The Word Blogger Is Not A Dirty Word

This is what I want to talk about. This is going to be long and a bit of a hissy fit, so if you aren’t in to that, you might want to see a picture of Barney Frank The Bassett Hound whose human is Mary Mancini.

I am surprised at some of the rhetoric used by City Councilman Joe Brown in reference to me. Invoking the word “blogger” as if it were a slur or a swear is something that I have heard more than once, but never in a public meeting. Councilman Brown has every right to voice his opinions, but in the end, I’m a concerned citizen that uses my blog to talk about areas of concern in my community, as well as in state and national politics. How that constitutes something negative is lost on me.

I don’t know Joe Brown from Adam. But there are a few things I want to bring up because I was completely hacked off about that one graph last night that just made me seethe for awhile. Don’t get me wrong, and in the spirit of disclosure, I am friends with Vibinc. We talk on the phone. He’s been to Hoots several times and I’ve been to Casa Steve Ross on Network12occasion. He’s a a great guy and we became friends through our blogs. This guy has pulled me out of dark times and I think I’ve done the same for him. I am a bit biased.

His nomination to the Charter Commission in Memphis was a great thing. A progressive blogger who doesn’t go after people with pitchforks, who backs up his arguments with hard stats that he is diligent to make sure are accurate. And he can remember everything politically after many of us have gone on to something else. This is not a defeat, quite frankly, because someone with sense is going to see his value and he’s going to get a bigger and better gig in the future.

What completely infuriates me is that Joe Brown, and others, just don’t get that Steve Ross is not just a “blogger.” He’s a businessman who is participating in the state of his city. His traffic, according to him, is basically comprised a great deal of community leaders reading his research (stuff they could have done themselves quite frankly).

So when Brown decides to say the word blogger as a slur, it pisses me off.

And the progressive blogger was apparently replaced with somewhat a bit more conservative, so there is that but that’s another story for another day.

This is not the first time in the last week that I’ve seen something that has made me do a spit take. Last week, I saw that Mike Byrd was the blogger du jour over at Pith. He has consistently raised questions and is a hyperlocal blogger that continues to ask questions. I’ve talked to several journalists who cite that Enclave is a blogger they read everyday. Enclave is one of the only old school media critics in town. He puts an edge in his voice to let people know what is happening. I don’t live in Salemtown but I know he uses his blog as a tool of activism and bully for him. Why is the blogger dude making corporate media uncomfortable? That’s a rhetorical question for you guys to ponder.

On another level, let’s look at Aunt B. and her excellent research on the May Town story. She works during the day and spent her evenings making phone calls, doing basic research that any journalist could do and opened up a very compelling story about the Bells Bend area. She even went out there and talked to folks impacted by this.

There are other stories out there. The one thing that the Joe Browns of the world don’t get, and it’s a damned shame, is that bloggers are the people that you should be watching and listening to because they are PAYING ATTENTION.  If you try to make the word “blogger” a dirty word, then you are shooting yourself in the foot. Everyone I listed, and there are more of us, are usually not paid, have day jobs and are interested in their community. Some people in office just wish bloggers would go away, but we aren’t. And some folks know we aren’t and are scrambling. Put Knoxville News Sentinel journalist Michael Silence in your RSS feed, he is a seasoned journalist who is a wonderful advocate for Tennessee bloggers and he’s telling you what’s going on with the FCC, Net Neutrality and how smaller, little-know local jurisdiction is trying to set standards that you and I might not like in the least. Be informed. He can help you.

Why the Powers That Be, whomever they may be in each specific case, don’t get that bloggers aren’t going away gobsmacks me.

What do I know, I’m just a shitty, crappy blogger, as was the joke we laughed about on Saturday at BarCamp Nashville.

Yeah, 700+ people get together to talk about the state of the blogosphere in Tennessee up from about 300 from the event’s inaugural year two years ago. I suspect they will crack 1,000 next year in Nashville alone and those numbers don’t even include the blogger meet ups in Memphis, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Clarksville and the list goes on. That doesn’t include the PodCamps, the Tweet-ups, the geek breakfasts, the social media gatherings and on and on and on.Things are changing and they are spiraling fast.

That’s quite a few people that know their way around a keyboard.

So the Joe Browns of the world don’t get that. Give him and his ilk time, because it’s just going to grow.

And bloggers, who are community advocates, have long memories. We will remember.

Rant over.

17 comments for “The Word Blogger Is Not A Dirty Word

  1. October 21, 2009 at 7:35 am

    Thanks ‘coma!

  2. October 21, 2009 at 7:58 am

    I guess people like Brown see us as gadflies in the ointment, sort of, flitting from one concern to another and trying to “stir up trouble.” I think they must see us as unemployed slackers who have nothing better to do than sit around in dirty underwear and type into a computer.

    After all, real people wouldn’t be allowed to spend time at work doing this.

    ~ Oops. ~

  3. October 21, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Jim, I think you are absolutely right. Or the Joe Browns of the world are willfully ignorant that there is a world outside of their own little narrow-minded sphere.
    Man, I’m stabby this morning about this. :(

  4. October 21, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Thanks, ‘coma. But I disagree that your expositions are “rants.” Your feedback seems measured, fair, and reasonable. If you are raging against the machine, it’s subtle and slow-boil. I respect your attempts to appeal to your opponent’s intelligence even as guys like me are giving up appeals and taking off the gloves. I can’t count the number of times your diplomatic ruminations have given me pause before going bare-knuckled. Keep up the good work.

  5. October 21, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Thanks Mike. You will never know how much that means to me. Next time you go bare-knuckled, I’ll bring the beer for the after party.

  6. October 21, 2009 at 9:42 am

    Preach it, sister!!!!

  7. October 21, 2009 at 10:23 am

    It used to be that the people who viewed blogging as a vanity exercise were mainly those employed by the “real media.” Even Sorkin, who I love, has a thing about bloggers not being “professional.” The fact is, bloggers break stories. Even if they merely pass a story along, it is more and more often picked up by other media and reported on as if they uncovered the story themselves.

    There are good ones, there are bad ones. Name a field or profession where this is not the case.

  8. October 21, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Perhaps someone should inform Joe Brown that “blogger” is also interchangeable with “voter” — maybe that will register.

    “Shitty, crappy blogger?” – nope, not by damn sight. But you DO like butter. That counts for something. 😉

  9. October 21, 2009 at 10:31 am

    Butter is of the good, Beth. Ask Lucas about how that all came down Saturday. 😉
    Mack, right on brother, right on!

  10. Andy Axel
    October 21, 2009 at 10:41 am

    Blogito, ergo sum.

    Everyone knows that it’s commenters that are the problem anyway. ;^)

  11. October 21, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    My viewpoint on unfortunate situations like this is that people who are still using the word “blogger” as a slur are still living in 2003 or 2004.

    One of these days they’re going to wake up and have to come into 2009 (and approaching 2010) with the rest of the world – probably when they’re forced to by some other event that finally makes them painfully aware of how behind the times they truly are.

    Steve, as a 20+ year Memphis resident, I would have been proud to see you in that position. As ‘Coma said, I can only imagine much bigger and better things are in your future.

  12. Henry Walker
    October 21, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    From Silence’s column: “Noted national blogger Jeff Jarvis makes an appropriate analogy: “The FTC assumes – as media people do – that the Internet is a medium. It’s not. It’s a place where people talk. Most people who blog, as Pew found in a survey a few years ago, don’t think they are doing anything remotely connected to journalism. I imagine that virtually no one on Facebook thinks they’re making media. They’re connecting. They’re talking.”
    You have interesting conversations but do you really want to hold yourselves to the standards of MSM journalists? No professional journalist would have agreed to serve on the Memphis Metro Charter Commission or, if he did, he would have had to give up reporting on the Commission’s business. You can’t have it both ways.

  13. stacymac
    October 21, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    I agree lynnster! He is destine for bigger & better things!!

  14. October 22, 2009 at 5:21 am

    Henry, Steve is the first person who will tell you he is not a journalist. He is just active in the community and happens to have a blog. Most successful bloggers I know are very upfront that they aren’t journalists.
    I agree with you on that, and you are right, you can’t have it both ways.

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