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UnFiction : Why I Hate Blogs


Author Rachel Gladstone-Gelman kicks off a new month at Downright Fiction with an article on her reservations with that doubled edged sword that the web calls 'blogging.'

She discusses the slowly blurring line between free-speech blogs and author websites and how writing's seriousness may be affected with the twenty-something-character tweet slowly replacing the well crafted paragraph.




Why I Hate Blogs
 By Rachel Gladstone-Gelman

Not to mention the aural failure of the word, but its definition—what definition?

Public journal or professional contribution? What is the real point of a weblog? My current, best interpretation is “expanded tweet.”

Doesn’t it explain why blogs are so common and popular? It also puts a person’s training and background on a playing field with those who, well, don’t care quite so much. That might be the root of my problem with blogs. It gets shoved in together, making a confusing mess out of an already weird word.

Freedom of expression and opportunity to get the word out on so many/too many issues that demand discussion, as with tweeting, make for near-mandatory creation of blogs and, without them, some people might never have an outlet for their voices and talent. Contemporary media allows for an essential freedom and its irritations. It takes people out of literary jail, yet makes us work harder to find the value within it. Blogs serve well while cheapening the process. Can’t this girl decide?

Vintage may be my game but for a reason. Comment sections reveal what we all feared: A dumb planet. We used to talk about Johnny not learning to read, and now we see that, indeed, Johnny has a serious writing problem. Even seasoned writers need an occasional lecture on what it’s like to read their work, and I don’t mean from a professional.

We all know that, even now, the professional playing field is hardly level when trying to get your work into or onto a “name” publication, and blogs, frankly, have helped some to break into those markets. Some…or a few. Heck, even big-name sites call themselves blogs. Again, what exactly is a blog, besides, sometimes, even an extended advertisement? And this is where I walk in…again.

I call my Tumblr site…my site. You don’t mind my doing that, Tumblr, do you? I also have a site where I list my books, samples, and express my anger towards sources promoting intellectual property theft, which may be a reason that most of you don’t know me. I’m so angry, I’ve been pretty quiet. Actually, the Twitterverse and I didn’t get along very well, as with facebook. Too social and, well, being ignored—on Twitter. It was difficult to find anyone with fewer followers than I had. Maybe I was too serious, but, not really. Still, people whose Twitter streams had the most benign conversation had exponentially more followers. Do I belong in this century? I don’t see this as my attitude problem. I see it as…a serious question.

How (Not) To Use a Blog

The personal side of blogging has its own double edge: It enables professionals to be professionals, the less practiced to get more practiced and the goof-offs…as a non-techy, I was driven to taking down a creative non-fiction post because I was spammed by a “liker.” When I clicked “block”, I was given the too-quick choice to also click “spam.” I missed my opportunity to set the record straight and deleted a post that the fatigued (my excuse) me had, inadvertently, forgotten to make a copy of first. I had revised a previously published piece. I could do it again, and it wasn’t long, but the spam headache will, no doubt, return.

Those goof-offs. Our writing. What’s a stifled author to do?

Blog? Yes, it’s practice and, if you’re really lucky, exposure. Its reputation is also up for grabs. It’s also without pay. Usually. Another leveling of the playing field. One reason the majority of my written posts are of previously published work (even if revised—lots or slightly) is because I’ve decided to not submit work unless I’m getting paid actual money. Gone are the days that contributor copies are enough. And this article? What about it?

Advertising.

The last time I wrote for free (or not certain I was getting paid) was for The Connecticut Post. I had reasons for not donating money to Moveon.org, but I strongly agreed with the immediate cause. So my donation was an article. I had to do it.




My Tumblr site is www.rgladstone-gelman.tumblr.com. My official website is www.pinatapoet.com, and has cover images and comments about my collections, In Public (full-length), Tear Here and Gentle on the Heart (chapbooks), a few samples and contact information (RGladstone-Gelman[at]pinatapoet.com) for questions and/or to make a purchase.

Although these books are advertised as being available elsewhere, I’m rather certain that all or most of those are either bootlegged, given without permission (stock clearance) or not really available through those sources. All those copies floating around are also, well, too many to be true.

Come to me. Otherwise, I won’t get paid.






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