Janet Street Porter gets it wrong on blogging

Well – Janet doesn’t like us bloggers! Now – normally I’m a big fan of hers (sorry Iain!) but today she’s got it wrong in her attack on blogging in The Independent.

My main point of disagreement is that she points out that a lot of blogs are – not to put too fine a point on it – crap. Well, that’s true. But then the same is true of published books: an awful lot of published books aren’t that good and are read by hardly anyone.

Of the 86,000 books published in 2007, the majority only sell trivial numbers – but you wouldn’t judge the idea of a book by saying, “oh, they’re a waste of time, there’s so much vanity publishing, loads are awful and read by hardly anyone”.

What’s great about blogging is that it is easy for anyone to get into and give a try – and, yes, that means you get a lot of dross – but it also means that everyone gets the chance to make their mark and build up a wide readership if they are of good quality. (And of course, there’s nothing wrong with someone running a blog that’s aimed at just close friends and family. So what if your readership is only just into double figures if that’s who you are writing for? And so what if you are writing just about the details of your own life for that sort of audience? It’s what people used to do in letters to friends and family, and I don’t recall too many people declaiming, “It’s awful! I’ve just got another letter from my brother. And he tells me what’s he’s been doing. What a waste of time!”)

I do like the irony though with the Independent ending her piece saying:

To have your say on this or any other issue visit www.independent.co.uk/IoSblogs

Ah, that would be a blog then… (and you can read the comments from readers here).