On the Credit Writedowns blog today, Edward Harrison makes an extremely important point for readers/ participants in the financial blogosphere…
it occurred to me in retrospect that, as opinionated as I am, I have a tendency to speak in direct, declarative statements. I can leave people with the impression that I am absolutely certain of everything I say. It’s as if I don’t consider alternative views, or, if I do, only to ridicule them. A perfect example of this is the post “The Germans will not bailout Greece” from February. After I had written it, I was horrified at the strident tone and added an addendum at the end to tone it down.
One major difference between blogging and journalism is the leeway given to bloggers to make generalizations. The reader is smart enough (or is getting smart enough) to figure out that this is a writer’s device – not a statement of fact or a piece of hard news reportage. On a blog, the appearance of a declarative statement like the one Harrison describes above is a hybrid of exaggeration and shortcut. Bloggers can cut corners and make a paragraph’s worth of points in a single utterance – and they take advantage of their tacit ‘permission’ to do this very often.
When I say something like: “The game is over for those who create and market derivative products”, I am fully aware of how incredibly black and white that statement sounds, but I know my readers get the point that I am making.
Is leaning on this device laziness? A little, but I put enough blogging effort into other areas of my little self-publishing non-empire that I believe I can be excused.
Harrison and his excellent site can be excused as well. After all, he and I and the rest of our colleagues are doing something potentially important with very little in the way of resources at our disposal.