I’m not qualified to write this — but neither are you

Most of what I write stems from what I am reading. When I’m feeling particularly unintelligent and uninspired I spend the majority of my time browsing websites like Buzzfeed, a site devoted to teaching America’s youth to seek out internet fame, where they will be upvoted and lol-ed at until their funny vine is treated with contempt as “last year’s meme”.

Buzzfeed: because a few moving pictures and some cliche captions pass for an article.

Buzzfeed: because a few moving pictures and some cliche captions pass for an article.

However, this week, I’m in an intelligent mood, which means I’m reading half of the articles on the Daily Beast everyday. It also means that the poor untouched books piling up in my bedroom get taken off their shelves. I’m an obsessive compulsive book hoarder, you see. I contribute 50 dollars into the honors system bookstore every six months, which entitles me to taking as many secondhand novels as I want. The Fate of Africa, a thousand pages of detailed and painstakingly compiled details of contemporary African history, right down to the last time the ruler of Nigeria farted? Why yes, I need that book. Bad Hemingway, a collection of Hemingway parodies submitted yearly for a New York contest? Of course I want it on my bookshelf.

But I digress. I’ve been feeling intelligent lately! That means I finally finished a Gore Vidal novel! I’m starting The Devil in the White City.

Yeah, I'd kill people too if I had a caterpillar perpetually stuck on my upper lip.

Yeah, Holmes, I’d kill people too if I had a caterpillar perpetually hanging off of my upper lip.

It’s a thrilling depiction of events around the World’s Fair of 1892, and the terrifying serial killer who haunted it…the point is, when I regularly read I’m a pompous asshole.

I also have the urge to write well. This blog and most others on WordPress are filled with flimsy little accounts of the silly or slightly-less-boring-than-your-average-day events that happened to the single person managing the blog. The posts are laughable. My posts are laughable. I want to write something that pertains less to myself and more to world.

But I’m not qualified to. Sure, I could write about eighteenth century fashion and its effect on women, but I don’t have access to the types of real artifacts that I could learn from.

That is, of course, assuming I ever developed an interest in eighteenth century fashion and its effect on women.

Hint, women were muscular as fuck from carrying these dresses around all day.

Internet searches are fine for high school sex ed essays. If a student cites Cosmo as a source at least you’re in for a laugh. But brief skims of Wikipedia do not an expert make. Why would I read a blogger’s article on feminism when there are much more qualified individuals conducting social studies? Because, you know, they are real journalists? Bloggers simply aren’t as knowledgeable as journalists who write or film for more sophisticated websites.

(Should I even be criticizing blogs for not being informative? Perhaps they’re entertainment. It’s unclear what the purpose of a blog is for readers. The only person clearly benefitting from the thinly researched blog is the blogger.)

A blogger is not a journalist. So let’s stop acting like them. I’m not saying that I have a problem with day-in-the-life-of blogs and posts urging readers to look at the blogger’s pretty flowers. I have a problem with bloggers that take themselves too seriously and write opinions that they haven’t thoroughly researched (much like I am doing in this very article). At least, though, I’m self-aware enough to notice my own hypocrisy. I often refer to my posts as articles, and that’s just ridiculous. But perhaps I’m being overly critical. An innocent blogger airs their un-edited, uninformed opinion. So it’s a lousy piece of writing. So it’s a lousy piece of thinking. Does that mean it’s beneath contempt?

It’s much like this gentleman eloquently states: “No fuckhead, you are not a storyteller.” Just because a story is bad, is it not deserving of being a story? I agree with Stefan Sagmeister, and yet I continue to put out my own shabby little posts that I dare to call stories and articles. It’s a very insightful video, and he has a wonderfully silly accent, I suggest you watch it. Go ahead, click the link, I’m definitely not being paid. I’m just a dumb, unqualified blogger.

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2 thoughts on “I’m not qualified to write this — but neither are you

  1. caroljforrester

    This is going to sound pedantic but I don’t think you can claim that a blogger is not a journalist. There are some journalists who’s work I read and think “well that’s a load of tosh.” I will agree that the vast bulk of bloggers are not people with huge amounts of experience and skill when it comes to writing a fully fledged article, however there are many who make a huge effort to support their arguments and research their posts carefully.
    If I’m planning on writing a blog post on something historic then I make sure to do the research and I’m helped by the fact that studying history at degree level. Essays at this stage are not just to prove you know your stuff but to encourage you to think about things more critically, and the we’ve been encouraged to treat our dissertations as if we were planning on submitting them to an academic journal.
    The same goes for those bloggers with expertise in different areas. There are numerous blogs written by accomplished people which draw on their experiences and ability.
    I don’t think condemning article writing is the way to go, instead we need to encourage more thought about how these articles are presented and written.

    Reply
    1. thinkingdiagonally Post author

      As you can probably tell, this post (and most of my others) is written entirely so that I can play the role of devil’s advocate to my own activities. I certainly do agree with you that there are exceptions to the vast numbers of dull posts in the blogosphere, but a journalist is someone who writes articles for a living. They are able to devote all of their working hours to a very specific subject, so as to best represent a multi-faceted idea or subject. A blogger does not, unless they are very successful, run their website for a living, and cannot spend nearly as much time and effort as a professional journalist. (There are exceptions). Nor does a single writer have access to the editors and processes a professional journalist does. For this reason, the quality of work by a hobbyist writer rarely compares to that of a professional. I’m certainly not saying article posts shouldn’t be written. I read them! However, I read them for pleasure, not as a studied way to get information about the world.

      Reply

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