I blog, but I tend not to call myself a ‘blogger’ these days. On my twitter profile, and indeed on an early batch my Moo cards, it used to say “Metaverse Evangelist | Blogger | Geek”, but more recently I’ve been dropping the ‘blogger’ bit, since I don’t think it defines me.
I mentioned this to Andy Piper a while ago, and when he later wrote up some thoughts about needing a new strapline. He and James ended coming up with “social bridgebuilder“ between them, which I really like, and describes Andy very well. That’s what he does. He happens to blog in order to share with a wide audience what he’s up to, but if were to describe Andy to someone, I have plenty of phrases like that to use before I’d start defining him as a blogger.
Sacha Chua (whose forthcoming book is no doubt going to convert me to emacs at some point) recently explained that she was between job titles. I like the fact that she describes herself as “tech evangelist, storyteller, geek”, which sums her up nicely. Again, she’s a blogger, but she’s not primarily a blogger.
I think the term ‘blogger’ will gradually fall into disuse. After all, we don’t call someone a “social networker” for having a Facebook profile do we?
Actually, I notice that Hugh MacLeod (the cartoonist) was described yesterday by Bobbie Johnson (the technology correspondent and, incidentally, the newest member of the Speechification team) in a piece in the Guardian as “probably the most popular Facebook user – and by extension the biggest social networker – in Britain”. Hugh retorts on Twitter that “Biggest Blogger” sounds a lot better than “Biggest Social Networker”. While I think he’s right that it sounds better, “blogger” still isn’t much more helpful. Perhaps it is different for Hugh, since he’s a professional blogger, after all, but what I know and love him for is his work as a cartoonist, and lending his online credibility and marketing cluefullness to companies like Stormhoek and Microsoft.
Let’s take another example. Cory Doctorow. He co-writes Boing Boing, one of the the most popular blogs in the world, but he’s also a lot of other things besides. In fact, Cory describes himself as “an activist, a writer, a blogger, a public speaker, and a technology person”, but I found that a Google search for “Cory Doctorow is a” reveals that he’s also describes like this:
- Cory Doctorow is a digital activist, science fiction author and co-editor of the popular blog Boing Boing (tagline used in a piece he recently wrote for the Guardian)
- Cory Doctorow is a busy guy. Between co-editing the popular Weblog Boing Boing and working as the European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier … (Second Life Herald interview)
- As an evangelist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cory Doctorow is a familiar voice… (O’Reilly Network interview)
All of these suggest that he’s (rightly) known for more than his blog, and I’d almost consider it a disservice to describe him just as a blogger because that happens to be the way he shares his interests and passions.
I enjoy blogging, but I don’t want to be defined by the term. People who communicate on BBSes, forums or IRC have never defined themselves by their tools of communication, have they? Ok, some might have been SysOps, moderators or IRC operators respectively, but probably only while they were online. Increasingly, I’m starting to believe that being a ‘blogger’ today might be a bit like being a ‘telephoner’ in years gone by.
It’s something I do, rather than who I am.