Over at Cenantua’s Blog, Robert Moore offers two posts worth considering for bloggers and readers alike. The first addresses what Moore defines as “content” blogs versus “controversy” blogs. Although he outlines these two archetypes, he doesn’t offer specific examples, and he concedes that various (unnamed) blogs do both. It seems to me that “controversy” is a loaded term, whereas “commentary” might well fit the bill as more descriptive. Some of the comments about “content” blogs by self-identified “content” bloggers seem primed to provoke controversy. Supposedly “content” blogs provide a lasting service, whereas “controversy” blogs, however much attention (and traffic) they may attract, are ephemeral. Moore even speculates that some “controversy” bloggers are withholding “the good stuff” … as he puts it:
Yet, in blogs that seem to be more controversial, do we see much “giving” or are controversial type bloggers holding back more, perhaps to put something into a book, an article, or something along that nature… something that will be of benefit in another way… monetarily or to advance a person’s place among fellow Civil War historians?
I find that comment a bit snide. After all, if it was all about the profit motive, why blog, period? And goodness knows we’ve seen professional academics complain about blogging, so the results are not in on whether it is a plus or minus professionally. In short, seems we have something of a strawman here, one designed to elicit cheers among some “content” bloggers in the comments section. Mission accomplished.
It’s not the first time Moore’s engaged in this sort of introspection, which, after all, is one of the characteristics of blogger behavior. Readers will see that I responded in the comments section. I wrote about “content/controversy” some time ago, and I have nothing to add to those comments, aside from my suggestion that “commentary” is a less loaded term.
Moore addresses a more critical issue for “content” bloggers in particular (given the supposed timeless nature of their contributions) when he wonders what steps are being taken to preserve their findings. Nor, he suggests, is it solely the responsibility of “content” bloggers to assure the preservation of their findings:
… consider, for example, print publications, published today, that cite Web sources… even blog posts. If those same posts vanish from the Web… what about those footnotes, in published books, that cited posts of the past? At that point, is it really the sole responsibility of individual bloggers to archive?
I would think that is an issue for bloggers in general (and others) to contemplate, although several blogs are in fact being archived. However, it stands to reason that if “content” bloggers are offering new information that transcends concerns of the moment, then it would be tragic if they did not take steps to make sure that their hard labors were not preserved in lasting form so that others would benefit from their labors.
Personally, I don’t know of any responsible Civil War era blogs that are “controversy” blogs. I see a great deal of content and meaningful commentary about issues of concern to Civil War historians across most blogs. That some blogs offer posts that cause controversy is obvious. I just don’t know why that should be important to someone else. I’m perfectly comfortable with what I do and I do my best to try not to judge why others blog … especially when supposed “content” blogs engage in controversy, especially by talking about “controversy” blogs (largely as a form of “othering”). Ah, irony.
In truth, of course, this entire blog entry is a clever attempt to create controversy to drive up readership and initiate nasty exchanges, which will in turn shed much heat and little light, while I hold back the really good stuff to line my pockets and seek the glory I so ardently desire … like on C-SPAN3. In the process, “content” bloggers will be forced to betray their true selves by engaging in the very types of controversies they say they so dearly want to avoid (even if they are not always so successful in that effort). The result will be a good deal of navel-gazing.
UPDATE: As I said, just watch. I love reading snarky replies weakly disguised as claims that one is being “misunderstood.” Must be a slow time of the year for some people, because we’ve been over this ground before.
I’m glad Moore’s entertained by his belief that he’s struck a nerve, although that appears to suggest that he’s not above the need for such gratification and thus should not accuse others from suffering from it. I find his continued “introspection” simply self-serving. I hope he feels good about it.
So what we have here is a self-professed “content” blogger engaging in “confrontation” with what are called “controversy” blogs … but who picked the fight, folks? At least have the integrity to name names. Otherwise it’s a bit hard to pull off being so smug successfully.
As an old hockey player, I realize that it is often the retaliatory action that draws the attention of the officials. Others will on jump on the bandwagon, and off we go. :)
For a different sort of exchange, catch Kevin Levin here.