Saturday, June 16, 2007

Blogs are weird.

I only now think I am beginning to see what they are.

I felt that blogs were dumb about four years ago. “I’ve kept an online journal since long before they were called blogs,” I thought. “So what’s the big deal w/blogs? Are they just an easy way for people to quickly put their crappy thoughts online?”

Back then, people pointed to the connectivity of blogs, but linking all over the stinkin’ web didn’t seem to be anything special. It just got people lost, and if someone wanted to, they could just search for whatever the blog was talking about in a search engine.

So, is a blog more than just a cutesy pop-culture name?

The following are from Websters:

Blogs. Web Log = a personal Web site that provides updated headlines and news articles of other sites that are of interest to the user, also may include journal entries, commentaries and recommendations compiled by the user; also written [web log], [Weblog]; also called [blog].

Diary = a record of events, transactions, or observations kept daily or at frequent intervals, a record of performance, events, or day-to-day activities especially : a daily record of personal activities, reflections, or feelings.

Journal = an account of day-to-day events, a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use.

Log = a record of performance, events, or day-to-day activities.

What makes a blog different? In part, it’s the fact that the term “bloggers” has slipped into usage. The thing that makes me keep reading the blogs I like is the author or source. The fact that ordinary people have gone from being “some shmuck who posts their musings online” to being labeled by society as a “blogger” elevates them. Just as being a “diarist” makes Anne Morrow more than just Charles Lindbergh’s wife, the culture surrounding the “blogsphere” (another grating pop-culture name which translates to “the portion of the web made up of blogs, including the bloggers”) has transformed someone like Julian Sanchez from an observant freelancer to a person who’s comments on everything from movies to the eHarmony dating site people now care about:

What it comes down to for me is deciding where I want to go with my blogs. Currently I have three: The Dream Thief is a blog I have kept since Nov. 2006 when I participated in National Novel Writer’s Month. I am still working on that novel and so thought that keeping a blog would still be a good idea. But perhaps I should just close it.

The other blog, besides this one, is on my MySpace page, and more often than not, that turns into just funny postings to amuse my friends and not necessarily something that I want to put out there as my only personal comments to the greater world. I don’t think I should even count the MySpace blog as a “blog,” honestly.

The problem with any online diary or journal that I may keep is that, to me, it will always end up being a watered-down version of my real-life journal (i.e. the book I write stuff in with, like, a pen). I end up writing things in there that are much more personal, much more scattered and much less thought out and edited than stuff that ends up on here. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, because most of that stuff is not for human consumption, but it makes blogging a helofalot more work than journaling.

Also, blogging ends up being about the end user, almost even more than writing a story does. My journal is for me to sort out shit, and the only time I think of people reading it is after I’m dead or when they sneak a peek in it when I’m out. When I write stories, yes, I am writing them knowing that someone will read them eventually, but I can hide behind the fact that it's just fiction, and things my characters say or do are not always a reflection back on my own beliefs (I know - that's a topic for an entry all in itself!) But when I put stuff on the internet, even if the readers are anonymous, I still know I put this out there to be read. Which can do good things for making me come to conclusions about what I believe in and what I want to share with people, but thatin itself is a lot of work.

Here are some blogs I look at pretty regularly:

Work Blogs -

Richard Goering - EE Times (one of the most respected EDA writers, he was just laid off by EE Times and so this blog may be going away)
Mike Santarini - EDN

Farm Blogs -

Cheese Underground -The wonderful world of Wisconsin Cheese!

Personal Blogs -

The Roar Report - Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
Ashcan Rantings - The Underbelly of the Minneapolis Film World!
Herrin Twins - Updates on pair of conjoined twin girls who were separated at age 4 August of 2006

1 comment:

Kristina said...

Wow, that's me!

Yeah, I often ask myself what exactly IS the purpose of my rantings. I DON'T actually assume anyone besides you is reading it. I post things that I wouldn't necessarily say to my boss's face, for example, but I don't mind any of it being "out there." There is still anonymity in that my full name is not revealed... but it's hardly necessary.

And no, I have no illusions, delusions or aspirations of being "discovered" and becoming a famous "blogger."

I think what it comes down to is... I like to talk a lot. I know that I talk too much. And this way people don't have to listen unless they REALLY want to. And it helps me sort shit out too.

Honestly, too, my personal journaling (sporadic though it is) tends to be kind of a downer. I usually only write about things when they're really upsetting me. And it's one thing to use writing to work through things on paper, but it's quite another to use it to dwell and obsess about negatives you can't control. Or you can control, but maybe the best way to do that is to let them GO, not beat them to death in longhand.

So for me it's good therapy that way. I complain, hell yeah, but I don't go on and on day after day about the same things (the bad things, that is -- yes, me and the underbelly have been good friends for a while now), and subsequently those things have lessened in importance in my life.