Blog Snobbery

There's no shortage of reading material out there on the related subjects of new media and new journalism; I'm still trying to wade through it all. At Jay Rosen's Pressthink blog, I was reading through the comments concerning his The People Formerly Known as the Audience post when one in particular reached out and grabbed me.

But how many people can afford to blog on such a lovely page as this? I wouldn't have read anything you said if this was posted at, or for that matter. Does that make me a snob?

And a voice online will cost you time and money: $15/year for a domain, $70/year for a host, some kind of education, at the very least knowledge of HTML, preferably CSS, and PHP. And still you might not be heard without SEO knowledge.

Posted by: PJ at Knowing Art at June 27, 2006 07:59 PM | Permalink

This couldn't be more misguided. The time investment part is true, but the rest is by no means certain. I don't know how many of the 50 million blogs currently in existence are hosted on paid sites, but now I have a good reason to find out. I'm guessing most are not, which would eliminate that $85 per year cost right off the bat. But even if you decide to go that route and create your own Web site with its corresponding domain, there's no need to know anything about scripting languages, or cascading style sheets for that matter. A rudimentary knowledge of HTML never hurts, but it isn't necessary, either. Blogging just couldn't get much easier, which is, no doubt, a key factor in its popularity.

There are ugly blogs—and ugly Web sites for that matter—out there, but it doesn't have to be that way. Garish color schemes and unfortunate font choices can overcome even the best content. On the other hand, while I'm sure there's a direct relationship between professional site design and the loveliness quotient of the finished product, the greatest design in the world doesn't amount to a hill of beans if there's no content. Anyone with access to a networked computer can have a voice online, even those with no place to call home. It isn't about money, or how much eye candy you can cram onto a page. Yeah, it does take time, and it isn't always easy to come up with something new every day. It takes time and effort, whether the result is words, photographs, graphics, or some combination of the three. This may account for all those dead blogs on the Web.

But the idea that money, education, and blog-bling are requisites for an online voice misses the real point of communication entirely. There's a reason so many are using MySpace, or Blogger, and it isn't just that they're free, or easy to use. They offer a free, easy way for anyone to take part in the global dialogue, right now. Does that make them anti-snobs? I'd like to think so.


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