Please keep in mind that this post is more than 3 years old. Opinions change. Tastes change. Everything changes. I may still agree with or like this, or I may not. But everything is kept up here for archival purposes.
Blog Celeb / July 15, 2004
Do people automatically tend towards stupid modes?
The first time I wrote candidly for my website was … probably 1995. Just a little bio of myself based upon a conversation I had with Natasha from Toronto. I wish I knew where she went.
This is a journal. I started writing for my website in a sequential manner for my website back in 1997. I wasn’t trying to “do” anything. I was just trying to clear my head and get my thoughts straight. At the time, I was a recent college graduate looking for work and dating a control freak. So I took off for the hills for a few days to get my thoughts straight, and used the time and free computer labs to write out my thoughts.
Not a very glorious thing.
About a year later, several friends I had made on IRC (an obsession that I cannot figure out why it has never spread… it in fact seems to have dwindled) started keeping journals on their website. I was very happy when Melissa got annoyed with me for coming up with a good navigation system that she’d wanted to use. Considering the time, when everything was hand-coded, it was pretty good.
Journals got kind of popular after that. We’re not talking mass-media obsession like they are now. But still. The first Content Management Systems (blogging software) were created by people just like my friends and I. They wanted to write for their sites. But they didn’t want to have to recode a half dozen pages every time they created a new entry. (Keeping in mind this was the days before CSS, when HTML was tres ugly).
Journaling, or Weblogging, or Blogging as it became known, was one of those things that just hit critical mass one day. It sort of became self-aware, and instead of people using their journals to talk about things, they used their journals to talk about blogging. And about other people blogging. And about the power of blogging. There were now experts on blogging. (I’ve been doing this longer than Meg or Jason, and I like to think I’m smart, but no one has ever invited me to be on a panel and explain how this represents my generation.)
And bloggers were sure they had found the purpose embedded in the DNA of the Internet. “This thing we create is amazing and new”, Well… kinda. Except that back in 93 when I first got into the web, this is exactly what I found. Almost everything was personal websites. Just people, with a little bit of space, saying “I like this kinda shit”. In the mid-to-late 90s, I was actually kinda depressed that the personal web seemed to have disappeared.
Well, it was rediscovered. If internet time is as fast as they say, then this was the next generation, reinventing rock music.
And now they’re giving it up, too.
To be cool or part of “it”, blogging is no longer about they little person. Blogger is still free, but it is owned by the 900 pound gorilla of the internet. Graymatter died a rather quick death, though not before showing us how sad Blogger was. Movabletype has gone from two kids wanting to build a blogging tool as a blogging tool, to being just another international corporation offering their software as shareware.
I know there are a dozen little free journaling tools. And I don’t care about them. WordPress is obviously the next heir to the thrown. Butt I don’t care.
We have blog celeb now. You go to certain journals, because those are the journals you read. You can tell the authors know it too. It shows in their writing. They’re writing to an audience, instead of just writing. Only once have I ever targeted an entry here, and that was to tell the little fuckhead nazis who couldn’t grasp sarcasm to go away and leave me the fuck alone.
Jason, and several other popular bloggers, complained the other day, saying they felt obligated to write. This, a couple days after I skimmed an article about what “famous webloggers are listening to in music now”. That article started out saying they could give a chicken fuck what Bertha from Decatur was listening to. And now… so many of them simply have to make money off of it…
You wanna idol-worship? That’s fine. But that’s not what the point of weblogs were. That’s not what the blogger-revolutionists espoused.
I find a lot of private journals by average people, which are typically abandoned after about 6–9 months. I think they realized the world would not come to them. I think they find out that this is not something you do because it’s cool… this is something you do because you don’t have a choice. You spout off here, or you go down to the park and try to yell louder than the homeless guy next to you. It’s not work… it’s a pressure valve.
I wonder what’s next. You can almost see it coming. The current ‘life’ of the web is sort of a 300 lb. weazing, 50 year old diabetic, trying to stay on it’s feet. The next big thing must be coming along soon. If not, Wired magazine is bound to invent something.