Someone asked me recently, “What’s a blog?” And after I got over the initial shock and wonder, repeatedly asking myself “is he (yes, he) for real?”, I tried my best to answer.
Seriously, what IS a blog? I guess it’s a journal or diary. Or a news outlet. Or a discussion forum. Or about a million other things.
Technically, the root of the term comes from the longer word “weblog”, meaning a log, on the web. Log like a record of some kind.
But what IS it? For me, it’s a double edged sword; a chore and a hobby. It’s work, sometimes, and sometimes it’s great fun. And sometimes it’s a pain in the a&&; especially when I have nothing of interest to write about, or when my blogging platform, wordpress, causes me no end of headaches and pain and grief as I try to solve some problem I’m having with the site. A site without a dynamic component, like wordpress, can be MUCH easier to handle than a blogging platform. If you folks out there had any idea how much of my life has been wasted as I’ve sat and stared at a screen wondering ‘now why the hell doesn’t it work’, you’d send money. Or drugs. Or money and drugs. Or, well, something. It’s ridiculous.
But I digress. Which is fine, of course, because it’s a blog, and it’s my blog, and I’m allowed to digress. I’m allowed to cuss, or joke, or be serious, or write long, wandering sentences, or short snappy ones, or punctuate correctly .. or not .. that’s one of the real benefits of the blog, you see … it’s pretty much whatever the blogger wants to write, or post. It can be no words at all, just images, as a photo blog. But not videos, then it would be called a vlog. There are rules, apparently.
One of the appeals of the blog, for people everywhere, is it is a platform to communicate. To everyone. Or to no one. To anyone. So blogs became incredibly popular. I’ve no idea what the exact percentage is, but the majority of websites today have a blog … now see, if this were a “proper article”, on a “proper website”, with a “proper editor”, I’d have to go do some research and come up with a reasonably supported percentage their, with “proper attribution”, of course. But, it’s not, it’s just a blog, my blog, so I needn’t bother. But trust me, most websites today have blogs – mainly because all the SEO gurus 5-10 years ago loved to say ‘you gotta blog’, and things like that.
So now, we blog. Not weblog, like it was originally, we blog. We blog and blog, and then stop blogging. For a while. Then back to it again. It’s hard. Here’s how hard it is; I’m actually writing about what a blog is. Yet that’s the beauty of it, and appeal of it, too, you see; that’s also how easy it is. I’m blogging about what a blog is. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Other than not blogging at all.
So we don’t really know what a blog is. But they’re immensely popular. And some of them are very good; but most, like this one, wander and ramble, have their moments of greatness, and their stints in the darkness, they shone and dull, they glow and they fade. Much like, I guess, ourselves. So blogs could well be a wonderful abstract illustration of ourselves;of humanity.
Most blogs are a reach for stardom, I suppose, but, just like bloggers and all people, most fall short of that. Well, they don’t fall short, they just don’t attain it. But they’re still blogs.
In short, I’m not sure what a blog is. And I’m not sure anyone else is, either. It’ll be interesting to see how long their hold on the ole internets lasts; nothing is forever, eh?
Had to laugh when you mentioned “why the hell doesn’t it work.” If I had a nickel for every time I said or thought that in those whole website creation/development/misery – well, I might be rich enough to hire a ghost writer to keep up my blog.
I have often wondered about the relevance of blogs – are they still as relevant in the age of social media giants that want you to post on their sites so they can take advantage of your content? Or do the audiences just end up preferring only a single stream of information being fed to them, like one dial on the radio?
Then there is what happens to them when we’re gone? They disappear from the server when the bills aren’t being paid anymore to keep them there – historically relevant posts like this one lost to the overwritten bits on a magnetic platter or in a NSA database somewhere. Questions, questions…
You can afford the ghost writer from this blog. He’s not very good, but he work cheap .. when he works. 🙂
I think the big attraction for the social media channels is that one single stream .. notice how few people even use an RSS feed any more? Also, the speed of information and posts over something Facebook or Twitter appeals to a lot of people; the conversation is real-time and easy to follow.
The flip side of your thoughts on what happens when we’re gone .. what about all the stuff on the Face and twitter, etc, after we’er gone, that stays around and around. I think I’d rather it all be scrapped when I’m gone.
I suspect the blog-mania will wind down, and consolidate into a few blogs that do well, and have a good, niche following, and the rest of ours will dry up, wither and rot. Which is fine, I guess. Particularly for topics like, say, nature photography, which are somewhat limited in their subject matter.