Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The blogging "we."

Who decreed that professional bloggers are required to refer to themselves as "we" in their posts? Is it somehow unprofessional to imply that there is an individual human being behind each post? I assume it is an outgrowth of the convention that first person point of view is taboo in most academic essays, and most professional bloggers probably have some sort of academic writing background. Instead of relying on "one" as a substitute for "I", bloggers use "we," as if to imply that there is an entire team collaborating on each post. It is the nature of blogging, however, to sprinkle personal information and anecdotes into even the most distanced and analytical of posts, which renders the blogging "we" patently absurd. Certain bloggers seem to believe that by eschewing the word "I", they will avoid the trap of self-referential blogging. But if you write a self-referential sentence with "we" instead of "I" as the subject, you are still being self-referential, and now you sound both silly and pretentious to boot.

This phenomenon used to really bother me when I read Fashionista, but they seem to have gotten it under control for the most part. They still use the blogging "we," but only when it is at least moderately feasible that the writer could be sharing an opinion or experience on behalf of the entire team. One thing that I really like about Gawker and Jezebel is that they allow the writers to distinguish themselves as different individuals with different tastes and opinions and experiences, a policy that I find both more honest and more interesting.

So bloggers, unless you are royalty, please consider using the word "I" when you are talking about yourself! Acknowledging the fact that you are an individual doesn't undermine your authorial authority, but distracting grammatical inconsistencies do.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if I read enough blogs to get very annoyed by their use of the royal we, but people use it in intellectual discussions all the time. "We" do this or "we" do that, when in fact I'm totally not with them and then feel like a dick for disagreeing with them, or they then just brush me aside by telling me that since I'm not apart of their one person "we" than I'm the weird one. Good Point!