SXSW Dispatch: Blog Talk is Boring Talk

I decided today that blog talk—that is to say, discussion of the importance, relevance, or social meaning of the blog—is totally boring, and time would be better spent knitting sweaters or baking cookies.

Ok, yes, I blog, therefore I guess I am a blogger, so why am I dissing them? Well I’m not condemning the blog itself, just over-intellectualized conversation about them. Plain and simple, they are a “Web Log,” as in, an idea thrown out into the ether; plain and simple.

Why the hostility? Why the “negative energy?” I spent an hour listening to a panel discussion on the “Blog Factor” here in Austin at SXSW. With all due respect, there were some smart, funny, and insightful folks on the panel. Folks from blogs like Stereogum and Idolator sat on the panel, as did NPR blogger Carrie Brownstein and Gerard Cosloy from indie record label Matador. Everyone on the panel, at some point or another, had really interesting things to say about how they operate their blog sites, how they handle mistakes, and what they think the role a blogger should be. One panelist even suggested having more of a code of conduct for bloggers and the publicity people that contact them looking for coverage, thus aiming for some accountability and uniformity. That sounds like a great idea.

That said, I guess I’m just over it. I’d rather hear a group this diversely talented talk about other things instead of blogs and their social meaning. I mean, by the end of the panel, discussion had turned to comments about how to pitch story ideas to a blogger. Snoooze. One guy in the audience even asked members of the panel how he could better tailor his PR efforts to increase blog coverage of his clients. Boooooorrrrrrriiiing.

I think Cosloy hit the nail on the head when he sort of politely scoffed at blogs by saying they reminded him of ‘zines from 10 years ago. Only difference is, zines—at least a lot of the ones I remember reading—never took themselves quite this seriously.


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