You Are Not A Blog
There appears to be some confusion as to what a blog really is.
The problem is that some bloggers think a blog is a means of self-expression, that a blog is a mirror that can reflect their moods and minutiae.
"Minutiae" means little unimportant details. Mundane trivia. Random drivel. Boring chatter. In short: self-expression for the sake of self-expression.
Some bloggers think they are a blog. They think whatever they are, this is what should go into their blogs. They are a blog and their blog is them. Wrong.
Blogs may have been perverted into exhibitionistic, narcissistic, monotonous accounts of feelings, opinions, and ideas.
But the "digital diary" or "online journal", composed of personal, private thoughts, self-expression, is not the original purpose or form of the blog.
The blog began as a web log. Log means list. A blog was originally just a list of web site URLs and other internet resources, with only enough commentary to clarify the nature or value of the listed items.
In the beginning, the blog was impersonal, cold, dry, unemotional. And this was good.
Original bloggers did not write about the movie they saw last night, their favorite music, or how they felt about anything. They were not seeking to reveal their inner selves or personal lives.
The early blogs were guides, not to the blogger's private thoughts and feelings, but to the online realm.
Here's an actual sample of one of the earliest blogs, the second blog usually cited after Tim Berners-Lee's "What's New" page at CERN, called "What's New" by Mark Andreessen, in June 1993 (initial excerpt, bold text is hyperlink):
June 17, 1993
A new server at MIT, containing lots of interesting information, is now up and running.
CNIDR (the Clearinghouse for Networked Information Discovery and Retrieval) now has a Web server (as well as a Gopher server and a WAIS directory of servers).
You didn't read an early blog to learn about the blogger authoring it.
You read an early blog to learn about what was available on a specific computer system or network, the internet, or the web.
What was true then is true now: you are not a blog.
You are not a worthy topic for a blog. You are interesting only to yourself, and even to that audience, only interesting intermittently.
None of the high traffic, high link popularity blogs are Vanity Blogs.
If your blog is all about you, your life, your interests, your opinions, it won't be read by very many people. Hardly anybody will care about it.
To be successful, a blog has to stick pretty closely with the original purpose.
A successful blog will have a strong, unique voice in it, but the blog will focus on something other than the blogger.
A successful blog will share information with others.
It will be personal primarily in the sense of "Here's what I discovered in my research" or "Here's what my opinion is about this topic, based on my long experience or technical training or professional expertise."
Original blogs attempted to fulfill William Gibson's prophetic assertion that
"...there'll be people who make a living pre-surfing it [the web] for you. There's a real need for that--otherwise it becomes this monster time-sink. You can just sit there forever. Looking. Looking. And maybe not finding anything. Seeing a lot of goofy stuff."
A blog is meant to be a pre-surfed portion of the web.
The blogger went out exploring the web and found these really great sites. Here are the URLs of these sites, with a brief description of what they are, what you can expect when you visit them, why you might want to visit them.
[Even this post is not bloggy enough. It needs more links in it. I'll return to this post and revise it, embed links in it, so I practice what I preach.]
Enabling users to post comments made blogs interactive, which took blogs out of the realm of bulletin boards and into the realm of discussion forums. Out of the realm of passive user viewing and into the realm of active user participation.
This is why television, church sermons, college lectures, conventional political campaigns, dictatorships, one-way broadcast advertising, radio programs, and even web sites are dying. They're largely or entirely uni-directional. They aren't interactive.
From now on, if it's not interactive, in most cases, it won't survive. Or it will be relegated to a marginal influence, a specialty curiosity, an archaic artifact.
There will probably always be some non-interactive entities like books, movies, music concerts, and spectator sports. But even these may eventually succumb to various forms of audience manipulation.
The masses will be demanding that everything be more participatory: from online resources to governments.
Tyranny is doomed. Democracy is triumphant. Blogs represent the democratic principle in knowledge proliferation.
With blogs, anyone with access to a computer, that is connected to the internet, can publish any material they want. Thanks to Evan Williams, Google, and Blogspot, anyone can operate a blog for free.
Blogs are reshaping the world we live in. Not web sites, not cell phones, not military power, not politicians, not movies, not music. The blog is the equalizer, the revolutionizer, the dangerous, radical kingdom-overthrower.
You are not a blog...
...but you can use a blog to impart information, improve your writing skills, increase your self-confidence, and inspire others to think independently of those who wish to oppress and manipulate them.
Blogs represent freedom of thought, equal opportunity to be heard, and the death of monolithic media monopolies.
Watch the mainstream media fall.
Watch the governments collapse.
Watch the people rise up in power.
[Rebecca's Pocket, "Weblogs: a History and Perspective", 7 September 2000]