Ok, Ok, we took a new tack and tried to write our story in the style of a blog. Not everyone is thrilled. Nicholas Carr writes, "Is that really the style of a blog? I'm so ashamed."
His point, while snide, raises an question we wrestled with throughout the whole process. What is the style of a blog? My belief is that there is no such thing--or at least there shouldn't be. After all, styles are constraints. That's something we know all about in the weekly magazine biz. Blog writing, by contrast, should be unfettered.
Of course, it's widely believed that blogs have a style: relaxed, edgy, irreverent. You know the drill.
So while we were writing the story, we kept getting feedback from editors: This paragraph is too BusinessWeeky!
We adjusted. Why? We were writing a magazine piece, albeit one dressed loosely as a blog. We were still operating in a world of magazine constraints, including the new one: that it had to be bloggy. (By the way, I'm not blaming anyone for this. Writing it in this style was my idea...)
But I predict that as blogs grow and diversify, people will realize that a blog style is simply anyone writing (or speaking) freely.
The paradox: Heather and I, now that we've finished writing the magazine piece in a "bloggy style," may have the freedom as bloggers to write in a style that comes more naturally to us. We may end up sounding like BusinessWeek.
One more document: Just got this e-mail from Peter Galuszka, a former BW bureau chief who clearly had some issues with the 'bloggy' style:
3:47 A.M. Dammit, it's my fifth cup of coffee tonight and I still can't get through this piece. It keeps on saying " Continued tomorrow" How can that be if it's a printed weekly magazine? When is tomorrow?
5:55 A.M. A wasted night.A wasted morning. I'm getting little nibs and nabs about blog stats. WHERE IS THE BLEEPING NUT GRAPH?!!!!
7:33 A.M. Time to get started on my real job. But my nerves are shot. My hands are shaking from a tough night trying to get through the BW cover.
9:11 A.M. ARRRGGGH! Baker, don't ever do this again!