Thu, Jun
13
2002

Nothing Magical About Blogging

Thu, Jun 13, 2002

You know, there's nothing magical about Blogging, even though it's a heck of a lot of fun. At its root, it is nothing more than a faster way to publish on the web.

Consider, I have had a web presence since 1996. In some websites, you can still see references to my first ever URL (http://www.u36.com/james, now inactive although u36.com is still active, I think). On that website, I posted stuff. I promoted my fan fiction, I promoted my BAHN simulations that I'd been working on. I endeavored to keep my website up to date, but as my web presence bloated, pages faded into obscurity like papers stuffed into a trunk in the attic. I must admit that portions of my website are still rather cob-webby.

Blogger and its associated competitors have produced a set of tools which transforms the time consuming process of building content, FTP'ing content and cleaning out old content into a series of pushbuttons. What would have taken me a few hours to update (and which still does for large content sites as Transit Toronto) now takes me minutes. The fact that I know how to code in HTML puts me ahead of the game; Blogger literally allows me to type and run.

So, now we have a revolution on our hands. Or do we?

Bloggers have the attention of the mainstream media, now. Many of the articles, like this one from the New York Times take the attitude of "now everybody's a pundit". News flash: everyone was a pundit. Now being a pundit online is as easy as being a pundit among friends in a bar or at the water cooler, assuming you can type (and even if you can't spell). Technology is making things available to users to do what they've been doing since civilization began.

Bloggers, in common with the history of the Internet, began life as online journals by techies for techies. As the internet gained the notice of the mainstream, more and more mainstreamers began to blog. Blogs received a considerable boost after the September 11 tragedy because of how they stayed up-to-the-minute while the events unfolded. According to the New York Times, post-September 11, there has been an influx of "War Blogs", or right-of-centre journals discussing the War on Terrorism and other right-of-centre political viewpoints.

Often ignored, in my experience, are the fan blogs. Science fiction and fantasy fans (followed by fans of other books and media) have taken to the Internet in a big way (the demographics favour them; they're young and forward looking, which tends to fit your average Internet user) so it should be no surprise that there is a strong presence of blogs arising from the various fandoms out there. The active Todd Turnbull might have introduced me to the Blogging concept, and the hip Aaron Adel might have pushed me into the pool, but the rise of Blogs around Doctor Who and Harry Potter fan fiction is what convinced me to stay, especially as I get deeper into my interest in writing.

I am not a pundit, nor am I techie. Okay, I'm a bit of a geek. But I'm not doing something earth-shatteringly different. I'm just doing something I've always done: talked -- to myself and others. The real revolution is that, for the first time in human civilization, everything we say and do can gain an audience if we work at it hard enough. And this revolution has its roots going back decades ago, from the moment the Internet began.


In other news: Please tell me this didn't actually make it to the floor of the house.


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