Clear Blogging: How People Blogging Are Changing The World And How You Can Join Them, by Bob Walsh
Reading this book is a fascinating look at the ancient history of blogging in 2007, at which time I was already working on both a personal blog beat on LiveJournal and a more essay based blogging on Blogger. In reading this blog one can read between the lines at how leftist activists like the author sought to recruit like-minded people to engage in writing with the point of view of contemporary journalism. To be sure, it appears that the author of this book seeks to conflate the term “clear” with saving the world and both of those terms with a leftist bias that is simultaneously not very self-aware. It is fascinating to read this blog in light of the thirteen years that have gone on since then as well as in light of being someone with very different thoughts and political worldviews than the writer of this book and his ideal audience. One can write very clear blogs without being sympathetic with the author’s virtue signalling and his desire to recruit people to at least the outer ring (if not the inner ring) of contemporary leftist blogging, a place I most certainly would not feel personally welcome.
This book is more than 300 pages long and is divided into four parts and fifteen chapters. The book begins with a foreword, information about the author and technical reviewer as well as acknowledgements and an introduction. After that the first part of the book explores the desirability of making noise on behalf of the leftist revolution (I), with chapters on why one should blog (1), hooking into the blogosphere (2), and getting started (3). After that the author discusses building one’s blog (II), including some qualities that good blogs share (4), building a personal blog (5) with a personal voice, and professional blogging (6) as well as building a company blog (7). The author then looks at some secrets of influential bloggers (III) in providing some power tools (8) for bloggers, looking at what makes a blogger a success (9), looking at blogs as part of a new fourth estate (10), adding podcasting (11), monetizing one’s blog for fun and profit (12), and building readership (13). Finally, the author looks at blogging toward the future (IV) for progressives through blogging on the front lines of the culture wars (14), and welcoming the reader to a dystopian vision of the future (15), after which the book closes with an index.
The bias of this book is breathtaking in its totality. The author praises the journalism of an MSN or CNN, but not Fox News. The author celebrates the community of vox.com and highlights someone who was gratified that their writing was included on the Daily Kos but has nothing to say about RedState or Townhall. The author celebrates the thinking of anonymous police officers and wives writing about their beats and of atheists but has nothing good to say about Christians. And the author looks at citizen blogging that helped to elect Democratic candidates in the 2006 congressional investigations but not the citizen journalists who have helped to bring down corrupt abortionists, for example. Over and over again the author claims the highest journalistic standards for activist leftist bloggers, showing a clear bias but not admitting the bias and the way that it cuts against one’s claims to be providing truth that is fair and balanced. This book demonstrates the same sort of flaws in framing and bias that the leftist media in general does, and even shows corporate blogging from the point of view of woke tech companies seeking to use blogging as a way of virtue signalling to others. And if such flaws are clear to me as a reader, one wonders why the writer was not savvy enough or well-advised enough to revise accordingly.