Are You a Thinking Blogger?

Filed as Features on February 20, 2007 8:23 am

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Ilker Yoldas has created the . I first read about it first on one of my favorite history blogs, Boston 1775, when historian J.L. Bell was nominated for this interesting meme. I started researching this a little more and writing this article, then I was nominated by Dana of huffenglish.com. It never occurred to me that anyone would think I was a “thinking blogger”.

It got me really thinking about the definition of a thinking blogger. What does it take to qualify as a thinking blogger?

According to the rules for the , a thinking blogger is defined as a “blogger that makes you think”.

After you are nominated, in the meme tradition, it requires you to nominate five thinking bloggers and post links and badges accordingly. It still doesn’t clearly define what a thinking blogger is.

What is a Thinking Blogger?

Obviously, the patent answer would be “a blogger who makes me think”. If a blogger gets your brain ticking over, processing information, then that blogger’s writing has made you think.

Is that enough?

I find myself often intrigued by some very well written blog posts, often enough to write about them, but I find myself thinking more and more, “That’s nice. I’ll have to think about that more later.” instead of thinking, “Oh, wow! That’s incredible! I need to think about that now!”

Don’t you?

I end up with a huge list of bookmarked posts to get back to “later”, whenever that is. So the definition of a “blogger that makes me think” isn’t enough for me. I need something more.

A thinking blogger could be someone who inspires me, encourages me to keep on doing what I do. They make me think about what I’m blogging about, thus getting me thinking. Do they qualify as thinking bloggers?

Maybe. I see them more as mentors and motivators, teachers if you will, guiding me along the path to be a better blogger, writer, photographer, or whatever. They make me think, but they make me think about me, my issues, my concerns, my ability, and how I’m going to work on “me”.

Would a thinking blogger be someone who makes me think more about myself and my abilities?

That’s still not enough for me.

In “Fortune Cookie Blogging“, I went on a rampage against all the platitudes I was reading on blogs. People writing fortune cookie blogs filled with middle of the road, “kinder and gentler” blogging styles, avoiding a serious opinion or stance on anything. Just regurgitation of the same old same old. Echo chamber. Hello! Anyone in there…there…there…there? Nope, no opinions here!

While writing my rant against pacifist bloggers, I remembered an old bit:

…You know, morally committed people in South Vietnam knew how to stage a demonstration. They knew how to put on a protest. Light yourself on fire! Come on you moral crusaders, let’s see a little smoke to match the fire in your belly.

That’s what I’m looking for in a thinking blogger. Someone totally committed to their belief. It’s more than that, too.

It’s passion.

It’s that fire in your belly, morally committed passion that leaps off the blog page.

You know it from the moment you land on the blog and read the first sentence. You know this person knows what they are talking about, how to talk about it, and that this is place to find the information you want. You know you’ve come to the right place.

There is no doubt. You know in an instant that this is someone who knows what they are blogging about.

That’s a thinking blogger.

One who not only thinks about their blogging, they know about that which they blog – down to their toes.

These are the bloggers who will keep me thinking about their words long after I’ve finished reading them. Their passion boils up through their writing to flow out of the computer and into my heart and mind. Two, three, or four hours, maybe a day or two, or even months later, their words will bubble up out of my unconscious like an old song I can’t get out of my head.

Their words invoke images, vivid thoughts, and possible changes of mind. Their words are food to my hungry spirit. I want more.

Their blog represents a body of work which creates a sense of trust and respect for their opinion and advice. I know they honestly know what they are talking about.

These are the bloggers who don’t need to brag, show off, or honk their horns. They don’t need parlor tricks on their blogs. They don’t need to. These are humble folks who blog about their passion and it shines through. It can’t help it. You know it, you feel it, you experience it effervescing from among the sentences on the page.

You know this person is living, and writing, their passion.

Most importantly, this kind of thinking blogger makes me want to tell someone about what I just read. Not later. NOW. And, without a doubt, they make me want to write about what I just read. I can’t help myself. I have to share the passion!

It’s almost a religious experience.

These are bloggers who don’t just make me think, they make me blog. They make me be a better blogger, and a better person, through my blog. Through their passionate blogging, they make me think beyond me, to changing the world around me as I blog.

Now, do I personally think I qualify under my criteria to be considered a “thinking blogger”?

Not a chance.

Then again, that answer might also qualify me as a thinking blogger. At least on the “humble” qualification. ;-)

What’s your definition of a thinking blogger?


Lorelle VanFossen blogs about blogging and WordPress on .

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  1. By John Evans (Syntagma) posted on February 20, 2007 at 10:19 am
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    Real thinking bloggers are thin on the ground, but if you keep looking, there are a surprising number out there.

    I would define them as natural philosophers who can write, but more phenomenologist than theoretican : the thinker who engages with the world as it is, but beckons the thought of how it might be, and conveys how wonderful it is to be doing this right now.

  2. By Ashish Mohta posted on February 20, 2007 at 1:58 pm
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    Guess then I am .I dont give people just news i make them think what is wrong and right, what can be the benefit or what they can loose.May be i havent reached that mark yet but i am in the race

  3. By ilker posted on February 20, 2007 at 2:25 pm
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    Very well thought. I left a comment about this on my blog as well. Also, Thanks for the link. I wouldn’t be able to find this article otherwise. =)

  4. By Rory posted on February 20, 2007 at 3:53 pm
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    The term “Thinking Blogger” makes me attribute the “thinking” to the blogger. So, I agree with much of your definition when it comes to a blogger who writes with passion, and “thinks about their blogging.” I’m not sure it would necessarily mean any thinking done on the part of the reader – though this would often be a byproduct.

    It might just be semantics, but it seems to me that “a blogger who makes me think” would be a thought provoking blogger.

    So: A “Thinking Blogger” might well be a “Though-Provoking Blogger”, but the two are not necessarily interchangeable. A “Thinking Blogger” might just turn out to be a crashing bore. A “Thought-Provoking Blogger” never would.

  5. By Valeria Maltoni posted on February 20, 2007 at 8:01 pm
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    How about a blogger who makes you think about something in a way that inspires you to *do* something as a result. “The ancestor to every action is a thought.” If the writing is so vivid, the words so alive, the thinker so inspirational, you should be ready to leap into the world and make something happen. I’m in favor.

  6. By Chris Baskind posted on February 20, 2007 at 8:45 pm
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    I’m with Valeria on this: how are blogs *really* changing the world? It’s one thing to think (a good thing), and another to act. I’d love to hear more stories about how something a blogger wrote inspired real-world change.

  7. By Lorelle VanFossen posted on February 20, 2007 at 11:03 pm
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    I agree that a blogger who inspires you to act is on the right track to be a “thinking blogger”. It’s the end of the sentence “inspires you to do _________” that troubles me. That’s why I wasn’t happy enough with a thinking blogger who inspired me to think about “me” but definitely a thinking blogger is one who inspires to you act.

    Well said. And I’m with you on the real-world change stories.

  8. By Harry barnes posted on February 25, 2007 at 5:16 pm
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    Shouldn’t a thinker be able to make a seriously minded person either consider a problem they had never faced up to before, or re-examine their assumptions on a matter they have considered? Such a thinker would themselves need to use empirical evidence with some rigour and argue in ways that are clear and analytical. They will also need to appreciate that understandings grow when they are in dialogue with opposing understandings and arguments. So that the thinker should not appear to be all-knowing, but as someone who is capable of clarifying and adjusting their own understandings via the same dialectical techniques?

  9. By ilker posted on February 27, 2007 at 11:37 pm
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    I thought leaving a comment would not do you justice considering the amount of thinking you have put in for this post. I had to blog about it.

  10. By Becky posted on February 28, 2007 at 2:42 am
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    Although it wasn’t universal, before the era of Universal democratic publication, much of the printed word did qualify as thinking. After all, people had to spend some time preparing the material. It was selected because it got some type of reaction or invoked a feeling in readers i.e. thinking. And people expected to get some kind of thinking reaction.

    Now days we expect nothing–the adventures of a 14 year old and how her cat is doing, the doings of Britney Spears and the rest. We celebrate live-blogging–where some robotone is sitting in a court room or watching the Oscars and without any type of thought is spilling out the first thought and reaction that comes to her–and doing it just as fast as she can.

    There was a time when people did not have cell phones and feel the need to share every single thought that popped in their mind. Blogging is the same way–every idiotic, incomplete, useless, uninteresting thought is instantaneously published to the world.

    A thinking blog is simply one that resists that trend.

    ~Becky

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