From time to time I consider blogging vs. writing vs. journalism. And basically I always reach the conclusion that blogging is probably good, although not super good; and if anything provides a goad to write, the net effect is positive overall.
But blogging has have pernicious effects on writing style:
- blogging prevents you from writing things in depth. Instead you are more inclined to write something which is easy to dash off. (That means avoiding certain subject matters in favor of others).
- Your blogging thoughts tend to be incidental and (by the way) disorganized. Note in this post I am using a list to provide a semblance of organization.
- Blogging makes you think in terms of hypermedia. That is not always good. You bring low expectations about your readers. You expect surfers to spend a few moments on your site and then move on to whatever you link to. (Of course, the analogy doesn’t quite hold with RSS feeds). You start assuming that people will never read long articles and never finish anything you write.
- Analysis and response are great things. But I’d much rather have original thoughts than careful ones. If you think too much in terms of what other people say, your insights may be well-grounded, but you may have run out of energy to be original.
- Blogging puts the emphasis on the personal. Nothing wrong with that of course. But it’s hard to change a point of view to fit the discourse. Some people put tracts and manifestos on blogs. That seems silly. A blog (even a serious subject blog) is told in the first person. As a result, all the debate/discussion/controversy tends to be personalized. It’s hard for a writer to have any detachment from the work he created. With writing fiction or poetry, you write something, work hard on revising it, and then it’s no longer a part of you. But blogging remains a part of you.
- Writing turns the subject to the ephemeral things that mark time. What if readers are not particularly interested in getting a glimpse into your sense of time? Maybe they stumbled upon your blog because they really wanted to know your opinion of Dino Buzzati (not just your frame of mind you had on the day you were reading his fiction).