Blogs have something of a stigma attached to them. It could be because ‘blog’ is a vile word, hovering somewhere between bog and flog. Or that could be my own issue with the word and I could stand completely alone (as I so often do) in my inexplicable hostility to various words and at times, forms of punctuation. Like the exclamation mark, I can’t stand the exclamation mark in fiction, and I’m not particularly fond of it in non-fiction either.
However my word-neuroses aside, it is most likely because every man and his dog can blog and whilst it is a lovely notion, the unlimited ability to express oneself on a universal platform, like all things Utopian, it doesn’t quite work in practice. Because, what happens is we get an inordinate amount of shit – people who really should make use of a good old fashioned, keep-it-under-the-bed journal, unleashing their streams of consciousness on the wider cyber world. It’s a sea of unrefined, impulsive thought, bad grammar and nonsensical or indeed nonexistent analysis. And that goes for online newspapers as well.
But, amidst the sea of horror, there are the good blogs, and these make the entire genre worthwhile. The writers are smart, funny, not bound by anyone or anything to push an agenda (generally speaking) and they say something new. They encompass what blogs, in essence, are; free education. A different point of view.
Newspapers, magazines, television – they all say the same things, influenced (and owned) as they are by the same people. The same issues are treated the same way day after day, month after month and there’s no encouragement to look at something from a different angle; in fact, there’s no encouragement for freedom of thought, much less expression.
Good blogs offer educated opinions. They offer an alternate analysis to your own. They offer stories you’ve never heard or stories you’ve heard a million times, but told in a different way, with a different voice. They offer something different to the mainstream and that, my friends, is a good thing. If you consider yourself curious and engaged, then you need to get over the blog stigma and use them for all they can provide. They’re far more interesting than your daily paper online and far less stitched up by advertisers and geriatric media moguls.
You just need to wade through the shit.
Lucky I’ve done that for you … here are some of my favourites, and I’d love for you to comment with your favourites below, so I can build my library.