselves but also in relation to other parts (for example this post now has a relation to Louisa’s). Isabella is all adventuring trepidation, one foot in the water, the other firmly not.
Rebecca, in a post with a very declarative title, worries about the mess of opinion out there in blogs and the narcissism of it all. Yep, but as with most things this subject wants to address the skill is know how, not know what. So a good blog, well, if it is about what you know about then you ‘get’ that it is good writing. That it is well informed. The difference is that you get the good with the bad, and that now good people have access to sharing. For example, in the ‘old’ model ‘experts’ had authority because of their job. The job is first and the authority follows from that. (Think teacher, principal, policeman, lecturer, spokesperson, journalist, and so on.) So I might be the tech support person for a camera company. I am an ‘expert’. Except over there on that web site there is a whole group of people contributing what they know, as users, and it turns out they know more than me. Particularly about fixing up those little buggy things that, well, I just tell you to reinstall software (which is the sledge hammer way of saying I don’t know.)
We all know experts, about something, who aren’t employed in that area. Now they can share and show that expertise. On any and every topic you can imagine (knitting, Peugeot restoration – with a link to a forum dedicated to one model of Peugeot, restoring retro bikes, the mid century architecture of Banyule or even a site that collects international birdwatching blogs). Yes, there is rubbish, but there is an enormous amount of stunning material, on the things you know about.
Which is what Chantelle shows when she blogs her favourite blog. I can’t comment on the content, but it is a meritocracy, it is regarded as good because, well, it is good because Chantelle knows about this stuff. And these, people, these scary out there experts, are very, very expert in ways that people in paid positions cannot be. Why not? Because these people need to be generalists. Bloggers, they’re nerdy specialists.