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If you read the Associated Press article, A Union For Bloggers?, understand that the quote from Susie Madrak are her words, but not necessarily in that order, or with that intent.

What Susie is looking for is a way of using the numbers of bloggers to try and get some help with specific issue, paramount among them, health insurance.

This would be more of a professional organization than a traditional labor union, because almost everyone is doing this on their own dime. If you limit to political/issue bloggers it is easier to find similarities that would benefit from cooperation, i.e. health care, media credentials, legal issues, etc. It would be possible to have an umbrella organization that would benefit from sheer numbers, as in the insurance quest, with subordinate units for interest areas. There really are economies of scale.


1 whig { 08.07.07 at 12:50 am }

A bloggers’ guild seems a good idea to me.

2 hipparchia { 08.07.07 at 1:49 am }

i’d sure like to be able to get health insurance, but i’m not sure i want to live up to professional standards.

3 whig { 08.07.07 at 3:14 am }

We might wind up recreating a republic if we go far enough. If that’s a good idea or not, I offer no opinion at the moment.

4 Elayne Riggs { 08.07.07 at 7:42 am }

If bloggers aren’t professional (i.e., if we’re hobbyists), how can we have a professional organization?

5 Bryan { 08.07.07 at 10:36 am }

Hipparchia, I can’t see that standards would be anything but options, like the various certifications you can test for in IT. If the standards are formally expressed, it serves as a benchmark for outsiders to make judgments. That would be something that would only be of value to the hardcore political types who already function as journalists without the general acceptance.

Whig, I think it is multi-layered, with the first layer being mutual assistance in a formalized structure. In addition to things that benefit from numbers, like insurance, it could also act as a clearing house for problems. Until the process is further along, there’s no real way of knowing what it will become.

Elayne, you are a professional at ComicMix and a “hobbyist” at Pen Elayne. To be worth anything, a union/guild has to truly be voluntary. There are people who only view political blogs as serious, but I spend time on blogs that cover a lot of different areas, just as I subscribed to a lot of different news groups a few years ago. If you are adding to the knowledge base, on whatever topic, and doing it via a blog, you’re a blogger. If Peggy Noonan can be a journalist, I don’t see why Meg at Cute Overload can’t be a blogger.

I am interpreting “professional” as simply referring to blogging, i.e. the “profession” or process of blogging as a distinct activity or skill, and nothing more. In precise terms, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison were “hobbyists,” as were most of those now considered scientists in the 19th century.

6 hipparchia { 08.07.07 at 8:20 pm }

the hobbyist blogger i most admire.

there’s a lot to be said for attaining his degree of professionalism, and i’ve considered aiming for something like it myself, but then i’d feel constrained in what i want to say at times. it’d be a difficult tradeoff: shape up and fly straight and get mutual assistance, or wing it on your own, free as a bird.

i dunno, any guild that would have me probably isn’t worth joining. then again, we have bill o’reilly, robert novak, rush limbaugh, … as examples of a professionalism that i can never hope to aspire to.

7 Bryan { 08.07.07 at 8:52 pm }

I think we are paying more attention to words than to meaning. There’s a lot of power and wisdom in e pluribus unum, and recently to Franklin’s warning that: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

8 whig { 08.07.07 at 10:20 pm }

I agree, Bryan.

9 Bryan { 08.07.07 at 10:56 pm }

Full disclosure, I’ve been a member of a trade union, a craft union, and professional unions. The first two were based on my specific job and employer, but the professional unions based on my career unrelated to a specific job. That’s why I felt is was a more appropriate name.

Perhaps, on reflection, guild might be more appropriate, but a guild implies standards, and I’m not sure that I would want to go that way.

The thing about blogs is that on any given day I have musicians, chemists, physicists, lawyers, historians, economists, IT people, artists, architects, and multiple other specialists that I read and interact with. I have people from all over the world dropping by my little patch. That’s a massive amount of experience and knowledge available, and I wouldn’t want to restrict it.