Someone recently asked me, “How would you define an expert in the blogosphere, what attributions, experience or credentials would make them credible?”
Heavens! An “expert in the blogosphere”? I admit it. I stumbled a bit on the question. There are so many spheres in which people blog these days, I could hardly wrap my mind around the question. It’s like contemplating infinity!
I was reminded strongly of Dwight Silverman’s recent quest for a “blog critic”:
This person would have to be someone who’s non-partisan, who’s been blogging awhile, and who has the respect of the blogging community.
How does one measure the “respect of the blogging community”? And does “respect” equate to “credibility“? I don’t think so, but the mental exercise turns out to have been good for me, because I was finally able to put my thumb on a couple of things:
- Quality — If a blogger can’t write well, Polimom, at least, won’t take them seriously. That doesn’t mean the blog doesn’t have terrific ideas or information; there may be some wonderful nuggets buried under appalling grammar, spelling, or syntax. Given the choice, though, I will choose an articulate, well-presented entry every time. Those are the blogs Polimom respects and sees as most credible, in all subject areas.
- Substantiation and expansion — Regurgitating news items without comment is totally useless. If you’re online (and not totally inept), you can find the stories at their original source. What a waste of time! Conversely, I find it frustrating when a blogger opines or makes references without quotes, links, or snippets.
- Rational — In terms of politics, I tend to choose moderates for the “Daily Reads” – those who don’t rant from the left or right as a general rule. Bloggers that consistently blast Bush or Clinton (I’m referring to Hillary here…), swear continuously, etc., are not credible. They require constant “filtering” to get through the bias. However, Polimom is able to respect their opinions. Usually.
- Aliases — Finally – there are some who feel that blogging under a pseudonym (as I do) detracts from one’s credibility. I don’t know if that’s true, but it comes up now and again. There are, however, a number of bloggers I read, respect, find credible, who approach things in the same way. It’s possible (probable?) that people would find Polimom more credible if I blogged under my real name, or posted my photo, but I don’t see how.
As a result of this person’s question, though (and my resulting soul-search), I decided to add a bit more information about myself to the “So who’s Polimom, anyway?” page. Will that increase someone’s respect for my writing? I doubt it, but it might satisfy some curiosity.
All in all, this was a fascinating thought process for me, and I’m truly curious what other people think here.
Tell me: How do you define credibility in the blogosphere? Who do you respect, and why?