I’ve been thinking about changing my blog title to “Raucous Manx.” That’s right, you heard it here first: “Raucous Manx.” A friend of mine on social media recently commented that there’s a great deal of vitriol on the Internet these days, but no one really does it well…not like Truman Capote would have done it if he were still alive today. (I’m also working without spellcheck today, thanks to google blogger, and I’m seriously thinking of moving this blog to wordpress sooner than I thought I would.)
And that one comment resonated with me. The reason I’m considering a name change for the blog is because I’m thinking of starting a new feature, a regular column where I review blogs and web sites, not books. And I need something cute and catchy…with that homespun flavor, if you will, that says I’m a tough guy with a big mouth, I am. I’m a killer snark, and don’t you forget it. You know, something that will make me stand out as a defender of all that is good and evil in the world of blogging to make me look good all the time at the expense of others. I’m sure you’ve seen what I’m talking about more than once.
For those who don’t know, I used to be a staff member of bestgayblogs.com and I wrote reviews and did interviews with all kinds of gay bloggers. At the time the site was owned by a nice gay couple from NY and they truly had a passion for personal blogging. When they sold the blog to a larger company, I moved on because I didn’t want to work with anyone else. If you go to bestgayblogs.com now you’ll find a few of my older posts, but for some reason most have disappeared.
I learned a lot about blogging and bloggers while I was reviewing/interviewing for BGB. Most of the reviews I wrote were positive, because I didn’t think it was my job to judge an amateur blogger’s personal content. But not all the reviews were positive. Sometimes I had to post the occassional negative review because something bothered me that I couldn’t ignore. It was usually something involving ethics or scamming…something the blogger was doing for monetary gain. Thankfully, that didn’t happen often.
A lot of those original bloggers I wrote about are now gone. One thing I learned about blogging is that it’s not forever in most cases. Bloggers get tired and they move on with their lives.
A great deal has changed in the world of blogging since 2004 when I started working with BGB as a blog reviewer. And that’s the reason I’m thinking about starting my own feature here on this blog as a blog reviewer. If I do this I’m going to do it differently than I did it before. I think the world of blogging has changed drastically since 2004 in some cases and I’m not going to be as nice as I used to be. I’ll be fair, but that doesn’t always mean nice.
Back in the day, when television industry first started out, sitcoms were shot live, with an audience, and there were tons of mistakes. Television commercials were amateur and corny compared to the high tech commercials of today. Who could ever forget the episode of “I Love Lucy,” where Lucy and Ethel go on TV to hock “Aunt Martha’s Old Fashioned Salad Dressing?” It’s classic early TV, it’s about as amateur as TV got back then, and it’s absolutely wonderful.
And I’ve always looked at the Internet the same way, including blogging. In the beginning a good deal of what happened on the Internet mimicked what happened in the television industry’s early days. Only at the time, just like in the 1950’s, we on the Internet didn’t realize it was all so amateur. And that was just as wonderful as the TV commercial for “Aunt Martha’s Old Fashioned Salad Dressing.”
However, the Internet is changing and blogging has evolved since the early days. And I think it’s time that so-called serious…ambitious…bloggers were held accountable for what they do and what they post. In other words, if a blogger is trying to pass as a serious, informed source of information, it’s time to step up his or her game. I’m not talking about personal blogs here. People who maintain a personal blog without showing aggressive intentions for monetary gain or blogging “fame” should just keep doing what they’ve always done. I’m not talking about authors who blog and promote their books. I’m not talking about my blog because I have no intention of blogging for monetary gain ever. What I’m talking about deals with bloggers who show ambitious intentions of being journalists, without a background in journalism. Because those who do show aggressive behavior, and who do seem to be trying to attract an audience for monetary or personal gain in the sense of web presence need to be held accountable for what they publish on a blog. The days of “Aunt Martha’s Old Fashioned Salad Dressing” are coming to an end.
Look at it this way, if you’re writing a book review blog and that blog is filled with ads and promos, you’d better know how to spell and you’re blog better be damn near perfect. Or, if you’re attacking other people on your blog and you’re doing it with the intention of gaining a readership in a way that I think runs the thin line of sensationalism, you’d better not be posting corn recipes from your childhood between attacks, because that looks stupid and amateur and you’re not going to be taken seriously. I also think that if you want to be a serious blogger it’s time to cut the crap with the fake identities and stupid names and fake photos. I want to see real names and identities that are willing to stand behind the words they publish on a blog. And I want to see a photo so I can place the words with a face. Barbara Walters didn’t get to where she is today by doing the news with a name like “Tenacious Baby,” and a fake photo that shows nothing more than a wide brimmed straw hat.
Of course I’m still undecided about all this. And I doubt I’ll retitle this blog to “Raucous Manx.” If I did change the name to “Raucous Manx,” it would be exactly what I’m trying to show is wrong with certain blogs. In other words, the days of cute homespun snark are over and it’s time for the serious bloggers who want to be real players to drop the painfully cheesy fake names like “Raucous Manx” if they want to be taken seriously. And this time around, when and if I do decide to review a blog/blogger, I’m still going to be as objective as I can be. But I won’t hold back with the bad reviews anymore. And trust me, if you think you’ve seen bad reviews before what I’m going to write will make those bad reviews look like a romp through Disney World.
And I’m in an interesting position as far as blogging goes. I’m not using a fake identity, I don’t sockpuppet, and I have nothing to hide. Therefore, I have nothing to fear. Which is also why you’ll see me reviewing more books and authors I don’t like in the near future.