Sunday, January 28, 2007

More craft, less crap

In Wampeters Foma & Granfalloons (1974), the always playful, original and somewhat cranky, Kurt Vonnegut, says of the 'writing trades': 'They allow mediocre people who are patient and industrious to revise their stupidity, to edit themselves into something like intelligence.'

Now, I’m not calling everyone in the blogosphere mediocre but let’s be honest. There’s a lot of self-indulgent, poorly-written prose out here. It should be easy to avoid. Like television, all we have to do is tune out and turn off. But yes, I admit it: I am fascinated, enthralled and somewhat click-addicted so I spend longer here than I probably should.

Case in point: this past week there was a spew-fest about the social media news release and its relevance and/or need. OK, that sounds like a useful discussion for someone in PR. But what started with an idea soon deteriorated into self-justification, posturing, and energizer bunny writing (it just kept going and going). I tried to follow it, but eventually gave up and immediately regretted the time I could have otherwise spent reading, thinking or just plain talking to someone the old fashioned way.

It’s hard to write well. Most people can't. The craft requires intelligence, creativity, commitment, practice, discipline, honesty and time. I say slow down: revise, edit, reflect (repeat).

Come to think of it, a touch of sparkle and style wouldn’t hurt a wit (sic). Get off that high horse and put ‘da mock’ into social media democracy.

Bla-bla-blog...

2 comments:

David Jones said...

Amen to that. You get used to it, I suppose, but there is a lot of piling on and self-aggrandizing that goes on when ideas and approaches are challenged publicly...just like in real life.

I'm not sure if you have made the short leap to listening to PR and marketing podcasts...but you'll find more of the same there :)

Martin Waxman said...

Thanks David. And no, I haven't leapt into that particular void yet...so much time, so little time...