CW Fisher wrote about the proliferation of “I” in blogs, then amended those thoughts with one of the best pieces I’ve read about blogging. In a comment, Isaac: wrote,
Fascinating stuff… this whole blog phenom just hasn’t straightened itself out yet, so who knows what kind of writing to call it? And remember — rules for writing should increase accessibility and help convey messages; not serve as prescriptive left-over remnants of the past.
Isaac is right — this is an entirely new form of writing. It’s certainly spawned its fair share of vocabulary. Blog, blogger, blogging, blogosphere, blog rolling and many others have in a short period of time gone from oblivion to cliché. I hate all those words — they sound almost obscene, but I’m too lazy to go about re-inventing vocabulary.
I’m new to the web log scene, and before then, I’d never even really read that many of them. I started writing online because a friend bought me the domain name and, already having a web site, I had to so something with it. I’m not new to daily writing, though, as I’ve kept a journal for over twelve years, amassing close to two million words in that time.
Yet blogging is not journaling.
Nor, as Isaac implied, is it like any other form of writing.
Privacy issues and instant, world-wide accessibility aside, there is one thing about blogging that makes it different from almost all other forms of writing. It’s the activity I’m engaged in right now — metablogging. Blogging about blogging.
Since I’ve been exploring the blog world, I’ve found that we tend to write an amazing amount about what we and others are doing to the blogosphere. Of course it is a world of pundits musing, rambling, ranting, and a host of other blog-clichés about anything from seeing Star Wars trailers online to grieving the loss of a wife, but what I see more often than anything else is blogging about blogging.
The blogging world is a giant printer cable swallowing its own tail, very often publishing about publishing.
He says in self-indictement.
So why do we all do it? We’re all enamored with this new technology we’re creating–writing about blogging is standing before a mirror. It’s preening. And it’s the one thing all bloggers have in common. That’s why the post I’ve written on blog-related topics have gotten the most comments. Not everyone cares about Poland or religion (my two favorite topics, truth be told), but most people who bump through care about blogging.
Yet this is somewhat logical, this metablogging, because blogs cannot exist in a vacuum. How many blogs, after all, are there which have no links to other blogs? Before the advent of Blog Explosion and similar sites, blogging was a more organic activity. Manually inserting links, then blog rolling was how everyone kept track of blogs, and how everyone else discovered new ones. Blog Explosion tends to make it a bit more commercial, especially given the fact that we can buy credits. This explains why we see “Pro-Life Blogs” appear time and time again on Blog Explosion. Throw together a banner and we all can have our cyber billboards.
Yet despite Blog Explosion and similar tools, checking out your favorite blogs’ links is still the best way to find interesting reading, and so we’re all still dependent on each other, which goes some way in explaining why we love to blog about blogging.
The question of why we blog about blogging is overshadowed by the larger, more blog-existential question: Why do we even keep a blog at all? If you’re reading this, chances are you keep a blog. Why? Most people blog like they live: without thinking.
I’m not well-read on blogs (probably never will be–there’s too much crap out there), but among all those I’ve ready, only once have I found an expression of the philosophy behind the blogging, an answer to the question, “Why am I doing this?”
Fr. Thomas Dowd, keeper of the blog Waiting in Joyful Hope writes that the philosophy behind his blog is simple:
One item, once per day, inspired by something that happened that day. [. . .] Sometimes my blog will have a direct reflection on my day, other times it will seem to be a more “theoretical” reflection, but I can guarantee that it is (almost) always inspired by something from that day.
A philosophy — why I’m doing this. It’s a great idea. When I ask myself, I’ve no answer.
Because I got the domain name? Hardly a reason.
I must come up with some better reason to continue.