Nov 23, 2008

Critical Blogging - or "I am NOT an Elitist!"

My friend Seikatsu Koba commented a few days back that I was an "elitist" when it comes to blogs. I hadn't really thought that this was the case, but I suppose I can see her point. On a number of occasions I have been openly critical of the standard of writing on the Internet, and that includes blogs.

What I would rather admit to is being critical, in the same way that a music critic or a film critic is. I used to worry about being a critic because I imagined that one has to be "better" than the people you criticize. But many music critics can't sing a note, play an instrument, or download something from iTunes. And a movie critic doesn't have to have won an Oscar, written a screenplay, or brokered a deal between Lionsgate and Disney to create the cartoon version of "Saw 6."

No, all I have to do is appreciate good writing and bad writing. Or point out bad writing masquerading as good. In fact, I just need to have my "Everyman" hat on, because if something is badly written, 95% of people will see it. True they may not be able to pin-point the specifics but bad writing is like porn - I know it when I see it.

I have been a good boy really. So far I don't think I have named any names - well maybe one or two. But my criticism will, in the long run, benefit the whole blogosphere by challenging bloggers to put-up-or-shut-up.

And I don't claim to be perfect. Some of my stuff may have flaws. Tell me. Some of it may be boring. Point it out. Some of it may be wrong. Tell me what's right. But I promise that I will learn from folks who criticize me, just as I hope people can learn from my being critical of them. Nothing personal.

Oh, and as of today, I have still not been approved to join the Second Life Bloggers group. Hmm, how should I interpret that one! I'll give it a few more days - then I'll start the rant.


Seikatsu Koba said...

OMG! I cannot believe you quoted me!

First of all, I still think that you are an elitist when it comes to writing. I also think that it is because you are use to writing technical documents; you don’t seem to be a newspaper journalist – they don’t write well.

Now, and very honestly, I too have seen a lot of poor written posts out there, but many of them have been written by individuals whose first language is not English, so I cut them some slack. I very much value the fact that they are at least making an effort to write in a non-native language. I feel that strong criticism may make them shy in their writing. However, I am not all that patient with people whose first language is English, and even less with individuals who have an undergraduate and graduate education, and whose writing is very poor.

About your SL Bloggers membership, if it makes you feel better, mine took a little bit to be approved, so I think there is hope for you.

P.S.: I read your posts one because you are my friend and two because I like writing style 

Seikatsu Koba said...


P.S.: I read your posts one because you are my friend and two because I like YOUR writing style :)

Siggy said...

Hey Seik! I take your point about blogs created by people for whom English is a second language. In fact, I applaud those folks because I certainly couldn't write a blog in any language other than English. i would also contend that blogging is actually a good way for people to practice their language skills: "If you want to be a writer, sop talking about it and sit down and write."

But if the writer is uninteresting and too ego-centric, it turns me off. And some people simply seem to refuse to take time with their writing, assuming that just tossing a few words together in a vague sentence is what "writing" is all about.

And yes, I am not a real life journalist and my real world writing is typically academic in nature. My next book chapter is on "Evidence-based clinical practice" - hardly a gripping title, and I've just been asked to write another for a book on Human Cognition and Assistive Technology, so once again I'm not going to be doing the book tour or appearing on "Oprah."

But my blog, and my SL career, let me cut loose somewhat and allow me to use a more flexible prose, unfettered by the bounds of textbook style. I do also edit a local magazine but that's another story ;)

Seikatsu Koba said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seikatsu Koba said...


I love this little discussion, and it has given me an idea for a blog post ;)

I'll keep reading in the mean time, and I'll try my best to write well simply because I like writng.

Stay tunned :D