While I have been nosing about the World Wide Web for almost ten years now, this weblog thing sort of crept up on me. I knew what personal web sites were, and thought having one would be interesting. But I associated blogs with brave/foolish corporate and government insiders who published frequently and anonymously about what they knew best. Very much the outsider, I knew that was not me. What inside stuff did I know? As I had already begun to despair about the growing lack of honestly and competence found on many websites, I assumed that blogs mainly provided an easy outlet for people with more attitude than altitude. Or as they say in Texas, more hat than cattle. And as for reading blogs, I would always rather play than watch.
Then my .Mac account offered a "HomePage" feature. I used it several years ago to make available to one and all, among more tasteful images, a "carpenter's butt" photo of myself. With no public outcry for more - just groans - I finally deleted the page. But I sort of liked giving my friends a crack at seeing what I had been up to.
However this past year it became hard to turn around without seeing or hearing references to blogs and comments on blogging in general. Certainly the presidential election - the Dean campaign especially - focused much attention on bloggers. Doonesbury made blogging a story line. Finally my curiosity got the better of me and one day last fall I googled "blogs" and our story here began.
I soon learned there were websites devoted to hosting blogs. After looking around hosting sites I started visiting individual blogs. The NEXT BLOG>> button in the top right hand corner of most Blogger hosted sites led me to many types, created by all kinds of people for a variety of purposes. And there seemed to be millions of them. Further, many blogs have links to other blogs, creating sort of a web within the web. Bloglines, another popular bloghosting site, offers a constantly updated top 200 blog links, as does Technorati. This constant taking-of-the-temperature of the blog world was fascinating, especially just before an election.
Many bloggers revealed quite personal details of their lives while protecting their identity. Others revealed little about themselves while posting about every subject I could think of, and a few beyond my imagination. Some blogs had become quite popular, receiving more daily hits than most commercial or institutional websites. Indeed, there seemed to be developing a blurred line between blogs and other web sites. In short, here was a large and wild part of the web I had never visited, a new electronic continent to be explored.
By the end of the year bloggers almost became Time magazine's Person of the Year. This mock-up shows what someone thought Time's cover might have looked like.
ABC News did award bloggers "People of the Year." Both seemed to be focusing on the journalism aspect of blogging and potential and real political influence. However, Time did note the varied nature and some of the implications of this new medium. By then it had become just too juicy, I had decided to play as well as watch.
Since the essence of blogs is frequent postings, I created a Blogs folder in my bookmarks so I could easily revisit those that caught my interest. Eventually visiting some of these blogs became as routine as my morning cup of coffee. Over the next few weeks I will share some of these with you.