Get Shouty

The creation age
May 14, 2007, 9:57 am
Filed under: Digital Strategy


David Armano’s latest post Blogs Are Free Samples of Your Brand has an interesting, call to action: Stop calling yourself a blogger.

“Blogging is a commodity.  Anyone can do it.  We are human beings with passions and interests that come out in our blogs—not the other way around.  Stop calling yourself a blogger.  You are a… (designer, businessperson, marketer, artist, baker, mother, grandfather, etc).  Calling ourselves bloggers takes away from what makes us unique.”

An article in the New York Times, Sex, Drugs and Updating Your Blog  puts forward that the term might be Artist 2.0:

“It’s possible to see these online trends as Darwinian pressures that will inevitably produce a new breed — call it an Artist 2.0 — and mark the end of the artist as a sensitive, bohemian soul who shuns the spotlight… being a musician is rather like being a business manager, memoirist and group therapist rolled into one, with a politician’s thick hide to boot. ”

Joseph Jaffe has a posted a video from his Australian visit, Content + Context, which brings to life Adam Curry’s claim that in 5 years time 50% of all content will be consumer generated.

That’s quite a trend. With over 75 million blogs there are a lot of people who are doing it, a lot of people expressing themselves. Not all of it will be good, sure. But is it vital to define people who create content? Are they artists? Are they bloggers or vloggers or podfathers? Do you define the nature of expression ,or the nature of the person, by the materials used? Just because people had access to pencils, it didn’t make everyone a writer.

Isn’t it more important for people to define themselves? Isn’t this Creation Age all about self definition and self expression?

I believe that the hand of an artisan is shaped by their tools. Sergovia’s hands were undoubtedly those of a classical guitarist, I have a film producer friend that could organise a colony on Mars in two weeks and I can spot a network engineer at ten paces.

I am blogger.

Fundamentally, the resistance I have in turning away from allegiance to the medium is the notion that building something, expressing something (for someone else) is somehow more valid than creating it (for yourself).

I’d have to disagree.

With great respect David: blogging is unique. It’s solitude and time to think in very good company. It provides structure and discipline to create and it provides feedback and authority to just born thought.

Oh, and loads of stuff to Get Shouty about too….


17 Comments so far
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Interesting … hmmm … I don’t know. I like the idea of communicating, and I have a feeling that the word “blog” actually represents a barrier of some kind — to readers AND to those who would otherwise have an interest in blogging. I know that I resisted writing a blog for about two years before I relented. And as much as I hate to admit it, the word “blog” is too close to “bog” for my liking.

Comment by Gavin Heaton


How did you describe/define yourself before you started blogging?

Comment by David Armano

Katie, I have found that calling myself a blogger is liberating in a wonderfully untraditional way. It forces conversation, both around what it means to blog as well as why I do it. It is somewhat similar to being a writer, but in a more public and immediate way since blogging implies constant pressure to write/publish. It also better captures the multitude of things that I do, and did before blogging, but can now capture through blogging.

Comment by C.B. Whittemore

If you ask the mythical man in the street what a blog is, they’ll tell you it’s a kind of online diary.

Why? Because that’s the way it was defined in the early days. They think blogs are people writing about their cat, going to the shops and other mundane stuff.

Actually, that sounds a lot like Twitter doesn’t it!?

I think Armano’s point is that good bloggers transcend their humble beginnings. These people are thinkers. The internet equivalent of Left Bank intellectuals. Kinda.

As for me, blogger is just another string to my bow. I’m a writer, creative director, strategist, father, music fan and blogger.

Comment by Stan Lee

Thanks everyone for helping me to further clarify my thoughts here. As ever your comments are heartily appreciated.

Gavin: I love communicating too but I’ve learnt that no matter what we, as marketers, call a digital experience, if it satisfies it lives. I’ve been in situations before when I’ve been told that a word for technology is a barrier to its uptake. One that specifically comes to mind is when I was in the music industry and the word was MP3.
All I can say about the barrier to the word blog is that 75 million people have one. I think that more people might know the meaning of the word blog than bog. I admit that it’s not a pretty word, but you can’t say that it’s preventing people from joining in the conversation.

David: Thanks so much for prompting this and joining in the discussion here. I know I’m an evangelist, and am as often as passionately wrong as fearlessly right, but I a true believer here.
Blogging has changed my identity.
I’ve always written professionally and personally, but blogging has allowed me to combine the two. I find that the medium allows me to link reference my thought starters, so I can build audience knowledge about what it is that I’m talking about- this is a blessing no matter if I’m talking about one of your strategic digital pieces, a worthy piece of activism or something I find amusing. My blogging is just not about what I write about, but also what I point to, reference and include. I hope to prompt a journey in my readers across the landscape of my interest, in the hopes that it will prompt understanding and engagement. This is why I call myself a blogger.

C.B.: I agree! I find that it is a discipline that requires definition. I love it when people around me ask for clarification. To my mind the best way to truly know something is to try to teach it to someone else. Blogging is an education for yourself and the opportunity to teach others. Sweet.

Comment by katiechatfield


I think you accurately described yourself in the first sentence:

“I know I’m an evangelist”

You are an evangelist. There you have it. So right now it’s blogging—in a few years it may be something else.

But to me, knowing this (that you tend to evangelize) tells me more about you than being just another blogger.

Comment by David Armano

G’day again David. I’m an evangelist, a chef, a mad reader of science fact and science fiction, a hedonist, a co-worker, an activist- and many other things today and many more tomorrow.
I don’t think that calling yourself a blogger necessarily precludes that you are/ do many other things.
Don’t we write blogs so that other people can in some way find out all the people we are?

Comment by katiechatfield

I just want to be a left bank thinker. You will find me drinking coffee with Stan.

Comment by Gavin Heaton

Gavin- damn fine idea.

Stan- “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train”, thank you Oscar Wilde!

Comment by katiechatfield

I suspect your time setting may be out of wack. Either that or Gavin is getting up very early.

Comment by Stan Lee

Stan: this blog is set on Greenwich time. I like the concept of a Zero hour. I travel a lot and Gavin and I are posting from Australia, which should give light to your observation. I think that Gavin does have super powers though- how else does he get so much blogging done, hold down a pretty full on job, edit a book, stir up debate and be a committed family guy? I think sleep is being sacrificed, and coffee plays a big part of it!

Comment by katiechatfield

Katie – Thank you for your addition to this topic. I’m very keen on your thoughts.

One thing I’ve been considering since reading David’s original post is the resistance we’d get from the snobs of the world by calling ourselves simply “writers,” or “journalists,” or whatever. That, by itself, is just about enough incentive to leave the word “blogger” out of it, but I can’t get over my dedication to truth in advertising.

I am an evangelist. I am a fanatic.

But I’m not sure that tells you anything more about me than what you’d get from “blogger,” except perhaps my stridency.

Comment by Cam Beck

Cam: I’m a huge believer that passion wins too. I’m not one to back away from others disapproval (especially snobs!), particularly when a lack of information is the source.
If we don’t lead by example, if we don’t try to create understanding, and we are passionate about this medium- then who will?
One of my favourite quotes is: If not you then who? If not now then when?
I’m sure you understand: Us and now is the only answer.

Comment by katiechatfield

Last word on the subject, and a none too subtle plug at the same time:

I’ve just been comissioned to do a monthly column looking at blogs for Marketing magazine.

What makes me qualified to write on this subject I hear you thinking…I’m a blogger!

Oh and I do it in Eastern Standard Time from Melbourne.

Comment by Stan Lee

Wow Katie!

Amazing thread and conversation. Way to wave the flag in front of the snorting bull!

I have been sitting on a recording of Richard Florida about the future of the Western World resting on this concept of a creative class. And it seems this is what we are dancing around – this cultural shift in value.

There is an intrinsic pull to turn all processes into a thing and then a title. Though often this process is to put title first, thus successfully noun’izing the process.

Some examples:
teaching (teachers)
blogging (bloggers)

Is the last one a stretch? I’m not sure. Some more flag waving from the other side of the waters for you. 😉

Comment by Sean Howard

Katie – I adore David but I think he missed the mark on this one. In his post he even calls out that people can play many different roles. I rather enjoy adding “blogger” to my personae. I like what C.B. had to say. It does open doors to talk about something that I am passionate about and as we know extending the conversation is a good thing.

Comment by Toby

[…] have been called an evangelist by David Armano which probably isn’t too far off the mark. I am a champion of content […]

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