inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #51 of 124: Sean Harding (sharding) Mon 5 May 03 23:51
    
What's wrong with it? It's likely easy to fix.

We should probably move that discussion over to blog.ind if you want to 
try to fix it.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #52 of 124: The Fucked-Up Piano Chicks (magdalen) Mon 5 May 03 23:54
    

anyway, for the purposes o' this discussion: if you don't 
"get" RSS per se, check out an RSS feed. you will immediately see the love.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #53 of 124: David Calvarese (dhcalva) Tue 6 May 03 05:15
    
On the subject of the cover:  I have to say I rather like it.  It has a kind
of 'Wired' quality to it.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #54 of 124: Rafe Colburn (rafeco) Tue 6 May 03 06:40
    
 A couple of other weblogs that I'd recommend (there are really too
many good ones to list).

 Dangerousmeta
 http://www.dangerousmeta.com/

 Real Live Preacher
 http://www.reallivepreacher.com/

 I like Dangerousmeta because Garret is a great example of a guy who
posts little commentary but whose opinions come through strongly in
the links he chooses.  I see something interesting at Dangerousmeta
every day that I didn't see anywhere else.

 Real Live Preacher just blows me away for the quality of writing and
for the different perspective he brings.  
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #55 of 124: A veteran rc3.org rss subscriber (klopfens) Tue 6 May 03 07:03
    
As a Well and a blog lurker, let me put in a word from the
demand-side. (I seem to post to the Well about twice a month and to my
blog at about the same rate, but read blogs and several Well
conferences hourly).

RSS and the tools that support it add the "seen" functionality of
engaged and picospan to the blog universe. You don't need to check a
site over and over to see if it has been updated since the last time
you read it.  Your aggregator does this for you.  I used the Radio
Userland aggregator for about a year, but have switched to SharpReader
(Windows).  There are a number of similar readers for the Mac and even
one that integrates RSS with the Microsoft Exchange client.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #56 of 124: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 6 May 03 11:34
    
> That's a hard, impossible question, not an easy one!

Heh - I knew it was hard!

I'm having trouble coming up with a favorite blog that I visit and 
revisit... instead I find myself surfing to new blogs quite a bit. I 
wonder about others - does anybody find a half dozen or so blogs that they 
visit regularly, and stick pretty much to that list?

Rebecca, my next question is about blogs vs journals. Is it true that dogs 
blog, and cats make journals? What about the alligators?
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #57 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Tue 6 May 03 11:53
    
I second the vote for dangerousmeta. Another outstanding filter. I've
never heard of Real Live Preacher before. I'm looking forward to
reading it, based on your recommendation.

Does anyone else have any others? I'm always on the lookout for good
new weblogs.

> klopfens: RSS and the tools that support it add the "seen"
functionality ... to the blog universe <

it's funny, isn't it? I remember a few years ago when "push"
technology was all the rage. It was going to be the next big thing. I
think that lasted about 6 months. 

But that's what RSS is. It allows people to bring their favorite
weblogs to their desktops--or, as many people use it, it allows them to
have a weblog update tracker on their desktop. As a result, people are
following many more weblogs than they ever could before. From what
I've read, part of this is a result of improved RSS-reading tools. Once
the tools started doing what people needed from them, they became very
popular very quickly.

Then it becomes a chicken and egg thing. People read more weblogs
because there are more good weblogs AND more weblogs offer RSS feeds
AND there are good readers available. 

It's interesting to observe the tipping point on something like this.
People will adapt their behavior to a poor tool that does something
they *really* want to do, but otherwise they will stick with their
previously defined behavior (even if it's sub-optimal) rather than
bothering to break into a new, sub-optimal tool. But once you put
something in their hands that does what they want fairly easily, off
they go, and then they invent new uses for it.

Blogger is another example of this, actually. Though it was one of the
first of the automatic weblog updaters, it's ease of use was
unsurpassed by the other tools that came out at about the same time.
Once those other tools matched that ease of use, large numbers of users
could be tempted away by more extensive features, but not before.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #58 of 124: Rafe Colburn (rafeco) Tue 6 May 03 12:41
    
 I have a number of blogs that I've been reading for years.
Rebecca's, Dangerousmeta, Matt Haughey's personal blog, Anil Dash,
whump.com, Medley (uncorked.org), NowThis, and there are a number of 
others as well.  
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #59 of 124: The Fucked-Up Piano Chicks (magdalen) Tue 6 May 03 15:24
    


have you long-time bloggers found that RSS changes how you write your blog?

one evening with the newsreader thingy, and i found myself wanting to
re-conceive how i post. 

again, technology calls the shots. on Blogger, you can choose
headlines-only, short descriptions (no links/HTML are included, first 255
characters go to the newsfeed or the first paragraph of your post) ,
or full descriptions. 

i chose "short" and find myself wanting to post differently, knowing that
RSS is making a one-paragraph "teaser" possible...
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #60 of 124: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 6 May 03 18:00
    
I try not to think about it - but I didn't go for the short option, didn't 
consider how that could lure readers into my lair...

Magtiff, I think the first webloggish bit I attempted was TAZMedia at 
FringeWare... you took that over when I split, were you blogging links, or 
did it become more of a webzine?
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #61 of 124: andyp (aapark) Tue 6 May 03 18:46
    
Hi Rebecca, first off, thanks for writing the book. 

I found it interesting to know a little bit of the history of blogs. I
stumbled onto blogging by chance, one of those Saturday afternoon
googles that ended up being a triathlon and an added plethora of links
in my favorites folder. I remember I was looking for some CSS tips, and
all of a sudden I come across my first blog, hey what’s a blog? And a
dozen or more links were added to my favorites folder!

I think that is why I blog. A public web page keeps my links a little
more organized, like when you clean house minutes before the guests
arrive.

Do you think with blogs taking off as they have, some not only with
great info etc, but also great design, do you think that blogging will
encourage software developers to come up with browsers that interpret
HTML and CSS without major differences in how pages are rendered? Or do
you see RSS as being the more important side of blogging, e.g. content
not design? 

I hope that made sense. Again thanks for the book.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #62 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Tue 6 May 03 19:39
    
> jon: Rebecca, my next question is about blogs vs journals. Is it
true that dogs
blog, and cats make journals? What about the alligators? <

Boy, if I had a nickel for every time I've been asked that. :)

When weblogs emerged, they were quite distinct from journals in a few
ways. First, journals were about the thoughts and experiences of the
writer; weblogs were centered around links. Second, journals tended to
use the one-page-per-entry format; weblogs stacked a series of short
entries on a single page. Third, they were separate communities. The
journalers shared a vision of the personal Web, read and linked to one
another, and thus a community was born. The webloggers, coming together
in 1999, did the same thing in their corner of the Web. (At the time
there were E/N sites, as well, weblogs that resembled Livejournal sites
more than anything else. They tended to have dark backgrounds, and
they seemed to be maintained by a group of high school students who
knew each other in real life. They never really merged with the weblog
community--they were doing their own thing.) 

At this point, with so many people using weblog software to write
daily entries about their lives, I'd have to say that it has to do with
community more than anything else. If you visit diarist.net, you'll
see that they include "personal weblogs" in the list of sites they
serve. I suppose that one way of looking at it is to say that now
weblogs are about the form, and journals are about the content. I think
most people start by reading sites and emulating the sites they
admire. To some extent, new personal publishers choose to align
themselves with the community of online sites they already read,
whether that be the journaling community or the webloggers. 

Alligators tend to create zines.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #63 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Tue 6 May 03 19:53
    
> magdalen: one evening with the newsreader thingy, and i found myself
wanting to
re-conceive how i post. <

I recently read something online lamenting the poor titles most
bloggers attach to their posts, rendering an RSS feed nearly useless as
anything more than an update tracker. I think this is worth thinking
about, depending on what your goals are for your site and your feed. If
all you want to do is to notify people that you have updated, I don't
think it matters what you write. If you want to entice them to your
site, a teaser style is the ticket. If you want to inform them of the
nature of your posts, an informative title or first line will serve
your purpose.

I find it to be quite an interesting development. Back in the day,
pithiness was one of the weblog virtues, and concision was admired by
many weblog readers and writers. It's good discipline. Writing short is
hard, and if you can get your subject and opinion across in a few
words, you've got it nailed. It was only secondarily about our
opinions--mainly it was about the link, and one of the biggest
challenges was to write text that would entice the reader to click
through. 

But entries started getting longer and longer. Now it's quite common
for people to go on for paragraphs about their subjects, but here we
are again, with a new short form demanding that writers compose their
subject lines and first sentences in order to get the reader to click
through. On the Internet, it seems, everything comes back around to
microcontent. http://www.useit.com/alertbox/980906.html
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #64 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Tue 6 May 03 20:25
    
> andyp: Do you think with blogs taking off as they have, some not
only with
great info etc, but also great design, do you think that blogging will
encourage software developers to come up with browsers that interpret
HTML and CSS without major differences in how pages are rendered? <

If only! I think the only thing that will encourage the software
developers to create browsers that support standards is consumer
demand, and I'm not quite sure how to bring that about. It's a bit of a
chicken and egg problem: if major sites coded only to standard, people
would move to browsers that rendered them properly. But major sites
are unlikely to do that until the browsers support the standard.

I think we can do what we can on the personal Web, but the biggest
changes will have to come from within the commercial sites, as
developers evangelize standards and convince their managers to allow
them to create pages that look good--but not necessarily identical--in
every browser.

Having said that, the personal Web has always been a hotbed of design
experimentation, and proof of concept for various innovations. Watch
the designer and coder weblogs for new approaches that will appear on
commercial sites in a few years. People like Jeffrey Zeldman
http://www.zeldman.com/, glish http://glish.com/css/, and Mark Pilgrim
http://diveintoaccessibility.org/table_of_contents.html spend their
days doing the experimenting and hard thinking for us, and then
explaining how we can do the same things on our own sites, or on the
sites we maintain for others. 

For those who are interested in learning more, visit the Web Standards
Project http://www.webstandards.org/ to learn why standards will make
all our lives better, and how to achieve the peace of mind only
standards can bring on your very own site.

> andyp: Or do you see RSS as being the more important side of
blogging, e.g. content not design? <

Content is king, but on some weblogs, design is a big part of the
content. RSS will change the way some people get their weblog fix, and
it may change the way people write for their weblogs, but it has its
limitations, too. We're still experimenting with this stuff. After a
while, people will figure out which pieces are good for what and settle
into time-tested patterns of use.

> andyp: thanks for the book <

thank *you*. :)
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #65 of 124: your arms too short to blog with gopod (xian) Tue 6 May 03 22:21
    
klopfens, what do you like about SharpReader? i'm stuck using windows
during the day on a project for the next few weeks so i downloaded
syndirella but i really don't like its feel.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #66 of 124: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Wed 7 May 03 06:06
    
Rebecca, do you see weblogs as an interim step toward "social software"? 
I just checked my dictionary for the definition of "social":

  of or having to do with human beings living together as a group in a 
  situation in which their dealings with one another affect their common 
  welfare
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #67 of 124: Ari Davidow (ari) Wed 7 May 03 06:50
    
In a way, weblogs remind me of samizdat's, the old xeroxed collections of 
articles that circulated in the former Soviet Union. Except that they are 
the K-Mart version of samizdats--thousands of people have them, the 
content isn't necessarily about much, and there are all too 
un-surreptitious.

It's like, the form has changed, but there still are a very few people who 
have something to say, and say it well. And there are still lots of people 
with websites who feel they should say nothing. It's like the zillions of 
personal websites that got put up in the late '90s by people who would put 
up lists of their favorite links, most of which had to do with current 
media fads.

I guess my real question is "to what degree does the software matter? what 
makes weblogs more than a fad?"
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #68 of 124: Jim Klopfenstein (klopfens) Wed 7 May 03 06:57
    
What I like most about SharpReader is the control it gives me over my
blog reading.  I'm subscribed to about 50 RSS feeds, which I have in
two folders, one I read and refresh several times a day, the other when
I have a little extra time.  After I refresh (I have auto-refresh
off), I can see at a glance which blogs have new content.  I usually
read the sites that tend to have shorter entries first.  All but two of
the sites I read put their complete content in the RSS, so I do almost
all of my reading in the SharpReader window.

All in all, the experience is a lot like Engaged on the Well.  There,
I keep a browser window open on the "My Conference List" page.  When I
am ready to check the conferences I read, I refresh this page.  The
"New" flags tell me where new content is, and I organize my reading
from there.  It would be great if the Well had conference-specific RSS
feeds.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #69 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Wed 7 May 03 12:04
    
> jon: Rebecca, do you see weblogs as an interim step toward "social
software"? <

With one exception, not really. When I think of social software, I
think of software that is designed specifically to promote, support,
and enhance personal interactions. Weblogs *can* do those things, but
they also can be used as mini-broadcast systems, with one voice
speaking to whomever cares to listen.

I guess it's the difference between a club or cafe, which is designed
with the idea that people will come to hang out with each other, and a
grocery store or park, which *may* become a community hub, but isn't
necessarily designed for that purpose.

I think of weblog-tools as a step toward realizing the promise of the
Web as a democratic medium. These tools have encouraged hundreds of
thousands of people to become Web publishers, and as they have linked
to each other, they have amplified each others voices and developed
close ties. The community is an important component of the phenomenon,
but it isn't necessarily an inherent quality--I know of a number of
weblogs that *don't* link out to other blogs, interested, apparently,
in being a personal publisher rather than in promoting the fortunes of
others. 

So, short answer: no. It's the nature of people to make social
connections, and that is reflected in the behavior of the bloggers, but
I don't think that behavior is inherent in the tools themselves.

The one exception is LiveJournal, which is, from everything I've read
and seen, a community-making machine. The ability to link to and track
other LiveJournal users is so embedded in the system that the software
itself encourages the creation of social alliances.
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #70 of 124: Rafe Colburn (rafeco) Wed 7 May 03 12:10
    
 Jumping in in front of Rebecca here (my apologies), I'd say that
weblogs are a fad that matters.  Let's face it, 90% of weblogs
(conservatively speaking) are utter and complete crap, even some of
the popular ones.  Some people, I'm certain, would say that mine is,
even though I don't think so.

 At the same time, there are some really important weblogs out there
as well, making and breaking news.  Where else would I get to read
Larry Lessig's thoughts on the Eldred v Ashcroft case without a
journalist filtering them, or what a guy like Ed Felten thinks about
our intellectual and academic freedom?  I'll never go to law school or
graduate school for economics, but I get to read opinions by really
smart guys like Brad DeLong and Ed Felten. That's more than a fad.  
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #71 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Wed 7 May 03 12:19
    
> ari: I guess my real question is "to what degree does the software
matter? what makes weblogs more than a fad?" <

The software is the revolution. The software has made it possible for
anyone with a Web browser and Internet connection to publish their
thoughts to the Web. A weblog is a pretty simple format, so
weblog-updating software is no big stretch. I fully believe that if we
had easy-to-use e-zine-making software, we'd see an explosion of
e-zines. It's as much about the availability as it is about the form.

The reason I don't think it's a fad is that people have been doing
this very thing in one form or another for millenia. People used to
share news and tell stories around cave-fires, then in taverns, then
around the water-cooler. Now it also happens on the Web. One of the
things you can say about human beings is that we are pattern-makers and
communicators. That will never stop being true, it's hard-wired into
us. Humans will turn every new communication medium to that same
purpose as soon as they have the opportunity.

Having said that, individual weblogs will come and go. The weblog
universe may continue to expand, or it may settle into a steady state
at its current size (I estimate it to be about 500,000) or 1 million,
or whatever. Bloggers will get new jobs or new girlfriends or have
babies, and they will no longer have time to maintain their sites. But
new people will discover the form and think they'd like to give it a
whirl, and new weblogs will be born. 

I think the form itself will be unremarkable in just a few years.
Businesses will use internal weblogs to point employees to internal
information, and major media will use the form (as the Christian
Science Monitor has since September 11
http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/sept11/dailyUpdate.html) for what
it's best at: filtering and contextualizing timely information. 

And as Rafe says, there is so much important and interesting
information being disseminated via weblogs, I don't think the audiences
will dwindle. Furthermore, as we continue to be inundated with
information at faster velocities, the need for smart, reliable filters
will only increase. 
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #72 of 124: Ari Davidow (ari) Wed 7 May 03 12:39
    
>> weblogs a fad?
> The software has made it possible for
> anyone with a Web browser and Internet connection to publish their
> thoughts to the Web.

I think I'd argue that HTML and even Mosaic were the revolution, with 
weblogs making it easier to post a particular form of expression to the 
web. 

On the other hand, I've been exploring use of an RSS News Reader all 
afternoon, which is a lot like this Usenet news readers I used 10 years 
ago back when Usenet was often useful, and I'm thinking, hmmmm, an 
unlimited number of moderated news feeds. So, forget weblogs, qua weblogs 
and thinking of them as RSS generators, and suddenly there's a way for 
people to access dozens or hundreds--whatever they want--of channels of 
news, entertainment, technical info, whatever--via a simple desktop based 
reader. THAT's cool, at least, imho.

Thoughts?
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #73 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Wed 7 May 03 17:51
    
> ari: I think I'd argue that HTML and even Mosaic were the
revolution, with weblogs making it easier to post a particular form of
expression to the web. <

Sure, the Web is the new medium, but it was a democratic medium only
to you and me and a few others who took the time to learn HTML. What
the tools have done is to allow everyone on the Web who doesn't want to
bother with all of that to have a voice as well. It is this--the ease
of publishing--that is, for so many people, the most exciting aspect of
the weblog phenomenon. 

> So, forget weblogs, qua weblogs and thinking of them as RSS
generators, <

Certainly, many people are starting to think of them in those terms
(Clay Shirky among them, judging from his article) but I'm not sure
that's the most useful way of thinking of either thing. Weblogs do not
necessarily provide an RSS feed. An RSS feed can be generated from any
sort of publication. Weblogs and RSS are two separate things.  

For me, keeping the technologies and the forms separate allows me to
more easily see what is really going on, which bit is good for what
part. Conflating weblogs with RSS, or using the term "blogging" to
describe all personal publishing (I see that a lot and it always bugs
me), too often leads to sloppy thinking. Weblogs are a specific form of
Web publishing, but personal publishing existed on the Web before
weblogs were a gleam in anyone's eye. 

So when we use weblogs strictly as RSS generators, what do we lose?
Well, the community aspect, to some extent. Trackback, perhaps,
commenting systems, easy communication with the weblog editor. We lose
webpage design, the visual experimentation that marks many of the
weblogs maintained by web professionals and enthusiasts.

What do we gain? A desktop update tracker and the ability to follow
hundreds or thousands of weblogs. Scale. 

But RSS need not be restricted to weblogs and news publications. Why
should it be? Would it ever be worth a writer's time to create their
publication strictly in XML, with the sole intent of syndicating their
content? Why would a publisher *not* do that, if it enabled them to get
their thoughts to many more people with the least expenditure of time
and bandwidth? 

It sounds like you're saying that, as a reader, you're more excited
about the prospect of reading a bunch of RSS feeds than in visiting a
bunch of weblogs. Is that just a matter of scale for you? Nostalgia? Or
something else entirely?
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #74 of 124: Devil's Advocate, Esq. (xian) Wed 7 May 03 18:14
    
Re Rebecca's "I fully believe that if we had easy-to-use e-zine-making
software, we'd see an explosion of e-zines," I think one key
distinction between (most) weblogs and (most) e-zines, is that weblogs
are usually created and maintained by a single person and e-zines, at
least in the sense that they emulate magazines, generally include the
works of many people. 

Now bOingbOing has multiple contributors and runs on Blogger.
TheMorningNews.org is clearly a 'zine and runs on MovableType (with, I
gather, some clever templating). 

So in one sense we do have easy-to-use e-zine making software already,
but the problem with 'zines is always getting the contributors to meet
deadlines, editing their content, etc. 

It's just easier to make yourself do stuff and take responsibility and
ownership. Collaboration and group effort is very rewarding too, but
what would an easy-to-make e-zine tool look like anyway?

I do realize that most paper 'zines were/are produced by individual
people, so if an e-zine is based on that model then the difference
between an e-zine and a weblog would either come down to
layout/presentation, or maybe the lengths of the articles?

Rebecca, what are you thinking of when you refer to e-zines?
  
inkwell.vue.182 : Rebecca Blood, "The Weblog Handbook"
permalink #75 of 124: Rebecca Blood (rebeccablood) Wed 7 May 03 20:57
    
> xian: Rebecca, what are you thinking of when you refer to e-zines? <

oooh, I should have known I'd be busted if I used that analogy here.
(xian is a former zinester himself :)

I don't mean that analogy literally; my point is that having software
that makes creating a weblog so very easy has helped to engender a
fervor for weblogs. Nothing succeeds like success, and when people
think of carving out their own space on the Web, weblogs seem to be the
first form people think of.

You're right that Movable Type is a lightweight content management
system that allows users to create more than just weblogs. I expect to
see it and products like it used to create publications that go beyond
the weblog model.

But let's talk about the difference between weblogs and zines for a
minute. There are many collaborative weblogs out there, so I don't
think size of staff is the key difference. I think it has to do with
the publication model itself. 

Online zines (commercial or not, collaborative or not) were patterned
on offline publications. They had a periodical publication's
schedule--once a day or once a week or whatever--and they consisted of
full-length pieces, articles of a similar length to the those you would
find in a paper publication. A handful of personal publishers scoffed
at the weblogs when they appeared. "You call that content? Linking to
other articles? What next, a bunch of websites that link endlessly to
each other, never, ever landing on a real piece of content?"

Weblogs were different in several ways from those publications: they
were published continually, not periodically; they were made up of a
series of short entries, rather than article-length pieces; and their
content consisted of or was formed around pointers to full-length
pieces or other sites. They leveraged the qualities of the Web: always
on, limitless pages/no pages, and hypertext. Weblogs were of the Web
itself, not something transplanted from another medium. Since then,
weblogs have expanded to include other styles of writing, and other
technological features, but those key elements have remained constant
(except on the blog-style weblog, where links are incidental).

A form that was based on short entries changed everything. A form
where a piece can consist of a bit of hypertext changed everything. It
takes a long time to hunt up interesting articles and good links, and
it can take quite a lot of time to compose scintillating link text, but
it's not the same as planning and executing a full-length publication
once a month--even when the word count in both publications is the
same. And the weblog is more forgiving, perhaps. If you say something
stupid, there is always a chance to get it right tomorrow, or an hour
from now. And you have the option to say as much or as little as you
like about each of your topics. 

Weblogs can look effortless from afar--I think you have to maintain
one for a while to really understand the demands of the form. It was
very frustrating in 1999 to read snarky pieces from people who saw the
new form as a refuge for the untalented. I was always surprised that
they didn't instantly see the value of the filter. But I do understand
that, from their point of view, a group of people were gaining traction
by doing something that appeared to be easier than what the zinesters
had been doing for years. But they clearly underestimated the appeal of
a form that allows individuals to create a Web presence one entry at a
time. 

Your point is a good one. Software is fueling this revolution, by
allowing people without a shred of technical knowledge to create Web
pages, but the form itself is what captures people's imaginations, and
allows them to envision themselves as a Web publisher. "Wrangle a
staff? No way. Write a full-length article? I wouldn't know how. Post a
few entries? I can do that." 
  

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