It's 11:30pm the night of August 12th. But it's nearly 3am in New York and the delivery trucks are already dropping the Wednesday August 13, 2003 issue of The New York Times on the dirty sidewalks. Open the paper to op-ed page and once again we have Maureen Down writing about blogs. Rather Blah Blah Blogs.
She's jabbing a few kidney punches in her latest writing about the blog frenzy. And why not. Attack when something's up. And attack it when they're down. No matter what, just attack. Problem is, just cause you call it a blog — doesn't make it a blog.
[…] The most telling sign that the Internet is no longer the cool American frontier? Blogs, which sprang up to sass the establishment, have been overrun by the establishment […]
Maureen is of course referring to the vast amount of political pundits and candidates who have seen the success of Howard Dean's campaign and use of blogs and have jumped on the blogwagon.
[…] In a lame attempt to be hip, pols are posting soggy, foggy, bloggy musings on the Internet. Inspired by Howard Dean's success in fund-raising and mobilizing on the Web, candidates are crowding into the blogosphere [~] spewing out canned meanderings in a genre invented by unstructured exhibitionists […]
To be sure, Dowd has a point. That is many of the new political candidate blogs proliferating are canned, ghost written and sterile. She points to John Kerry and Tom Daschle's blogs as examples. Then poking fun at Bob Graham's self-appointed title of “the original blogger” she finds it interesting that a typical post on his blog simply states: “3:30 p.m. — Take bus to hotel.” Even the Wall Street Journal last week begged the question in Politicians Go Online — They can run, but can they blog?
Even Dean doesn't author his own blogs. But Dowd finds the Dean blogs interesting or funny. Thanks to Matt Gross who is Dean's blogmaster.
Is that where Down and other think the blogging world is headed. Remember when webmaster was a title at a company? Some might still use this dated term. But it connotates that simple notion that a company had a commitment to its website. And there was someone who was saddled with the responsibility and perhaps even held some degree of accountability to the availability, design and content of a company's website.
In the blog world “blogs” started out as simple extensions or web equivalents of an individual's journal or diary. But soon we had aggregated blogs. Things like BoingBoing, Kuro5hin and others. Blogs were already moving from single personas to synthesized and in some ways “packaged” creations. Good or bad? Who knows. If the essence of a blog is the expansion or expression of the character — or individual — then such sites shouldn't be categorized as blogs. they should be simply identified or called what they are: websites.
And thus begins another great semantical argument:
What's a blog?
If Kerry, Daschle and Graham hadn't firmly planted the stake in the ground and called their new “sites” blogs would Dowd had an editorial today?
There's too much pissing and moaning about good blogs and bad blogs. And worrying about some poor bastard's little site that could infect the blogging world and bastardize the whole state of blogging. Phooey. Relax.
Maybe it's time we just move away from the word “blog”. Been so damn hard to explain to the unaware for the last couple years anyway. Then maybe we see some better reporting. Better analysis. And better writing. Gee. Then things just might get better.