Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I am, therefore I blog - part 2

Followup to previous post....
Recap: I was talking about who uses blogs and why, and used myself as the example of the frustrated newspaper letters to the editor writer.

More types of blog use.
Forced to use blogs:
Looking at blogs the other day, choosing which blog host to use, I found the blog of this poor kid. His blog was named 'I Hate Blogs'. The point being that he wouldn't be blogging if it wasn't 20% of his class mark. Yikes! The Digital Immigrants forcing the Digital Natives to dig trenches. I can just imagine a crust of bread and tin cup of water beside the keyboard.

Probably the original intent of blogs. Replace that book in the drawer beside the bed. And the best(?) part of all, is that everyone gets to read it. Share with your friends, creeps all over the world. Actually I'm thinking of starting a diary again, the paper kind. Blogging has brought that need back. I used to keep a (sort-of) diary when I was travelling on the road as a musician.
(Late 70's funk band masquerading as a disco band. Long philosophical dialogues about the lack of appreciation of Marvin Gaye in Prince George).

Lots of news blogs happening. A quick way for reporters to post breaking news now? And then there are sites that are part blog/part newsite, or a mixture of both, or something new that isn't defined yet. Tyee comes to mind.

You stumble across these things. Instead of a comments, it's just a bunch of ads and links to stuff to buy. Perhaps another definition of a splog?

People doing something, sometimes interesting, sometimes not, and keeping track of them. One guy tracking his gas mileage, another one speaking as a kid just born: 'Hi I'm Tevor, and I'm one day old. I'll tell you about my life.' Maybe the family likes it. Who knows?

I must admit I just found a blog on World Cup 2006. I bookmarked that one. Probably the only one I'll ever return to.

Work blogs:
Private blogs used to document work (I'm trying this out at work. Seems better than the binder in front of me. My boss likes it too). There are very few blogging programs that protect users from reading, it kind of goes against the idea of blogging anyway. Public blogs written at work, or after work, as disseminators of sometimes useful 'outside the covers' information and opinions.

That's a start.
I guess the interesting part for me, is who is reading this stuff?
I'm tending to think that blogging is a big personal mush fest.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I am, therefore I blog - part 1

I was at a party the other night. Talked to Damion, who I had met and talked to exactly two years prior, in the same house, even the same spot in the kitchen hallway. We got to talking about the web; blogs, wikis. What's a blog? When does a blog become a web site? Are comments on news items blogs? Who's blogging and why?

We got to thinking and agreed that blogs are everywhere. There seems to have been even more of an explosion in the past 6 months. Even newscasters/sportcasters are quoting blogs as a touchstone of current thought. What's happened? How can so many people have so much to say. And, is any of it any good (mine excepted)?

So who are using blogs and what for? Well I guess I'll start with me.

I had just nailed a letter to the editor about an article I read and was fuming about (I might post it here later on a slow week), got it just right, my own take on the issue that no one has thought of; funny, quirky, incisive. And then, they didn't publish it, because it was too late or too long or they're idiots anyways.

So off to blog land as a knee-jerk reaction. Here, there's no one to edit me, or cut it. I can post as much and as often as I want. The only problem is that only about three people read it.

More later on who's using...

Sunday, May 07, 2006

One degree of separation.

Shannon Rupp writes about Wikipedia and Kevin Potvin this weekend in the Globe and Mail, with reference to a self-post that Kevin did last fall on Wikipedia about himself, or his 'Republic' newspaper (I'm not sure which she was referring to), which she calls a tabloid.

I think she's onto something in this article, except for the Potvin dig (more on that later). I often find her articles a touch too glib, trying to be smarty and edgy, but a bit too forced. But not this time. I've had questions about Wikipedia myself, I keep going there for definitions, but very seldom get what I need. Maybe I'm confusing it with a dictionary.

But she's right, this kind of 'open source' encyclopedia has it's ups and downs, and the stronger articles are the ones that have multiple contributors, and here's the key I think, editors. We could all use editors, maybe that's the attraction of blogs, no editors (but that's a different posting. Lord of the Rings comes to mind as something desperately in need of editing). So single contributor articles like Kevin's on himself, which I must admit I haven't read (I will after this post, but I want to write this based on what I got from Shannon's article first), are low down the pole in credibility.

But, so what? If Kevin wants to define himself a certain way, who are we to stand in his way, and with the web and Wikipedia, it's even easier. Is it any less real than the stuff we get from the White House (we have 'unknown unknowns'), that the media regurgitate ad nauseum?

Shannon calls Kevin 'a pamphleteer':
Kevin Potvin writes and publishes a weekly print tabloid called The Republic of East Vancouver, full of inflammatory opinion pieces reminiscent of the ideological rants of 18th-century pamphleteers. It claims a circulation of 6,000. Yet, according to Wikipedia, Mr. Potvin is a colossus. - Working through Wikipedia's vanity fair. Globe and Mail. Page F7. May 6, 2006.
I think Kevin might take it as a badge of honour. Now who was that other guy who wrote and distributed pamphlets in the 18th century? Oh right, Voltaire. Journalists of the time probably didn't like him either.

Shannon ends her article with 'Always consider the source'. Always a dicey ending. Do we apply that to the article we just read?

Now about the one degree of separation. I know both Kevin and Shannon.
Kevin's son and mine are on the same soccer team and I've talked to him a number of times, and even attended his 'victory' party after the last municipal election, where he did the best of all independants, but still lost. I find him intelligent, thoughtful, a good listener, and a great soccer dad. I think of him as walking around with a sharp stick that he enjoys poking things with to stir them up. I can't think of better person to have in our city and society.

Shannon and my wife used to be friends. I always enjoyed our friendly and snarky banter, and always enjoy reading her, both when she's (mostly) right like this, and when she's been wrong (Ha! That's an example of friendly and snarky banter).

It's strange when you read an article written by someone you know about someone you know, and I couldn't help but comment on it. I guess that's what blogs are for.
But that's another posting...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?