Personal Publishing

Death of the Weblog?

Did everyone in the weblogging world get sent this link: Death to the Weblog? It’s a really weird site, which I can’t quite get a handle on. It seems to be about 2/3 spoof and 1/3 serious, or maybe the other way around, and includes great quotes like this:

“It just seems so restrained… like they worry. “Oh God, what if ‘so-and-so’ reads this???”.
FUCK EM!!!! If people can drag a loved one on a talk show, and drop a bomb like: “Honey, there’s a reason why we haven’t had sex in our eight years of marriage…I’M REALLY A MAN.”, in front of 20 million people….Why can’t we call someone an asshole on our webpages????”

This is one of the oldest online personal publishing problems: the “what if someone I know reads this” syndrome. The things you gradually excise out of your daily monologue to the world increase with time (does this make your weblog less interesting). The first minor spat I had with Sam before our unceremonious parting (case in point – don’t think I mentioned that) was about whether or not I could legimately talk about our burgeoning relationship in a public place. And then there’s my oft repeated story about when my brother e-mailed me about something I had written asking if I thought he should tell my mother. And then of course there’s the fact that everyone at work knows that I post my thoughts here. Am I to be fired, excommunicated or even prosecuted simply in order to maintain the purity of my weblog? I feel the same impetus as every other weblogger to tell the truth (what’s the point otherwise), but there will unfortunately be limits.

In the meantime, what is one to write about? It has to be said there are indeed a lot of boring weblogs. Many of them just don’t match my interests (and I am sure that barbelith doesn’t do it for everyone), but there are a few that are genuinely dull. Honestly, I think it all comes down to passion. Write about what you care about and everything is fine. If that is something in your personal life, then fine. If it is something in your professional life, great. If it is something on the web, also cool. You just can’t go wrong with an attitude like that.

There’s this really interesting weblog run by a guy called Matthew Rossi that I read occasionally, which has been looking at the criticisms in “Death to the Weblogs” (metacubed has a piece too). I think I’ll leave this subject on this point because he illustrates how one can take a fairly average subject and make something gripping out it. He says:

“While [the “Death to Weblogs”] rant was right about a lot of what goes on in Weblogging, it was also guily of it. Where’s the rage?

“Where’s the ‘I slave over the embers of my diseased imagination all day to bring you blogs about my twin brother, a necromantic hold over inside the lining of my skull, about Yahweh as Azathoth, about the arcane attributes of mayonnaise and Zueglodon sightings…and the best you can give me in return is dietary restrictions? A POX ON THEE!’ Where are the howlings of ‘Be more like Meghan! Be more like Barbelith! Hell, be like none of them…but for God/Yog Sothoth’s sake, be something other than this! If I wanted painfully boring details of your life, I’d be reading Proust!’?”