Blogs are now a significant part of our reading lives (I'm including you since you are now engaged in reading a blog). They're where we get our fresh information, guidance on the debates around key issues and, for many of us, a place to build communities of interest. But what of the actual writing on blogs – is it any good? Does it stand up to comparison with the kind of writing you find in 'old' (what bloggers like to call 'dead tree') media?
Historian Stephen Howe, for one, is sceptical. In a review for New Humanist of two recent books written by political bloggers - Liberal Fascism by National Review Online blogger Jonah Goldberg, and The Liberal Defence of Murder by Lenin's Tomb author Richard Seymour - he finds that in the transition to the printed page all the faults of those with 'blogorrhea' are starkly revealed: sloppy research, cheap name-calling, historical immaturity, overstatement, distortion, factual errors and near-endless repetition. Compared to the short-attention-span ever-scrolling world of the blog, where repetition isn't so easily spotted, and consistency matters little, Howe reminds us that "Books are supposed to be a bit different. People pay real money and give up precious shelf-space for them. They are supposed to have some enduring value, however slight."
So can bloggers translate to the printed page? Should they even bother? Are there any books out there written by bloggers which suggest that Howe is wrong? If so please let us know in the forums.