I heard Andrew Marr (an otherwise intelligent chap) sounding off in a rant about bloggers.
He sneered that they are "inadequate, pimpled and single" loners who rant about the world from the safety of their mothers' basements.
Well of course he had to show off at a literary festival that he could be as vituperative as the best of opinionated columnists, but if you don't mind I'd just make two points.
The first obvious point is that he didn't distinguish between the different types of blogs. He was snarling at news bloggers, amateur journos telling the world about the news in their corner of the globe - and often ignoring professional standards of balance and perspective as well as replacing facts with opinion and rumour. At best these folks can tell it like it is because they're there, in Hurricane Katrina, in army controlled Burma, in a blizzard or a political storm; at worst it's just bile and rant. That's what you get from the freedom to write with new media; these are the strengths and the weaknesses.
However some of us bloggers may have other intentions.
Our blog about Patience is intended to be both a travelogue and a guide to owning a narrow boat. A worthy enough aim, I think. For me it reminds me of our trips and provides boating information that we wished we had when we first bought her. I'm sure Sam Pepys would have blogged, though anonymously .....
The other obvious point is that bloggers come in all shapes and sizes and the only common link is that they want to keep an online diary. Imagine a well-educated and reasonably sociable family man and writer in his fifties and with a moderately successful career behind him. The description fits both Marr and me. Barely a pimple in sight between us. However, I don't vent my spleen at literary gatherings. And he gets paid well for giving his sensationalist opinions.
I just blog.