We’ve long since identified the two primary, and occasionally contradictory, reasons to blog: Self-promotion and desire for self-expression. This is old news. But a new reason has just emerged, one that would have been laughable. Until now.
Law Professor Ann Althouse has announced that, after years of living a life of desperate solitude, she is engaged to be married to a man who she first met as a commenter on her blog.
After 4+ years of writing at each other, we met in real life and found real love.
Those must have been some comments, as Althouse is a very popular blogger and not easily swayed by some snarky comment. Congratulations, Ann. Anticipate that for the next few months at least, she will be giving classes on the relative merits of various catering halls and bridal shops in the greater Madison area.
But as long as we’re talking about Althouse, let’s take a quick look at something else she had to say about blogging that’s quite relevant. This comes in response to a post by conservative Gay Patriot asking why liberals hate Althouse. “[L]eftists in the blogosphere today are so humorless so self-righteous that they can’t abide the least bit of mockery, criticism or a combination of both?”
What they don’t get is that I a m a pure blogger, really a blogger, showing you what blogging is. I don’t think they really are bloggers. I don’t think they really are journalists either. I’m called deranged or whatever when I’m riffing in a bloggerly style that they obviously don’t understand or appreciate. They are journalists posing as bloggers, mucking up their journalism and simultaneously writing dull blogs.
And this is why Ann Althouse found a man through blogging, and the New York Times is fighting off bankruptcy. Got it?
What should be avoided in all of them is any hint of racist, sexist or religious bias, or any suggestion of nasty, snide, sarcastic, or condescending tone — “snark.” If something could easily fit in a satirical Web site for young adults, it probably shouldn’t go into the news pages of nytimes.com. Contractions, colloquialisms and even slang are, generally speaking, more allowable in blogs than in print. Obscenity and vulgarity are not. Unverified assertions of fact, blind pejorative quotes, and other lapses in journalistic standards don’t ever belong in blogs. Writers and editors of blogs must also distinguish between personal tone and voice and unqualified personal opinion. A blog or news column has to give readers the arguments and factual information that led to the writer’s conclusion — enough argument and fact on both or all sides of the issue to enable the reader to decide whether to agree or disagree That does not apply to editorials or Op-Ed columns, which “are not intended to give a balanced look at both sides of a debate,” as the Readers’ Guide says. Headlines on analysis should try to capture the debate rather than taking sides in it. If the comments contain vulgarity, obscenity, offensive personal attacks, say that somebody “sucks,” or are incoherent, moderators are advised just to chuck them out.