Tuesday, December 30, 2003

What to Blog?

Over the past few days I've been wondering about what a blog is. Before I started blogging, I read a book called The Weblog Handbook, by Rebecca Blood. In the book she talks about how a weblog should have links and link text. Also, she says that if you're don't link to other sites and talk about the, then you just have a journal or a diary. This point stuck with me for a long time: I wanted to write a blog, not a diary or journal. I looked at Blood's blog, Rebecca's Pocket and it covered several online news articles with commentary on each. Her blog was one of the original blogs, created in 1999. Boing Boing and Slashdot were also mentioned in her book as examples of famous blogs. Both fit the description Blood gave of what a blog should be. That's what I thought I should strive for or else I'd just have a public diary.

Before I started blogging, looked for blogs centered around specific subjects. I was planning on going to China with my friend, so I looked about blogs about China. One of the first blogs I found was Sinosplice. Sinosplice had one of the key features of a blog according to Blood; It linked to several other blogs. I looked at a few other blogs on the list, but only one interested me. Leylop's blog looked interesting and engaging so I spent time reading her site. However, both Sinosplice and Leylop's blog didn't fit Blood's description of a blog. They resembled journals or diaries instead. Other "blogs" I found also functioned like diaries/journals.

Then I remembered another part in Blood's book about a dispute between the new and old bloggers over what a blog is. Both sides said that it had a real blog and the other did not. So what is a blog? Leo Laporte said something like "an easy way to create a website; that's really what a blog is." Does it really matter what you write in a blog as long as it entertains or teaches people? Many bloggers do entertain others with their lives. One couple, who live ordinary lives, entertain people with their daily lives (warning: comment deleters). It reminds me of a reality TV show where you get to see details of people's lives filtered by TV crews, only this time you read about their lives filtered by themselves.

Other bloggers interweave details about their lives and with several links to external sources. Anjipatchwork and KEC Journal do this.

So what should I blog? Just whatever I want to I guess, even if it does sound like a diary/journal. This is something I wanted to avoid, though. Just the thought of entertaining people about my business was absurd since I would not be getting paid for it. But I guess I could get paid for it if I sold my space to advertisers (with a blogger/blogspot pro account of course). I'm in capitalist mode now, but when I get out of it I'll just want this blog for me and really nobody else. I've just discovered the blockquote tag so there'll probably be more articles.