“Not all bloggers are writers,” some writers may argue. But as the previously exclusive hierarchical club of best-selling authors, published authors, academicians, corporate writers, publishers, editors, columnists, reporters, struggling writers, and the lowly hao siao is liberalized, the term “writer” is redefined.
So, where does a “real writer” fit in the Web 2.0 world? Before anyone gives us a red flag for being snotty elitists, let us explain that for this post alone, “real writers” will be professional ones and make it their main source of income.
Now, there are published authors who enjoy engaging their readers by being active on Facebook and Twitter in addition to a regular blog online. Paulo Coelho is one, and he even video blogs. But the rest, who are more comfortable with seeing their words on paper and the obscurity of their mugshots, decide to keep things old school and write exclusively for traditional media. I think of David Sedaris who we asked a few years ago about his online presence and he answered flatly: “I can never get into it.”
The thing is, a blog is to a writer as theatre is to an actor. A blog writer, therefore, has an audience in a space that’s interactive, where feedback is instantly measurable, and the applause, or lack of it, is palpable. Though all writers can blog, not everyone has the appetite to do so. And then you have bloggers who try to write with an almost rabid appetite for keywords and ubiquitous online ads with no regard for flow or coherence. They seem to take these as concessions afforded by online marketing. But then we don’t really put billboards in national archives, do we?
In our brand-driven attention economy, who is the bigger influencer? Team Bloggers or Team Writers? There’s no accurate answer to that question at the moment and we’re not going to argue a side either. However, this is something each company needs to decide for themselves the next time they need to hire someone to maintain good blogs.