Simon Dumenco’s Ad Age Column, A Blogger Is Just A Writer With A Cooler Name, misses a crucial distinction between blogging and writing — it’s technology that enables the conversation. Steve Rubel almost makes this observation by linking throughout his response to the column, but he doesn’t draw it out explicitly. Steve is absolutely right that the difference is in the dialogue, but I think the role of technology is what makes that distinction meaningful.
Without the power of trackbacks and pingbacks, the blogosphere would be a much more inefficient and less effective place. The problem for bloggers is that most Old Media people don’t understand that aspect of the technology. (I’ll confess that I was quite flummoxed by it when I started blogging.) Bloggers have done a great job helping people understand the innovation of blogging as “conversation,” but we haven’t done much to help people understand the technology — I was accused by one commenter on BuzzMachine of creating spam with the automatic trackback that I generated when I linked to the post, which lead me to post a (probably much too spirited) defense.
And this was from someone who appears to be a regular blog reader. Imagine how confusing it must be to someone who takes a casual look at blogs. I think it’s wrong (even condescending) to assume that the average person (or even Old Media vets) who are curious about blogging either can’t or don’t want to understand the technology. Perhaps if Simon Dumenco’s 30-something friend had explained it to him, he could have written a column to explain it to Old Media executives.
Too bad I can’t trackback to Simon’s column. Maybe he should petition AdAge to start his own blog — or just start one, like the rest of us did. No better way to learn than by doing.