Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sarah Boxer on blogs

Sarah Boxer has an article entitled "Blogs" in the New York Review of Books. She opens with the line:
Two years ago, I was given a dreadful idea for a book: create an anthology of blogs.
Despite her misgivings, she did just that. (Not to belittle her achievement, since, after all, she had to find the best of the blogosphere, but Bora has now published two anthologies - The Open Laboratory 2006 and The Open Laboratory 2007, albeit through

Boxer writes about blogs and blogging. While she has some admiration for bloggers (Every sport, every war, every hurricane brings out a crop of bloggers, who often outdo the mainstream media in timeliness, geographic reach, insider information, and obsessive detail), the blogosphere she sees is very different from the one I know. She seems to only venture into the semi-literate portions of the blogosphere. When she talks about political blogs, she talks about Glen Reynolds (not semi-literate, but he doesn't write much) and Little Green Footballs. Why does she ignore Daily Kos, the most widely read political blog - and a place where front pagers often produce moderately long articles in literate English?

But maybe I'm just a bad blogger, or maybe I'm not really a blogger at all. Maybe I'm getting this blogging thing all wrong. Nonetheless, I think I'm getting it wrong in good company. Brian at Laelaps writes:
I suppose the disparity between the sort of blogging Boxer describes in the article and what science bloggers engage in is part of the reason why it's still a struggle for science bloggers to be taken seriously. Many people look at science blogs as a simple extrapolation of more normative forms of blogging, i.e. bad grammar, bad spelling, lots of unsupported opinion, stolen images & videos, etc. etc. etc. From what I can tell, though, science bloggers hold themselves to an entirely different standard and popularity requires not only a talent for good writing but accuracy and insightful commentary.
I've failed to write like a semi-literate teen. zOMG!!1! I am a failure as a blogger.

Maybe I understand a little bit more of the reaction to Chris Mooney's Bloggers Guild idea...

H/T Bora.

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