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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Most blogs are annoyingly predictable.

Traditionally, I've always thought of blogs as a kind of sob story outlet venue. Site after site is filled with detail-laden versions of the same basic story: "Life is terrible, and all I can do is write about it, so that everyone can see how terrible it is for me, personally." Or worse, the "There is nothing in my life to do, so I'll write about how unfulfilled I am" theme.

My cynical point of view has only been reinforced, since I found out about tools like Technorati and Bloglines. What I saw then was a third, more chilling alternative sub-message: "I'm right, you're wrong, and here are 40,000 web sites to make you see that." is maybe a less than stellar example of this, but I just want to cite this guy to raise awareness that this idiot actually has a following. Something like 6,000 links to his site. Honestly, I'm not having a bad day. This is just part of what I see on the Interweb these days, although I know I only see a fraction of all that is posted out there.

To be fair, there are other blogs, which number far less than they should, but are actually useful. How To's and niche-oriented blogs are clever references to validate hobbies and exotic interests and to unite distinctly isolated groups of people. There are over 1,000 posts about Star Wars action figures. There is a blog devoted to a cooking show by Rachel Ray, where devout watchers post recipes for 30-minute meals and then comment on how well they worked out or how they changed the recipes.

Even better are the news sites. These pages function as mega-connections between worthy news outlets. The other day I found an article which cited different pieces of information broadcast from the BBC, NPR, the Associated Press, and Fox News. So I can't stand Fox News, but still, this capacity to draw a line between competing sources and to offer immediate comparisons is an amazingly helpful use of Web space.

Yet, the thread I see running through privately operated sites is the (somewhat desperate) hope that someone will care about what we have to say. Obviously, we all have our own opinions about things, but it seems hard to pull off a blog in which you share your views, without sounding self-important. I'm by no means saying that my own blog will succeed where others have failed. God knows, I have a lot of things to say that I've never gotten out. I'm the youngest of four very opinioniated and well-educated daughters, so I've done a lot of listening in my time.

But I think the difference between the sob sites and the salutary sites, is just the author's level of expectation that people will want to read what they post. Those really great sites are the ones written for the sake of writing, not for the sake of telling, and in the process can drown out the blaring violins playing behind those ill-conceived online diaries.

[Cross-posted from Post-december]


At Thu Jan 26, 02:50:00 PM, Blogger Steve said...

AMEN, SISTER! God, you really hit that nail right on the head. Just wanted to say thanks for putting my thoughts into elegant words, I couldn't have done it better myself. It's nice to know I'm not alone.


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