The Blogger Dichotomy

This is a little late, but I've been mulling this topic over for a while.

Spawned by this this post by Wagstaff, I've been wanting to post something about this since I read it as well as add some of my own thoughts on the subject. Wagstaff goes into detail about PR people and bloggers, it's an interesting read. Be sure to read the transcript of Richard Edelman's Q & A linked from Wagstaff at Weinberger's site as well as Richard's own commentary on the subject. There are some tips that you can sort through.

Bloggers. Bloggers are people, too. Sometimes they are rather influential people, but they're people. How does one, as a blogger, balance life and blogging? Mike Sacks wrote an interesting post recently about how disappointed he is with PR bloggers the other day. His point was this: Write about PR if you're a PR blogger. I mostly agreed with him. But nobody is just a PR blogger. These people are also tech geeks, PR pros, fathers, sisters, managers, idealists, realists and daughters. You have to sort through what is out there and find things that resonate with you. (Read the comments on Mike's post, too, they're interesting. Oh, also, Mike doesn't like it when bloggers write about blogging, so he's probably rolling his eyes about this, too. 😉 I can't help it.)

We're used to journalists writing about their beats. A journalist rarely mentions in a post about political unrest in Kerplakistan that his daughter is teething and isn't that cute. Would I read a magazine that didn't stay on topic? Probably not. But blogging is different, blogging is people, blogging is all the person at least some of the time. That's what makes it so cool.

But the balance is hard to attain. Where does one put the fulcrum? Am I a PR blogger or a person? Am I a professional or a guy with a chip on his shoulder? Am I a representative of my agency or a solitary entity. All of the above I guess. I suppose we all find our groove and fit into it, as both a blog reader and a blog writer. It is incredibly hard for me to unsubscribe to feeds I've been reading since I found the blogosphere even though I rarely find anything of value to me in them. Why? Because I might miss something. And it's also hard for me to write about things that interest me if I feel my readers might find them off topic, but it's who I am.

We should all really be grateful that I'm not blogging about the Stanley Cup Playoffs (I probably would be, except that I don't get OLN).

So, blogging is an anomaly that we're not really quite used to merging with the "real world" yet, there's clearly a dichotomy between who we are and who we present ourselves to be. And it's something we need to be ready for if we are to work with bloggers to help spread our messages. I'm up for the challenge.

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4 Responses

  1. I did not roll my eyes, I enjoy your sense of whimsy. Ok, I rolled them a little bit. Still liked the post though.

    I’m willing to amend my thoughts to say that it is good to include the occasional personal note about life’s twists and turns. But the bulk of the content should be about what the blog claims to be about. You are right Luke, we are people and we can feel like we know someone through their blog. Although I’m much better in person.

    Basically, I want to see some more original thought about PR. I’m going to push myself to deliver the goods as well, infused with witty barbs and humorous banter of course.

    If you have a blog and you make it known through that blog you work somewhere specific, you represent your organization. I can say all I want how my opinions are mine and mine alone. At the end of the day, I don’t believe that cuts it. Blogging can be a career risk as much as a career help.

    If I’m just writing about my dog and what I ate for dinner last night, I’m probably fine. But when I start to write on topics concerned with how I make my living, it ain’t personal anymore. It’s business.

    I’d be interested to see how certain big time bloggers change their tune as more and more organizations catch on to the blog train and are regularly surfing the blogosphere to see what’s what.

  2. Naw no eye rolling on my end. I enjoy your sense of whimsy.

  3. Luke,

    I’ve been asking myself about some of the same questions in my not-yet-two-month-old blog, which is about new media and online communications. Should I blog about the World Cup, which fascinates me? What about something interesting that I did offline over the weekend?

    My approach thus far has been to include some elements of my offline self on the blog because they do ultimtely contribute to my online self. But I try to relate those posts to the overall theme of the blog in some way.

    So I did blog about the World Cup last week, but I did so in a way that examined some of the online options for following the action.

    Luke, I enjoy your comments on FIR, and am trying to catch up a bit now on your blogging self. Congrats on the new job as well!

  4. As a new blogger myself, I’ve faced that dichotomy. To separate the personal from the professional (while acknowledging that at times they will integrate), I’ve solved my problem by having one blog for myself, and another devoted to PR.

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