Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Agree or Disagree?

"Is blogging self-expression, personal publishing, amateur journalism, the biggest disruptive technology since email, an online community, alternative media, curriculum for students, a customer relations strategy, knowledge management, navel gazing, a solution to boredom, a style of writing, e-mail to everyone, a fad, the answer to illiteracy, an online persona, social networking, rêsumê fodder, phonecam pictures, or something to hide from your mother? It’s all of these and more."
-Biz Stone

In all of my zeal to track the genealogy of blogging, it seems that I skipped over the step of first defining what is a blog (or, perhaps, the need for definition only arises after reading so many parallel yet divergent creation myths). So, I thought I would ask you. Again.

What is that which we call a blog? A blog by any other name, would it be as sweet to read?

(...And, yes, I am in the midst of a thesis writing frenzy. Deadlines inspire...panic inspires...writing achieves...thesis required for...graduation yields...unemployment - another story entirely!)

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Um, Who Did Let the Blogs Out?

Who Started the Fire?

In researching my thesis, I've spent a good amount of time focusing on the rise of blog culture. When did blogs first begin? Who started blogging? How did it evolve? Are there factions of bloggers? Who are the original bloggers? Are there generations of bloggers? What have blogs accomplished? What are the implications of bloging in society?

You may find these questions quite similar to the ones I previously asked about blog carnivals. Indeed. The two questions are very connected.

In doing offline research (print publications are privileged in academia as "good" sources), I've encountered a standard origin myth. Most Important Event: 1999 - Blogger launched. Big Names and Sites: Biz Stone, EatonWorld, Rebecca Blood, Xanga, CamWorld, Jason Kottke, Blogger, Scripting News, Doc Searls, et al. Types of Blogs: Filter (link list), diary/notebook/journal, topical (follows certain subject), collaborative (multiple contributrors), combination (some of all of the above). Success recipe: Frequency, quality, personality. Financial Implications: Ads, book deals, career advancement, as well as the more common neutral or negative outcomes. Political Implications: Alternative media, democratic internet, self-publishing revolution, warblogs and new influence on mainstream/traditional media, making politics happen (Howard Dean campaign, Trent Lott scandal).

So, without looking to defame any particular bloggers or trash any particular recounting of events, I'm just wondering if there are other versions of this story. Is there another creation tale? Does the hegemonic version of events leave out any details, persons, events? Does the feminist blogosphere share in this story of beginnings, or did it follow a different evolutionary path? Would feminist bloggers like to make some amendments to the popular record?

And, perhaps most to the point, has anyone blogged about this???

Sample Sources:

Blood, Rebecca. The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Maintaining Your Blog. Cambridge: Perseus, 2002.

Rak, Julie. “The Digital Queer: Weblogs and Internet Identity.” Biography 28.1 (2005): 166-82.

Stone, Biz. Who Let the Blogs Out?: A Hyperconnected Peek at the World of Weblogs. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2004.

Please read the Informed Consent Form in full before posting to this blog.