Blogs remind me of an early Web phenomenon from 1993 - this was back before Google, before Yahoo!, when one of the few ways to get around on the web was through the WWW Virtual Library and archie.

A lot of personal websites then were "home pages," containing trivia lists (CD collections, recently seen movies, etc.), links to other people's home pages and "opinion" articles — or promises that these opinions would be "coming soon". It seemed like everyone had something they wanted to say, even if they weren't quite sure what it was.

Fast-forward ten years, and home pages have mostly gone the way of the dodo, supplanted by corporate websites. Or have they? Weblogs are filled with reactions to recent news reports, lists of favorite gadgets, books, and movies, and of course links to other blogs. Perhaps eventually corporate presence will come to dominate, but for now blogs are the individual broadcasting network.

Most blogs today — well, most blogs are inactive. (Under construction?) Most active blogs are personal, transitory diary entries; current news items; and link propagation, all organized by date of entry. It won't be long before someone makes a Yahoo!-like blog catalog (the "blogalog"?) organizing blogs hierarchically by subject.

Blogs have at least three things going for them. First, blogs empower individual publishing, which I believe is a lasting social phenomenon. Moreover, blogs provide an easy entry point: You can start with nothing more than "Hi, my name is..." and go. Finally, blogs have led to the creation of new tools and reading habits for gathering information online, beyond just surfing with a web browser.

The thing is, I just don't buy it.

For starters, there are many reasons why diaries constitute only a small fraction of all published works. Sure, diaries appeal to our voyeuristic tendencies, and are great outlets for self-promotion -- but there are so many other ways to tell our stories! Edits and revisions, voices other than first-person, subjects beyond the autobiographical, and writing for more than the moment are some of the important characteristics largely missing from blogs.

Because blogs are date-centric in both organization and content, blogs that aren't updated for long periods of time lose value -- and indeed, most people will arrive at stale blog entries only through search engines. This is in contrast to great works of fiction or important reference books, which can remain current for decades and influence many generations. Blogs lack both longevity and impact.

Date-centricity creates problems for editing past entries. Should the edits (or a notification that the edits happened) appear in a new entry? What kind of journalistic integrity does a blog demand?

Blog comments are like slashdot, generally unmoderated knee-jerk reactions posted minutes after reading. The few comments worth reading tend to come from readers who had prior knowledge of the topic at hand. Comments are strictly inferior to just emailing the blog author, who could summarize the quality comments in a future post.

So, I don't blog, even though I read the blogs of some people I know in real life (and some I don't). This is not a blog. This site is organized by subject, not date. It consists of articles, software, stories, and more, woven together into a cohesive narrative with varying writing styles and intended audiences. Most of the content is written to last, but can also change over time.

I've added an RSS feed to cater to one of the significant outcomes of blogging, namely the rise of syndication. Syndication is like newsgroups from the days before the Web. Although both can be accessed through a web browser, they're more frequently accessed through other tools, which play to their specific strengths by allowing users to quickly skim through lots of posts. I'm doing this mainly to support that phenomenon, and to increase the potential audience.


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