Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Thu, Feb 17 2005

How To Keep Our Blog Out Of Others' Faces

This morning a tip of the Stetson goes to Big Stupid Tommy for leading me over to Chris Lynch's blog, A Large Regular, where Chris takes exception to Mark Cuban's recent blog post with a post of his own, entitled Bloggers are not the "New Paparazzi". Here's the link to the original piece on Mark Cuban's blog, and the resulting comments to that post.

Both Mr. Lynch and Mr. Cuban make interesting points. But I can't agree with the premise that bloggers, political or otherwise, are the literary equal of paparazzi. For one thing, politicians are paid with public money and so anyone in the public, including a blogger, has the right to express their feelings on what politicians do with that money. Paparazzi (excepting any unforeseen scandals) are not generally paid with taxpayer money. They inject themselves into personal situations with little disrespect for everyone concerned, including themselves.

Of course, this isn't a new argument. A little less than two years ago, there was another rash of this sort of thing. Bloggers bristled at being compared to the "19th century cranks" who self-published material on science, politics and other matters relevant to society at that time. I would maintain that there have always been people who dispatched information in ways that were under the radar of the mainstream of society. Some, like Mark Twain, become heroes and literary giants to subsequent generations. But in his day, Mark Twain was part of a group looked down on by traditional publishers. He sold his work by subscription and wasn't considered a great literary find by those who thought themselves above such selling methods.

Those of us who care enough to post our words in blogs might read Mr. Cuban's post and bristle. But another of his posts talks about the ability to sell. He gives a great description of what makes a great salesperson. I would maintain that the best bloggers, the ones who will still be respected after technology brings the next big thing, are those who follow his selling advice, and who think of their writing as putting them "close to helping someone" and who concentrate on being a person the customer trusts. He says to "put in the effort" and "care". If we do all that, we won't be acting like paparazzi at all. We'll treat with respect those whose names we mention in our posts and also those who read what we write, even if we shine a little light in a few dark corners and it ruffles feathers. Of course, doing this won't necessarily gain us the respect we might think we deserve. Mark Twain said it rather well in "A Tramp Abroad":
When an honest writer discovers an imposition it is his simple duty to strip it bare and hurl it down from its place of honor, no matter who suffers by it; any other course would render him unworthy of the public confidence.
Mark Cuban, shake virtual hands with Mark Twain. You two might have a lot more in common with each other than any of us might have thought at first glance.

posted at: 07:01 | category: /Writing Life | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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