When does a blog, in the sense of an individual piece of work and not the platform itself, become an article?
Conventional wisdom suggests that word count dictates the definition of what constitutes a blog piece and when it theoretically morphs into an article.
Is there though more to it than just the length of what has been written, and published?
Without making examples of any particular platforms, this one included, are certain formats and Content Management Systems(CMS) assumed to contain blog posts, and those alone? Can the quality of content and its subject matter be overlooked because of who is hosting it? And/or, can subject matter alone dictate how an item of written work is perceived, should for example a scholarly piece be under 1,000 words? Despite the author’s presumed preeminence in his or her field would this relatively modest word count downgrade the item from article to blog status, and subsequently not be given worthy respect and attention?
It is of course arguable that an academic study or even extremely meticulously researched copy underpinned with the author’s personal knowledge and experience is extremely likely to come in at way over 1,000 words, purely by dint of its authoritative and forensic content?
Has though the word blog, and to blog, always failed to be given sufficient credence, especially when in its early incarnation the image of the average ‘blogger’ was of a failed writer, or of someone who would never make it as one and before the advent of the Internet wouldn’t have contemplated putting down onto paper, or screen, their inner thoughts and experiences? The Internet has given a voice and platform to everyone, many of whom from which the world would be far better off without their skewed, conspiratorial opinions often aired without factual basis or intelligence. Perhaps as you read this, my last sentence is not without considerable irony…
Which neatly brings me to my next point: why write a blog that nobody reads?
My viewing statistics have of late gone off a cliff. Should that, and does that bother me? Yes and no. The answer to why continue writing when considerable effort garners few if any hits, one has to look for the motivation behind the publishing of content in this manner. What spurs on my writing is to secure full-time employment in a creative environment, where written communication is meaningful and taken notice of.
The methodology I have used to snare a suitable role in life has been to back up each tailored supporting statement with a link to my blog/article repository as a showcase of my talents, knowledge, and ability to craft authoritative content on the many subjects where my interest is the deepest and most profound. In theory at least this helps to keep my writing sharp and honest, and to inform anybody actually reading in a way that is verifiable, from a position of knowledge but in a manner that is easy to follow.
If then I was simply seeking to write down my inner thoughts and be a general mouthpiece of, for example, the Austrian Tirol, Slovenia’s Julian Alps and the plight of citizens within Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedow’s Turkmenistan, the amount of clicks and hits would be a distant second to simply pursuing my interests in the public domain, with anything coming from that being an unexpected bonus.
The fact though that the statistical element of my WordPress account is clear as to how the infrequent visitors arrive at my writing, and how the link to it on the top of my Curriculum Vitae is barely, if ever, clicked through. When applying for job roles where their very essence is the ability to produce written work of a certain standard, and having a portfolio that proves it, the lack of ‘click throughs’ is exceptionally frustrating.
Now, I am not for one second suggesting that I am a writer of the highest calibre, but I do find it hard to accept being overlooked by prospective employers without first having my work appraised. If on being viewed my applications and ability are judged pejoratively, I will at least feel that the process of application and accept/reject has more balance to it than a constant stream of rejections, or by otherwise being completely ignored.
There is therefore pressure to continue writing on this or any other suitable platform, which in some way takes away the pleasure and sense of achievement attached to crafting a well-founded piece of written work. If my writing was constructed with a freer mindset would I enjoy it more? Unlikely. I revel in exhaustive detail, facts, and my own experiences being melded into work to which I am proud to put my name, including particular attention to grammar, syntax, and spelling – which isn’t to say I get these essentials completely right every time, but to take a more relaxed approach could see these crucial areas of the printed word being significantly compromised.
Pressure in the blogosphere can also stem from monetizing content, should that be a particular motivation for the author. Although I do pay attention to Search Engine Optimization(SEO) best practice that is more to do with ensuring all relevant words appear in my work, and to give my theoretical viewership the most accurate picture possible of what I am attempting to impart. There is no suggestion in my writing that I am pursuing clicks through the use of SEO for financial gain, nor have I ever used it for this purpose; I instead seek a way for my writing to organically become one of the ‘top picks’ in Bing and Google searches, which in itself reflects on its quality, or lack of it. When though writing on niche subjects and minority interests, ranking highly in online searches will only modestly increase viewership.
There is also a case of bloggers selling out to chase clicks, and money earned through them, by compromising the integrity of content and handing much of it over to sponsored links as a way to make a living. This then becomes less about the actual writer(and his or her credentials and convictions) but more to do with who is yanking their chains, and in effect paying their bills.
In what has become a long answer to the questions posed above and, as I type, is leaving behind the word count definition of a blog, the only real certainty in what constitutes a blog over an article, and vice versa, is the actual length of it content. What subject is contained within, its professorial credentials, and the author’s identity and reputation are in the main irrelevant or subjective.
I will continue to pursue my efforts to secure the right job role for me by publishing content on this and/or other platforms, and for the time being the sole purpose of securing a position in life where my knowledge and abilities will come to the fore. When my overriding objective has been accomplished, will I continue to write on what matters to me? You bet. At least then I won’t feel the burden of continuing something that has no guarantee of working but will then have an outlet to keep my PAID WORK sharp, and honest.