Weblog. A link May 8, 2000 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Weblog. A link, a one to two sentence comment. Usually links to another weblogger. The web is completely known. Time to pack up and leave.

Occasionally someone with say something half-way intelligent about web trends, or unknown/misunderstood webthings, and sometimes that person will not be speaking from their own point of view as a dot-com person, but will try to take a critical perspective and derive some insight about the Internet society, and not simply the Internet marketplace.

I'll be damned if half the riothero's of the weblog world would stop writing essays on how get hits and do the above more often.

And another thing -- Is there anyone who simply reads weblogs. (Personally, I am a buswaiter at a trendy Internet restaurant, but I have a homepage I've been revising....)
posted by rschram to General Weblog-Related at 11:06 AM (9 comments total)

The longer I've had my 'blog (probably no more than a month so far) the more I notice that I'm not writing many things like 'oh, this looks cool [link]. I'm writing stories about what happened, commentary on what I observed, things that are on my mind. And I guess I prefer reading those kinds of things from Derek Powazek or Ben Brown lately.
To paraphrase Derek: for me, it's all about the stories.
posted by jedrek at 4:16 AM on May 9, 2000

I write whatever I want, it's my website. F**k trends. F**k pop culture digirati online masturbation. F**k it all. Trend or not I enjoy being able to post my thoughts, links I think are interesting, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I do the site for myself as a way to express the me that needs to be out there. When I'm over it, I'll stop.

As far as the trend and the future of weblogs, they will change and evolve - or they will die. Time is a wrecking ball of enlightenment.
posted by Jeremy at 10:15 AM on May 9, 2000

"And another thing -- Is there anyone who simply reads weblogs. (Personally, I am a buswaiter at a trendy Internet restaurant, but I have a homepage I've been revising....)"

I read weblogs A LOT. *insert my two cents here* I have a personal homepage but it's nowhere near the quality of other pages or weblogs around. I like to get news and info from other people's logs as well as finding it myself.
posted by SuperGoat at 10:06 AM on May 10, 2000

Jeremy writes: "As far as the trend and the future of weblogs, they will change and evolve - or they will die. Time is a wrecking ball of enlightenment."

But where are the natural predators of weblogs? Can't have (metaphorical) evolution without selection!

I actually see no ceiling on weblog growth in gross numbers of blogs. Let's assume that weblogs die from attrition. When? And what attitude staves off attrition? Is it the fuck 'em attitude? Or is it something else?

If you need a fuck-em attitude to resist attrition, why are there so many desparate hangers-on who seem to have not adopted (remember this is an ecology of viral, not sexual, propogation) or adapted to the new attitudinal environment?

I think we need sociological answers to why it is weblogs are the way they are.

(If, by Sept. 2000, everyone is talking about the Big Crunch, or, "Whatever Happened to Weblogs?", then we could say that the survivors survived because they didn't bow to attrition pressures.
posted by rschram at 1:27 PM on May 10, 2000

Does anyone read weblogs?

Have you seen how much of *mine* is referrals? :-)

The point, of course, is that weblogging is *editing* mostly, not writing. That's what people buy newspapers and magazines for, not so much the raw information.

I find, though, that I blog *here* for the readers, and on my own site for myself, and I expect that's not that uncommon.
posted by baylink at 2:32 PM on May 10, 2000

Folks have been strenuously trying to define "weblog" as a form ever since the Great Weblog Explosion back in 1999. So far, I've avoided the urge, at first because I perceived what was happening as a new publishing model or, at least, a distinctive variant of some existing forms. I've also seen my personal, internal definition shifting as new weblogs enter my field of awareness and push, evolve and bind other forms (diary/journal, links page, "what's new") to themselves.

I've just about finished my pat answer, though, honed through several iterations of responses to people who ask me, "So, what's a weblog?"

Ain't nothing but a home page, really, a stop on the natural evolution of the links pages we all had back in the mid-90s, lists of links, pictures of our pets, explications of our hobbies, etc. What distinguishes the weblog qua weblog is the happy intersection of available new technology (making rapid publishing of new information easy and lowering the barrier of entry for neophyte netizens) such as Blogger, Pitas or Manila and the ever-present desire for personal expression.

When I first began developing websites -- including my personal space -- I read over and over again that among the best ways to cultivate an audience and encourage repeat visitors was to always provide something new for people to discover. (Is it any wonder that _____-of-the-Day, NCSA What's New-style pages and CSOTD things remain among the most visited?)

New tools have made it possible for the everyday Joe and Jane to publish dynamic content quickly and easily, and what was once the only occasionally updated "links page" is now the often-updated and personality-infused "weblog."

Thankfully, somewhere along the way, these constantly changing and compelling pages have lost one feature of their early 90s counterparts: I seldom see an "Under Construction" banner on the personal sites I read these days. Personal publishers and webloggers know that a good website is always under construction, and that's a good thing.
posted by bradlands at 8:18 PM on May 12, 2000

Of those who have and maintain homepages, many do treat the weblog as the links page arm of the whole set. You have a picture, contact info, resume, and now a weblog.

It would have to be the most nonchalant weblog in existence, then. "What's on my mind most recently" as opposed to the (only somewhat tongue in cheek) adage of: "Update your weblog constantly, even if you have to steal links and lie about it."

Given that you have to learn the meaning of the term "weblog" from reading a weblog, it would be enough to say that weblogs are pages whose authors call them as such. It's appropriate to look to internal definitions of weblogs, rather than attempt a general definition. A general definition could ostenibly contain all personal pages. For example, I have a homepage, and I refer people to it IRL. So I keep it up-to-date. But I wouldn't say I publish a diary because I revise my address when I move.

So, as seen from within the weblog network, it's appropriate to say a weblog is the outcome of a set of behaviors. In fact, we should really ask what is it "to weblog" or "to blog" and how is it different than surfing and maintaining a links page. Clearly there's a big difference. Consider that "surfing" is a widespread, well-established, well-understood leisure activity, but weblogging has three things besides this. For one thing, there's the overwhelming uniformity of weblog link/comment genres. For another, in the main, weblogs are extraordinarily intensive, no doubt aided by the new technologies, but also due to the normative value of updating often. For yet another, weblogs, though they have spread quickly, are still a word-of-mouth phenomenon, and hence there's a huge gulf of knowledge of and about weblogging and weblogs between webloggers and home-page meisters, even active surfers.
In-jokes, codes, symbolic language, meta-blogging, self-blogging (what's that wonderful term? Oh yeah) Inter-linky-blog love are seem to derive from these pieces.

Now that's the bad side of weblogging. It suggests a strong community, but at the same time, hive-mind, unoriginality, circularity and it can be kind of kooky sometimes too.

There are distinctive features to weblogging that separate it from surfing in a good way too... For instance, weblogging is a way to surf the internet that helps develop awareness of different dimensions of cultural life in this point in history. Or, weblogs blur the distinction between producer and consumer, so they make one a more savvy, more critical consumer, and a producer that shares (add your favorite Cluetrain garbage here) and collaborates.

But I prefer to criticize... I'll post the good stuff about weblogging as it occurs to me.

posted by rschram at 12:39 PM on May 16, 2000

There are trendy Internet restaurants?
posted by lbergstr at 1:41 PM on May 23, 2000

(I love that. Ryan posts a long, thoughtful piece on the meaning of weblogs, and right underneath Lukas pipes up, 'There are trendy Internet restaurants?' Ahhh, inadvertant humorous juxtaposition, my favourite.)
posted by rory at 11:14 PM on June 6, 2000

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