The Best of Blood Thursday, October 27 12:36 AM
While weblogs had always included a mix of links, commentary, and personal notes, in the post-Blogger explosion increasing numbers of weblogs eschewed this focus on the web-at-large in favor of a sort of short-form journal. These blogs, often updated several times a day, were instead a record of the blogger's thoughts: something noticed on the way to work, notes about the weekend, a quick reflection on some subject or another.
It is this free-form interface combined with absolute ease of use which has, in my opinion, done more to impel the shift from the filter-style weblog to journal-style blog than any other factor. And there has been a shift.
Lacking a focus on the outside world, the blogger is compelled to share his world with whomever is reading. He may engage other bloggers in conversation about the interests they share. He may reflect on a book he is reading, or the behavior of someone on the bus. He might describe a flower that he saw growing between the cracks of a sidewalk on his way to work. Or he may simply jot notes about his life: what work is like, what he had for dinner, what he thought of a recent movie. These fragments, pieced together over months, can provide an unexpectedly intimate view of what it is to be a particular individual in a particular place at a particular time.
We are being pummeled by a deluge of data and unless we create time and spaces in which to reflect, we will be left with only our reactions. I strongly believe in the power of weblogs to transform both writers and readers from "audience" to "public" and from "consumer" to "creator." Weblogs are no panacea for the crippling effects of a media-saturated culture, but I believe they are one antidote.
Blogger really was easy to use. When news stories began defining weblogs as "a website made with Blogger", it quickly became the most widely used blogging tool. And that changed weblogs.
It was an interface decision that did this. Consider Pitas, another early weblog updater, which provided users with two simple form boxes: one for a URL, and one for the writer's remarks. Hitting the "post" button generated a link followed by commentary.
Blogger was simpler still, consisting of a single form box field into which the blogger typed whatever they wanted.
For many, weblogs are unthinkable without comments and the community of readers that comments make visible. Indeed, some have criticized comment-free weblogs as merely an inferior form of broadcast media.
With the wide adoption and innovation of weblog software, the age of the generalists has given way to the age of the amateurs.