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a weblog by any other name....

a weblog by any other name

Do a search for a definition of the term weblog and you will find many answers. It's where someone logs other webpages they find interesting. It is "commentaries, individual or collective on their particular themes." Whatever definition you come up with, it will never cover all the bases. Because each weblog is as different as the next.

You can't take one word and expect it to encompass such a disparate group of sites. Just the same, you can't sit and compare all these sites to each other, because while they may all hold the title weblog, they are defined in a separate way.

Let's take beer. You can all brewed hops and barley and malt beer, but they certainly don't taste or look the same. If you sat at a bar and started to compare Schlitz Lite to Sam Adams, you would be laughed at. It's the same with music. You can throw the word "punk" around all you want, but Blink 182 is not in the same league as Black Flag.

The same goes for weblogs. You can't compare them. You can't say weblog A is better than weblog B when A is all links and news with commentary and B is more personal and journal-like. Take, for instance, Little Green Footballs, Bluezfire and Chris Pirillo. Politics, personal and tech talk. And they may at one time or another talk about all three things, they are, for the most part, theme specific blogs. You could lump them into a category by saying that they are good blogs. Or well written blogs. Or entertaining. But that's more of an opinion than a description or a genre.

Why is it necessary to compare and contrast at all? Why pit one weblogger against another? Why draw lines and make competitions out of comparisons?

I've seen way too many blogs in recent weeks debate the merit of one over another. Every weblog, and they number well into the thousands now, has its own personality as unique as the owner of that site. People pour their hearts and souls and so much time into their blogs. We risk our self worth in some cases by putting our thoughts and opinions and attempts at writing out for public consumption. It isn't necessary for someone else to turn around and make a post demeaning another person's feelings, or comparing a blogger's writing skills to someone they think is better. There's no purpose in that. Nothing is gained except someone's bruised feelings.

Sure, there are blogs that I don't bother reading. Yes, some of them are nothing but filler and "what I ate for lunch today." Maybe you think this is one of those. That's fine. If I come across a blog I don't care for, I just move on. I don't spend time writing about its deficiencies or comparing it to blogs I think are better. There's no point in that, especially since some people prefer Blink 182 to Black Flag.


Does this mean that you personally guarantee that every link in your sidebar has the Michele S... the Michele Catalano Seal of Weblog Approval?

Yes, D. It does. It means that I enjoy each and every one of them, for many different reasons.

Especially because of the regular deposits of gold bullion into her Swiss bank account.

You leave her gold bullion? I just leave her regular bullion, like the little cubes you make soup with... and other little deposits on the front doorstep.

But I told you a million times, chicken not beef. Yet you keep leaving the beef.

Very well said! I've often thought the same. Some people call their journals weblogs, but some journalers get all bent out of shape if you call their site a weblog It's silly. Nikolai's Bloggie deal had a very defined definition of a weblog. Yet more than half the sites nominated were not a "blog" under said definition. I mean, the majority of sites can generally be put into one of the two categories, but they are not strict. Most journals have a link or two and a lot of weblogs (like mine) have a little bit of journal-ly content along with links. A lot of "pure" journalers don't believe you should include links unless it is to illustrate a point, and a lot of "pure" webloggers say you should just have links, and comments on those links. They claim someone can get a feel of your personality from that. Which is true enough, but I don't want to look back 5 years from now and have nothing but a collection of links I found. And I don't have the time or desire to do anything like a full-fledged journal. So I mix it up, like a lot of people.
I don't think it matters what you call it if people are reading it. Ha! The "what I ate for lunch today" comment is so true! I always use that as the classic example of weblog banality (this is not to say some gifted writers can't write about their lunch and make it interesting.) What is up with that? I don't know. Maybe some people feel they have to write something every day as some sort of routine, even if it's . . .noninteresting.
I am just looking at my daily links - Boing Boing, BadSam, yourself, ed, melly, miss b., mecawilson, wood s lot, davezilla . . .they could hardly be more different. Yet all are so good.

I have a sinking feeling that this whole post refers to the inadvertent faux pas I made.

Yes, you were cited. Yes, I said I "put my money on you." It wasn't meant as anything punitively valuative, as it came out.

I'm ashamed, however, that the whole thing got out of hand. It's amazing, especially given that the written word conveys a different personal meaning for everyone... So, for that matter, I meant one thing, and unfortunately, the rest of the blogging world read me a different way.

I'm, again, ashamed that this has started some sort of weird, bad blood in the blogging community.

No, no James. This was a long time coming. I was actually flattered that you mentioned my site.

It's not bad blood.It's just me voicing my opinion on something that has been bothering me for a while.

Good, good.
I was a bit dismayed at TimesBoy's response. How could he take my comment so seriously as to call it snide and then proceed as he did?

Poor guy, he's just green.
... not like I'm not, but I've got a good six months behind me.

She asked for bouillon? Not bullion?
Damn, that was an expensive typo.

Well pointed out. I agree and people who compare Blink 18poo to Black Flag should be shot.

Re: The TimeBoy Debacle: Nothing wrong with stating a preference. Personal opinions have no need to be backed up with evidence on why so and so has merit and so and so doesn't. It's a personal preference, and as such should be taken with a grain of salt.

Re: Comparisons: Shakespeare said that comparisons were odious (or odourous, depending on the character) and sometimes I agree and sometimes I don't. I quite honestly think that Michele's (not to suck up) (and Dave's and several others who I could mention) writing has some merit. They write grammatically well (unlike me who just doubled up on parentheses) and with structure. Their stories and anecdotes are humourous and reek of personal style. That does compare favourably to the poor soul who wants to write and express themselves but is lost in bad grammar, redundancy, and just plain awful writing. Not that it's not really neefty that person x is trying to express themselves. It's just that there is a certain ammount of natural talent that some folks seem to have, and other folks, alas, don't.

When it comes to comparing good writers though....that's more a matter of personal opinion and subject matter.

i still think that baby's blog has pushed me too far...

me? i'm still wondering what you had for lunch...

I had to margaritas for lunch, Mikey. Maybe that explains a few things?

God that was a beautiful post.
I agree totally.
And could you pass that pitcher of margaritas?