The Maniacal Rantings of the Urban Crone

Bear witness to the rantings of the Urban Crone as she emparts her wisdom in her own rather quirky way.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

What is a blog, really?

What is a blog?

A blog, in the simplest of terms, is a web page where an individual, or group of individuals, voice their opinion. Anyone can create a blog through any number of free sites, like this one, They do not do any sort of background check as to a person’s identity or credentials as far as the subject they are speaking on. In the case of individual blogs, like mine, there is no second or third party checking facts, or editing grammar or spelling (to my own often amused chagrin). It is just a person behind a keyboard writing their opinion on a topic.

It is hard to tell these days what is and isn’t a blog. When an individual quotes sources and includes facts, or what looks like facts, in what they write, it can often be perceived, or even be presented as a credible new article. This can sometimes be the case, if the author did their due diligence, and the information can be corroborated with other sources. In journalism, the standard (at least when I took journalism in college) is that your information should generally be able to be corroborated by three independent sources. That criteria seems to have slipped by the wayside in some cases.

With blogs that present information on Spirituality and Witchcraft, there really isn’t much in the way of criteria. In the best cases, these blogs present information as experienced by the author. These authors also understand that not everyone experiences things in the same way, and will generally try and present things in such a way where the reader can explore and interpret the information in a way that will best fit their own experience. Absolutes in blogs like these should be looked at with caution (unless it is common sense, like safety precautions). In blogs like these, the reader is relying on the integrity of the writer as to whether their information and experience are authentic.

Integrity also plays a crucial role in personal blogs. Personal blogs are those that are written to share individual experiences. They can be everything from travel diaries to actual personal diaries. These are written from the point of view of the author, as they see, experience and understand the subject of their blog post. These posts are colored by the perception and integrity of the author. There is no neutral third party standing over the author’s shoulder calling them out on a lie, or reminding them that a situation did not happen as they are writing it. It really comes down to the integrity of the author themselves. These blog posts can be entertaining, and even useful as the outside observer can often see lessons even the author misses, but should be taken with a grain of salt rather than the gospel truth.

The internet has become loaded down with blogs offering their own brands of truth and opinions. Whether it is a personal blog, a how-to blog, or a blog presented as a news article, it is important to look at the source, the motivation of the author in writing the piece, and the integrity of the author themselves. If they have written pieces in the past that have proven to be false, or at least questionable, or if the integrity of the author themselves has come under question on numerous occasions, the blog itself may not be what it is presented as. It is the reader’s responsibility to look at these things, especially if they are choosing to share the blog.

Too many opinion pieces are presented as real news articles. Too many personal blogs are shared as facts. We live in an incredible age of nonstop information, not all of which is true. It is our job to be informed readers not to take an author’s words as whole cloth truth, but to critically think for ourselves, looking at other sources and searching for the real truth within the words. In a world where anyone with internet access can now create a blog and write whatever they choose, posting it out there to the universe at large, this becomes that much more important.
By the way, this is an opinion piece, in case it wasn't clear, written by me after seeing several blogs posted as new articles, and several personal blogs posted as facts. Even if you see it on my blog, take the time to do the critical thinking for yourself. Knowledge is power. 

L. Sherman

The Urban Crone

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