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Would the Local Blogosphere Benefit from a Blog Critic?

Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle TechBlog wrote a post asking, “Would the local blogosphere benefit from a blog critic?” He is talking about the Houston blogosphere, and a blog critic to help bloggers grow. I linked the post, you can read all the juicy details along with his “requirements.”

My response?

Personally, I think it is a terrible idea. I’ve been blogging for over 6 years now, since before the word “blog” was a household name or had caught the media’s attention in any way. I have hundreds of readers daily. However, in a “blog critic’s” eyes, my site might be terrible. And you know what? I don’t care.

I blog for me in the end. I write when I want to write, about what I want to write. When it comes to reading blogs, you either read it because you want to read it, you have a common interest with the person, or you don’t.

I’ve seen many attempts at being “blog critics” in the past, all of which have failed TERRIBLY. Feelings get hurt, names get called, mud gets slung. It always ends up BAD. It is much like the situation that happens around the blog awards that people coordinate. Not good at all.

I don’t think the Chronicle or its representatives should have any part in that. If you find a blog that is interesting and you feel it deserves attention, great. That is how my photoblog ended up in the Chronicle years ago, and another site of mine ended up in the NY Post. Positive reviews are great, but once you point out that a site has poor writing or bad code, it is going to get ugly.

I think Charles Kuffner said it best when he pointed out that whoever takes the task would need asbestos underwear. It would be flame city before long.

And my pet peeve of the day? When sites have the “TypeKey” sign-in link on their comment page and then don’t have it enabled. Gah! Remove the link or fix the code. Does Akismet work for MT? Because personally, that is the best thing ev-ah for getting rid of spam. I love being spam free!

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

8 replies on “Would the Local Blogosphere Benefit from a Blog Critic?”

Yeah, I can’t see how that would ever be a good idea. I’ve never really understood any sort of ‘blog review’ thing–or why anyone would put their site up for one. (I blog for me, too.)

I disagree. If the critic sticks to what he’s supposed to review and stays out of commenting on the content (which is what a critic should do), then it should be fine. I used to do blog critic work, and I never had any flame wars or complaints. Then again, I tended to be very tactful, respectful, and never reviewed their content; I only reviewed style, format, technical prowess, layout, etc. What people write on blogs is sacred to them and as such, is non-reviewable. Everything else, however… well, that’s all fair game. Ironically, my blog would suck if I were to review it. I haven’t changed templates in over four years, and I won’t for probably another four. I, like most, blog for me, but with that said, some people don’t. Some people want to be the center of attention, and will go out of their way to post, post, and post just to get comments that fuel their egos. Those people would like a blog critic. It’s like Adam Sandler’s character in Spanglish: he hated the review process, but once he got four stars, it was mostly alright.

Maybe that is part of it for me – really, a blog is mainly about the content from my point of view – and like you said, it isn’t something a critic should review.

Anyone can buy a pretty design or create one themselves, but if what you have to say is crap, it isn’t any better if you wrap the crap up and stick a bow on top of it. And no one would want someone to tell them that their blog is crap – well, other than Laurance Simon, who says at the top of his site that his blog is full of crap…

Hi Christine, totally off topic but couldn’t quickly see your e-mail addy. That roving was from Homespun Haven, a nice lady named Sharon Wickstrom runs it. It was labeled Corriedale, but it’s not the softest or drapiest Corrie I’ve ever spun. Colours are amazing though. Try Good luck!

I think his first mistake was calling his idea “blog critic.” I think someone who wrangles blogs and comments on them, just making us aware of new blogs in Houston or buzz creating posts without critical commentary, or with little critical commentary would be a great idea. Besides, isn’t that what we are doing right now? Commenting on Dwight’s post? Hello.

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