Do bloggers have to fit the stereotype to be accepted?

In October, blogger Mario Asselin asked his readers to evaluate what makes a good journalist blog. He was researching an article that has just been published in Le Trente about Quebec’s journalist-bloggers. In it, he concludes there are only two who fit the proper definition: TVA’s Dominic Arpin (ironic since he’s since stopped blogging) and freelancer Nicolas Langelier.

Now, I’m not upset that he didn’t include yours truly in his über exclusive list (especially now since Michel Leblanc has my back). I’m used to being left out of the Quebec blogosphere as an anglophone (mostly because there’s an assumption that “Quebec” and “francophone Canadian” are one and the same). What bothers me more is the criteria used to distinguish a good blogger from a bad one.

It’s something I see a lot of. Because “blog” doesn’t have a very clear definition other than “website with entries displayed in reverse-chronological order,” people are making up their own definitions, putting additional restrictions on the term.

Among the restrictions Asselin and his readers seem poised to apply:

  1. Must have comments enabled for each post (and respond to those comments)
  2. Must be personal and talk about personal, behind-the-scenes issues
  3. Must produce original content (instead of aggregating the content of others)
  4. Must comment on other people’s blogs and otherwise have a presence outside their blog, like going to YULblog meetings
  5. Must update at regular intervals (at least one post a week)
  6. Must write about other bloggers (and especially competing bloggers)

Though all of these things sound great, are they all absolutely required in order to produce a good blog?

The Kate McDonnell’s Montreal City Weblog doesn’t have comments. Craig Silverman’s Regret the Error doesn’t discuss personal issues. Pierre-Léon Lalonde’s Un Taxi La Nuit has sometimes gone weeks without updates. The Gazette’s Habs Inside/Out is mostly aggregation of other people’s content (including that of The Gazette), and Stony Curtis is almost entirely just reposting stuff he’s found online.

Are these not blogs? Are their authors not bloggers?

Where do you draw the line between a “real” blogger and “fake” one?

6 thoughts on “Do bloggers have to fit the stereotype to be accepted?

  1. DAVE ID

    You don’t need to talk about personal issues. A blog can have a mission statement, such as say, He blogs, well, about TV. So he’s not gonna blog about his dog Pepper.

    Original content is a must. I’m not saying you can’t aggregate, damn I do it often enough. But you have to add your spices to it and also produce your own stuff.

    Update at regular intervals? Naw man, that’s Web 1.0. You have an RSS reader? You’ll know when your fave blogger has updated. Malcolm Gladwell’s blog went dark for months while he was writing his new book. As soon as he blogged again I was made aware. If you don’t have a news reader, your problem.

    Write about OTHER BLOGGERS? WTF? I need to pimp my fellow bloggers? Or trash them? Because some local bloggers around here have ZERO VALUE content and yet get so much traffic.

    Comments. Yeah comments are a must for me. Even if I don’t leave any. Go figure. The whole purpose of the internet is interconnectedness. If you can’t interact, you’re just watching TV. Kate’s Montreal City Weblog has lost my readership because there’s no commenting. (Sorry Kate) If blogging was just about reading, I’d read more books.

    I’m used to being left out of the Quebec blogosphere as an anglophone (mostly because there’s an assumption that “Quebec” and “francophone Canadian” are one and the same).

    Now you know how it feels to be a Frog in the Canadian Pond. Never really truly Canadian, just a and only a French Canadian. ;) How does it feel?

  2. swan_pr

    This can go on and on. Every blogger has his or her own way of doing it. Unfortunately, if you do it outside of the imaginary guidelines stated above (and many more) you’ll always feel left out of some group or other. Why does a journalist blog have to have personal content? There are plenty of personal blogs out there… People like to categorize, apply labels, establish ground rules, and by doing so can feel they themselves fit somewhere.

    I really don’t like blogs pimping others. Unless there is a purpose, or as in your case Steve, references to the article you create. Sites such as Branchez-Vous’ Blogoshpère for example rarely provide any new blogs, but only link to ones that fit into a certain mold that has been established by a few people who have ideas about what a blog should be (nothing personal against the author there).

    As for the language issue, I also agree. It’s too bad. I used to write mostly in English, then almost 50/50 and now mostly in French (don’t ask why, I have no idea myself!). But even back then I clearly saw the big fat division between French and English Quebec blogs. Which is unfortunate, because every one would gain by widening they bloghorizon…

    And by the way, Steve and Dave, I just wanted to kiss butt and tell you, you are two of my favorite bloggers throughout this virtual place. Thanks for being there :)

  3. Mario Asselin

    Steve, you are a «Quebec’s journalist-bloggers», probably… but you’re not in my blogosphere (well, you were not in my blogosphere).

    At the beginning of that process, I knew that I would missed really good one. My research to find some anglophone journalists who were «good blogger» were not positive… I should say that I am an edublogger; I had a lot to do to detect good bloggers who were journalist… I failed, it seemed.

    A blogger can post on his blog only. A good one? I don’t think so, because in my view, blog is conversation; at least, he have to be implicated in his own conversation.

    The only thing that (I think) anglos can say about my article is that «frogs» has not a lot of quebecers (anglophone, I mean) in their blogosphere ;-)

    Thank to Michel for the mention about you!

  4. patrick lagacé

    I’m glad to find out that I’m not a blogger. Were it not from Asselin’s very astute observations, I might have never known it.

    (God this kind of piece reminds me of people, in high school, who would only listen to obscure european bands, and would disparage everything else as being “too commercial”).

  5. DAVE ID

    Ahhhhh Pat, just put your devil hands in air and headbang and scream metal up your ass. I had some friends like that in HS, all dressed in black euro trash clothes and professed that Depeche Mode was Scripture and nothing else existed.


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