Never, no matter how tempting it is or how much fun you are having, reveal to people in your personal circle (people from past relationships or current ones, people at work, siblings, friends, etc.) that you have a "blog". pam
Hi. My name is Vicki and I keep a weblog (aka a blog, a journal, an online diary).
HistoryI've been using the web since 1994. I started my first set of home pages in late 1994 or early 1995. However, I actually didn't know anything much about weblogs until about a year ago, when the conversation on a mailing list I read turned briefly to web log software.
Someone asked "one of my users wants to do a weblog; what's the best one for me to install?" Several people replied. I read the discussion and thought to myself, "Gosh, what's a weblog? Do I want one?" Then I and went out on the web and looked at the various recommended suggestions. I picked one that sounded likely (Greymatter), installed it and tried it out.
I posted 9 entries in May 2002, one in June, one in July; then I stopped. I'm not quite sure why I stopped; the weblog simply descended into entropy.
In August, 2002, I attended the first O'Reilly Mac OS X conference, where I was introduced to Ben and Mina Trott, developers of Moveable Type. MT sounded interesting; my attention was again piqued. (Actually, a lot of the Mac OS X conference involved mention of weblogs.) I went home and downloaded the software, but didn't do much more.
I should make a brief aside here to point out that I don't have anything against Greymatter; lots of people use it. I simply prefer Moveable Type; I like the interface and the controls better. Do your own comparison; pick what you like.
Re-entryFinally, in January 2003, I got enough tuits gathered together to consider restarting my weblog. This time, I decided to go about things in a different way. I did some research. I started a (static) page on weblogs. In locating material for the page, I read some articles and bought (and read) a pre-owned copy of We've Got Blog. I surfed around and read other people's blogs, looking for samples of different styles. I visited a lot of weblogs, bookmarked interesting ones and threw the others away. I updated my pages. I shared the information. I annoyed my friends as I discussed my new interest.
Then I (finally) installed and configured Moveable Type and imported my measley 11 entries from the previous summer. And I started to write again. I posted four entries in February, seven in March, and as of mid-April I had posted twelve. I'm trying to post at least every other day (though I'm not making too much of a big thing out of that) and I tend not to post more than one entry a day (but I don't make a big thing out of that either :-)
Why blog?The following is a conversation I had with a friend as I was trying to convince him to try a weblog.
I don't think I'm up to a weblog. Seems, well, exhibitionistic.
You say this as if it's a bad thing... :-)
So's a home page. But then, do you have one of those? Whatever. It's up to you, always.
Every time I approach the idea, I get cold feet. What would I say?
Whatever you want...
Why would people care?
Why does this matter? :-)
And...<crashing, menacing music>...what if they don't like me?
It's unlikely, but if it happens, you delete those comments and block those IPs. Or turn off comments. Or never solicit comments in the first place. Or...
I journal. That's a whole other thing, I think. My journalling is a self reflective, self analytic process. I would really prefer no one ever read what's in my journals. (At times, I think I should be included in that prohibition.) It's helpful insofar as it empties some mental and emotional dustbins.
But the process is in the writing, not the reading or (shudder) the sharing.
Same for weblogs, they just happen to be shared. Or you can decide not to make the link public, perhaps make it available to a few friends (that's the meaning of the "password protected" feature some services offer. The weblog isn't open to the world).
I haven't kept a "private" journal since college. Partly because I don't write down my innermost thoughts anywhere, I simply don't write the kind of stuff I'd consider to be private... anywhere anymore. (Even in HS and College, only some of my journal was private. Some was simply what I did that day).
If I did write down my innermost thoughts, I wouldn't make them public.
I decided at the outset that my weblog would not be particularly controversial, politically or otherwise, if I could help it. I won't discuss Iraq. I won't discuss the Supreme Court decision on the Texas sodomy law. But I have a friend from college who started a weblog precisely in order to have a forum where he could vent.
Cory Doctorow says he uses his weblog as a way to track interesting URLs among other things.
There are no standards; the only convention is date stamps.
Do you find things you think are interesting and share them with friends? Do you ever find yourself wishing you had two journals? Do you send chatty letters? Maybe not.
When I contemplate blogging, I easily confuse the journalling process with the weblog thing. I need to build up a clearer distinction for myself between the two before I attempt a weblog.
I can understand that you could be easily confused, given that there really is no distinction except if you wish to draw one. :-)
Perhaps you could make the distinction for yourself based on media - "my pen&ink journal" vs. "my web-based typed journal (weblog)". Perhaps, to you, one is private and the other is not.
First define "journal" and you'll be well on the way to making your decision.
Some blogs help me build up that distinction, others look like journals which should not be shared so indiscriminately.
It's all about the people, not the content. Keep that in mind. The question of what is a blog... journal... diary... is ALL in the mind of beholder - the writer or the reader.
Just like "what is a home page" or "what is a web site"?
But, I'll keep poking at the weblog idea. I appreciate your time to help me understand what's available.
The fact that you keep asking indicates to me that you are interested. No decisions must be made today; no decisions are irrevocable.
Visit my info page - my research results should be of use to somebody ;-) Click through some of the "Jumpoff Points" and "Blogs I read" on my weblog. Take a look at the range of things I like (which is only a small fraction of the range of things available!)
Play. Read. Write. Think.
Sleep on it :-)
Reasons from the WebFrom www.edifyingspectacle.org
April 14, 2003
I'm strongly biased in favor of replies that communicate clearly. When I write a long reply I usually put more effort into it than I do into my original entries.
Journal entries are different: if the author wants to write a prose poem I'd never cavil (although I may not read it).
It is hard to imagine anyone putting the concentrated effort into deciphering a journal entry they might in a Wallace Stevens poem. You'¿½d have to the reward of aesthetic bliss or insight.
Kindred spirits can easily be shut out by obscurity. Two likeminded people may not have exactly the same experiences: books, songs, details of place and time.
Since everything that can be said has already been said long before any of us were ever alive. To quote my favorite Procul Harum song the words have all been writ by ones before us, we're just taking turns in trying to pass them along .
I'd like to think that my best journal entries have captured the distinctive mix of qualities that make me who I am. (Been a long time since I've felt that. My own vices are haste and slovenliness). People keep writing and continue to be worth reading.
I write in my journal because it gives me pleasure. I'd like to think it has helped me sort myself out and recovered my past. But if I didn't get a kick out of it my journal would've gone silent long ago.
My own weblog entries are written in a burst of energy. My interest in the entry flags anywhere between fifteen and thirty minutes along. I quickly find a way to bring it to a close, post it and leave the room.
People who fancy themselves might ask why care? Most of us who write a weblog do so only for ourselves. It is myself that I'm letting down. I know what I'd think if I were reading the same from anybody else.
April 14, 2003
It hit me that these lyrics from Pilgrim'ï¿ Progress on Procol Harum's A Salty Dog capture the spirit of keeping a weblog as anything else.
I sat me down to write a simple story
which maybe in the end became a song
In trying to find the words which might begin it
I found these were the thoughts I brought along
At first I took my weight to be an anchor
and gathered up my fears to guide me round
but then I clearly saw my own delusion
and found my struggles further bogged me down
In starting out I thought to go exploring
and set my foot upon the nearest road
In vain I looked to find the promised turning
but only saw how far I was from home
In searching I forsook the paths of learning
and sought instead to find some pirate's gold
In fighting I did hurt those dearest to me
and still no hidden truths could I unfold
I sat me down to write a simple story
which maybe in the end became a song
The words have all been writ by one before me
We're taking turns in trying to pass them on
Oh, we're taking turns in trying to pass them on
April 16, 2003
There's been much blogging recently about the level of trust we build up online... The fact that we get to read each others thoughts and emotions and to learn about each other in possibly deeper ways than feel appropriate in face to face contact say at work, means that the nature of our online relationships is far from superficial.
On the many occasions I have got to meet people in my blogroll in the flesh I have immediately liked them and got on well with them. There has been no need for social posturing or the niceties of getting to know someone - we already "know" each other.
And while I am on a rant ..... I get tired of people who "don't get it" writing off this new way of relating as "technology". It's not about the technology - we could be using bloody semaphore - it's about people having conversations which help shape our own lives, the lives of others and help create a shared experience.
It's not an either or. I'll have a drink and chat with anyone who will let me in my local pub which has been used for that purpose for 400 years or so - and then come home and reflect on that activity on my blog. I'll climb mountains and sit on the top on my own contemplating the meaning of life, the universe and everything - and then come home and reflect on that activity in my blog.
It's not about the damn technology.
So there ......
to blog or not to blog
That is the question. In the past, I have taken "breaks" from continuing this creative pursuit because of "friends" that have followed the links on my blog, read my comments or posts and judged me and my interactions with the community of friends that I have found via this site. I am not going to do that again but I have discovered that, for some who attempt to start a "blog", these might be good suggestions:
- Never , no matter how tempting it is or how much fun you are having, reveal to people in your personal circle (people from past relationships or current ones, people at work, siblings, friends, etc.) that you have a "blog".
- Don't take personally anything that you read on someone else's site or take it too seriously. They have opinions and life experiences that you don't have the right to judge or make assumptions about.
- Blog uncensored. Be willing to reveal yourself but use good sense about it.
- If you do choose to start a blog, stay with it.
So, I am going to continue to blog, uncensored, because I love doing it - and I love the community that I have found here.
From a Mailing list discussion
P. N.: The blogs I read are for the purpose of commenting on and analyzing current events. Part of a strong democracy. No doubt you can find a blog about almost anything, but if it's about your personal life, how many readers are you going to have?
If you're not looking for readers, why go to all the trouble and expense of running a blog? Why not just vi a text file on a floppy?
H.M.: well, in my case, well over 100.
You see, they become community tools of a sort ... since these blogging tools often have different security levels (which are, honestly, as secure as any web application, which means "not very" but it keeps casual browsers out), you can have public messages, semi-private messages, and private stuff that only you can view.
W. C.: There's a difference between "I want people who care about what I think to have access to my writing" and "I want a lot of people to care about what I think and have access to my writing".
August 11, 2003
By the way, you know what the secret of blogging is? You just put a stake in the sand and the next thing you know you've got a tent there. People come by. Few return but some keep coming back. By now you have created a coherent place in the swirl of life. Even the people who don't read you daily find it reassuring to check in with you again the way you might watch the occasional soap opera and quickly get swept up in the quickly paced plotting. It almost doesn't matter what accumulated around that first planting. It's all you, baby, and you're beautiful! Oh, plus the endorphins. "