I've thought about this a couple of times by now: Is it good or bad style to meta-blog? I don't know. I have the feeling it might be bad style, but no compelling reasons why it actually should be. Plus, it's quite tempting to do, so I might just get it off my agenda right now.
This post was triggered by this analysis and the texts it links to. [Via Halley's Comment. She also mentions the displaying-your-name-on-your-blog problem in her post, giving it – probably rightly – even greater emphasis than I do.]
To cut a long story short – why am I doing this. Don't know really, bumped into some other blogs while searching for things on the web and got stuck somehow. Also, it seems to be a good way to flush my brain of things that bug me but I can't get rid of otherwise. Being the terrible mess that it is, it frequently comes up with more junk than I can juggle around at once. So putting it down seems good. The same is true for links: I like putting interesting links (links that I found interesting at the time, that is) into my blog: It doesn't clutter my normal bookmarks and makes sure I don't have to file those links in an orderly fashion; I can give some extra context to those links, something I cannot do using bookmarks; I can do my little thing to tweak Google results in favour of the pages I like a little (OK, that's a side effect, rather than an objective). Be sure to check out Feedster's links only feature for this.
This alone might not lead to blogging, and there are indeed a couple of extra things. I'd file them as excuses for things I like doing but don't have the opportunity to do otherwise: I happen to like writing things, long-wound things and getting carried away while doing this. I also enjoy piecing things together that don't obviously belong together, placing links etc. These are sometimes confusing and things may not work out as clearly for other people as they seem to me, but I sometimes try to explain.
The last point indicates that I don't solely write for myself. I wouldn't need the extra explanations if I wrote for myself. I like the idea that other people may be interested in similar topics as I am and even enjoy reading what I write. I like even more if I am given further input. This is particularly true as most of the people I see every day don't care for many of the topics I am interested in. Thus talking to them about those topics is mostly boring for them and frustrating for me, whereas talking to them about things they care about as well while putting the rest up here seems much more reasonable and enjoyable. This also means that the texts that I put up here I biased towards certain topics. It is also highly censored. For the benefit of both myself and my readers.
Other things I enjoy and that lead to blogging are playing with HTML and the web. I've done this for almost ten years now and while the web has become a frustrating place in many ways, it never ceased to amaze me. There surely is enough good content out there to keep us all busy for more than a lifetime – regardless of what we're interested in. Blogs tend to make finding those good places easier.
I also like including pictures here. I don't do that enough, as I don't have a digital camera. Another thing I rarely do is link to my 'real life' friends. That's because very few of them have web sites and apart from Richard none have blogs. So there's not much to link to. It also makes writing about them a bit strange, as they most likely won't mean much to whoever is reading this.
The texts I quoted at the beginning, discuss what they call 'A-list' bloggers in great detail. I used to think of the blogs in question as popular blogs because that's exactly what they are. As those texts point out, those bloggers aren't necessarily better than others but they're well known and well linked. I thought about that topic recently as I deleted the last popular blog from my subscriptions. Reading those blogs was a good starting point. And while their writers link as incestuously as everybody else does, there's always the odd link that will carry you to some bit of the net that you may find much more interesting. By now, I've found more than enough blogs that I consider more interesting in both style and content than those popular blogs, so it was time to unsubscribe. This was particularly painless as any genuinely interesting post on those blogs is bound to be linked by someone I read, so their popularity saves me the effort.
The issue of unsubscribing is quite interesting as well. I find it hard to do. Once I got used to reading something, it takes more of an effort to unsubscribe than it took to subscribe. Occasionally I'll sift through my subscriptions, and make sure I get rid of those which I don't enjoy too much lately. That's bound to be unfair as everybody seems to have their good and bad weeks but it's the only way to keep my intake at a reasonable level.
This doesn't mean I have great fluctuations in my subscriptions, though. Those non-popular blogs have a more personal feel to them and following them for a while is getting to know them. I'll know who's subtle and who's bold; I'll know who's mainly a technical person and who isn't etc. And that kind of context changes the way I read their texts and means I'll develop some kind of familiarity with them. So saying good bye to blogs isn't too easy.
One more thing I'd be interested in doing is to participate in a multi-person blog. The only problem is that I don't have a topic and the people right now that I think this could work for. It could be an interesting collaboration tool. I'll just wait a few years, I guess.
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