Blogging – Graffiti with Punctuation or Real Writing?

In the recently released movie “Contagion”, a researcher is being harassed by a blogger who wants a story. The researcher turns to the blogger and says “Alan, blogging is not writing. It’s graffiti with punctuation!” And there the conversation ends.

It’s a fair point. To those who have had formal training (and informal struggle) with writing, taking courses and perfecting a craft, writing and then rewriting sentences, forming ideas and then tearing them apart, it is galling to have bloggers throw up a 500 word post with little thought.

But what if the blogger does think carefully about it? What if the blogger gets that idea, ponders it, forms a post, rethinks it, restructures, finds a picture, hears more information, adds another paragraph, and so on? Even if the blogger hasn’t had much formal training in writing, they are working hard at developing their craft – it’s just a different sort of craft. It’s a soundbite craft of sorts – give people a couple short paragraphs with hopes that they will think about it and go find out more.

So readers, what do you think? Is blogging real writing? Or is graffiti with punctuation an apt description? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section. And I promise – your views are welcome, whether you like blogs or not!

Lastly – a Happy Saturday to you – may your weekend be a weekend of rest and peace.

Check out these photos taken by my daughter of graffiti near our house! Makes me want to blog :)

21 thoughts on “Blogging – Graffiti with Punctuation or Real Writing?

  1. It’s a great quote, but … who’s the arbiter of real? A five-year-old scrawls a 15-word story in crayon, a rabid devotee of Star Trek: Voyager posts her shipper novel online, Danielle Steele has published her latest romance and a Pulitzer Prize winning essayist educates us on some subtle ethical dilemma. You know what? It’s all writing. I’ve had a good burger at a local joint and meals prepared by renowned chefs. Guess what? It’s all cooking … and if you’re starving, that burger may well nourish you more than the nouveau cuisine ever did.

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    1. Love this – so true. And I especially like your reference to a burger. The absolute worst burgers come from the fanciest restaurants….so there you have it.

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  2. I think both graffiti and blogging are both ways of expressing and sharing that expression. They may not always be what the people coming across them wish to read or see, for there are blogs out there that mean nothing to many readers as there is graffiti on the walls which most of us consider has terribly defaced the walls. There may no doubt be a number of young people disturbed enough to actually deface walls, but even they are probably trying to get some message across.
    There are no doubt a number of them who are artists and have some things that people really enjoy seeing and sharing.
    Basically I think the desire for blogging or graffiti or even street art or many other things, is a desire to express oneself, as well as share that expression with others. Others who are exposed to both may or may not appreciate it, that depends on how much those expressing themselves are actually able to connect with those who read or view the expressions.
    Graffiti is usually considered as destroying public property and defacing it, though some may truly be works of arts, while blogging not only is a way of sharing so much with others, but a way of of getting feedback, so that our original thoughts are further added to and enhanced, while our readers often receive information or knowledge or food for thought, or just plain enjoyment.
    The person doing graffiti may also wish to connect with their viewers or get praise or feedback. I say this because in Kuwait there is a very talented young man who does some good artwork on the walls near the beaches, signs it and leaves his email under them. No doubt he waits for words of praise to come though his mailbox.
    I think we all need to connect to others, and we all need witnesses to our lives. Blogging is only as good or bad as the blogger as is everything else.

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  3. I agree with Petra. Writing a blog allows a relationship to develop between the writer and the readers. Ironically that is what blogging has in common with many professional writers. But what’s so great about blogs is that writers and readers can choose from a smorgasbord of ideas and how and why people express themselves.

    The primary audience for my blog is my grown up children. It’s a way of talking to them about things that I otherwise might not, and a way of letting them get to know me better, if they choose to read my posts. It’s also a way of staying in touch with my friends. My blog also includes information about spinal cord injuries and is incidentally a means of conveying information to the disabled community.

    Marilyn, I enjoy reading your posts and I think that you write particularly well about a wide range of topics that often expand my thinking.

    That’s why I also agree with Little Gumnut. People who discount blogs as not real writing are missing out on some beautifully written, creative, provocative, essays.

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    1. Great comment and insight. I love that you write for your adult children. My sister-in-law remarked one day, as she saw comments from both my mom and my daughter, that it was such a unique intergenerational way of communicating. I appreciate very much your vote of confidence for my posts. I tend to be all over the map and know I lose some focus at times so appreciate the comment!

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  4. The comparison doesn’t make any sense to me. The blogs I’ve been apart of, or the ones I’ve read, have certainly been more substantial than graffiti…. I don’t get it!
    I guess if you really wanted to avoid confusion you could just abandon all punctuation!

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    1. Oh my gosh – do you think I could get away with abandoning all punctuation?! that would be a dream come true! I actually totally agree with you unless you look at it from Dave Turner’s point of view – There is some pretty great graffiti out there! Still waiting for the guest post!

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  5. I actually don’t mind as much as I thought I would about the graffiti/blogging comparison. Have you seen any of the street artist Banksy’s work, some of is incredibly thought provoking, confrontational, challenging and humourous. I think people who discount blogs as ‘Not Real Writing’ are selling themselves short. Sure there is an awful lot of trite rubbish out there but blogging is part of progress and change in society. To be snobby about bloggers and blogs in favour of Real Writers would be to miss out on an incredibly rich and creative source of new writers, writers who could potentially be mentored and developed, inspired to push their writing to new heights. And who knows what will come out of the blogging world? New inventions? New ideas? New social movements? Passions? World changers?

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    1. I certainly agree with you. I’ve posted some great pictures as an afterthought taken by my daughter. And as a social experiment, if you will, the blogging world has already seen some tremendous outcomes. Thanks for your blogging and continued commitment to great content! Love reading it.

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  6. I think your blog is real writing…..I would say my own can be a little of both…..sometimes I might post something that’s just fun and not meant to be great writing and then other times I AM trying to do something I can feel pride in. Not sure how often it comes out the way I planned, but I try.

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  7. It might depend on the blogger, if the blogger wishes to engage in real writing than he/she will blog accordingly. It is certain that you enjoy the art of writing; thus, your blogs are well developed. On the other hand, another blogger might prefer a telegraphic form of writing (incomplete sentences, short thoughts “similar to texting”). Essentially, it does not matter as long as the individuals following your blog enjoy your form of written communication.
    Wishing you a lovely morning,
    Petra

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    1. Petra – I am late in responding but wanted to thank you for this message. One of the things I am most grateful for in this medium is the relationships that can develop.

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