on blogs

July 9, 2019
Two decades in, I'm in a retrospective mood and I've been thinking about what blogging means...
The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May 1999.
Thinking about it, I guess "blogging" can encapsulate many or all of many different kind of activities: There's a lot of overlap there, but it's amazing how versatile a medium "Blogging" is.

Social Media covers many of those same outlets for many people. A while back I wrote on The Facebook:

But Facebook banks on one brilliant idea, one other sites leverage as well: empowering users to assemble a collated page/wall/feed of content from people the user finds interesting. Sites using this trick -- Tumblr, LiveJournal, Twitter, Instagram and FB all had different hooks (visual collectors, diarists, pithy bon mot makers, snapshotters, and people you know, respectively) and of all of those FB's "people you know in real life" seems to be the most compelling in a universal kind of way.
Those are all legit outlets, but I am wary at having my content potentially lost to corporate mishandling or malfeasance . I come from the DIY oldschool - a group privileged enough to have the knowledge and freetime and funds to build the tools we use to post stuff. The barrier to entry is high there, but there's almost total control over the results. But then again I end up mirroring nearly everything I post on my blog on Facebook, because that's the only way I have of getting feedback. (And it hurts when you realize how few people any individual post gets put in front of... feels weird to have to sort-of go viral just to get a piece of content in front of the majority of your friends and family)

The other element is the private/public aspect. For many folks, many of those categories list, especially "Dear-Diarying", Commonplace Booking, and Scrapbooking, might be better served with private tools - maybe even paper! Personally I've always been more interested in attention and knowledge sharing than privacy, but I know different people manage that balance differently.

(Last year kottke collected 3 interesting essays, Did blogs ruin the web? Or did the web ruin blogs? - worth checking out.) RIP Ross Perot. I sometimes wonder if his 1992 campaign denied re-election to the elder Bush, and if the backlash about losing what was "rightfully" theirs spurred the "Contract With America" (brilliant piece of propaganda, that) and from there it's all been more and more unlikely extreme swings. Also in a day and age where executives seem unworldly tall, a 5'5" guy becoming a self-made billionaire is a good story.