by Matthew Ford [e-mail]
Bloggers scour the internet, blog what interests them, read other blogs, and if they see something they like, they blog it on their own blogs too.
Tom is disappointed by the lack of debauchery at his office party, passionate about the creative potential of the web and sometimes strangers like his site enough to send him presents. Tom is a blogger and I know all about him because for the last few months I’ve been reading his weblog (www.plasticbag.org).
In its purest form a weblog (or blog) is a collection of links, commentary and often intimate diary-style content. Blogging is a DIY publishing phenomenon thousands strong, made possible by Pyra, a company that produces a feww internet application called Blogger (www.blogger.com).
To the uninitiated, bloggers can seem narcissistic and slightly geeky, but by putting their lives online they’re probably closer to the DIY utopian dreams of the early internet pioneers than any dotcom ‘cash cow’ can ever be.
Websites used to have to be slowly hand-coded, but Blogger makes it possible to set up a site in minutes, edit it in seconds, and work on it anywhere with internet access. The result is an international, inconnected community.
Some cult sites get thousands of visitors every day, develop a devoted community of readers, and inspire soap opera-style discussion. Two of the most influential US bloggers – Meg (www.megnut.com) and Jason (www.kottke.org) – were outed when sleuths discovered their private romance through clues on their sites.
Bloggers frequently copy, parody and play with ideas from each other’s sites. Many bloggers work in internet-related jobs, and blogs are often the source of trends that are hyped across the web. The ease of publishing on blogs allows individuals to talk to the world, perhaps in a way they couldn’t talk to their friends and family?cated to special interest groups like gay politics (www.hit-or-miss.org/queeries) or media gossip www.medianews.org).
Blogging can seem a strange world, but it’s free, playful and constantly innovative. Isn’t that everything the net should be about?