A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

30 December 2004

Never Duplicated, but Often Imitated

More on the Genre of Blogging

Hullo all. I've left you hanging quite long enough, I think. But it seems to me that that's allowed in the blogging game.

The question I posed was "What are the features of blogs which make blogging a distinct writing form?" But really, this is the wrong question. The correct one would be "What are the features of successful blogs?"

It's easy to find blogs. They're all over the place and at root have in common only their immediacy. Blogs allow the sage and the idiot to put whatever occupies their individual minds at any given time out there in cyberspace for all.

But the rules are not strictly defined. A major tenet of Metroblog is that I never re-edit a page after publication. As proof, I invite you to look at the "Travesty" entries below. Of course this requires a fairly strict (as blogs go) editorial policy. This is not the case with some.

But the unedited blog is an inefficient communication tool, barring exceptional skill on the part of the writer.

So first, how do we define a strong blog? In order to cut through the whole tangled problem, I did what any expert does, and referred to the experts:

  • The Bloggies

  • The Antibloggies

  • The Guardian

  • I mean, if you can't trust the Guardian, whom can you trust?
  • The Uncategorical Blogging Awards

  • 'Cos I thought the PETA Essay was great.

    Oh--and here's Max Cannon, a personal favourite. Not blog-related, but fun.

    The question I wanted to ask was: "Upon what criteria are blogs to be judged?" This requires a bit of study. From the pool of samples available through the above links, I came up with what seem to be the major features of a good blog.

    1) Good blogs are written in coherent English. Yes, that's amazingly anglocentric, but it demonstrates the limitations of my survey: I was only looking in English. So with apologies to the brilliant bloggers writing in Spanish, French, or Swahili, that's where we're gonna stick.

    None of the blogs nominated for awards used the teenspeak phone-text format (I wnt 2 c u 2nite).

    2) Blogs are immediately and exclusively personal (with the exception of the emerging corporate blog genre, increasingly observed by big brother and therefore somewhat muffled).

    Although marketing is penetrating the blog genre, it's still a sufficiently small part that we can ignore it from a statistical point of view, and I suspect we can ignore it as a marketing tool as well.

    3) Blogs are updated. Allowing huge amounts of time between posts loses your readership. I have seen a number of blogs where the author posts "I am not going to post today".

    The Anti-Blogggies actually have an award in the "Least Updated Blog" category, although the winner isn't as bad as some.

    Apart from these three characteristics it's a bit hard to find macro-scale criteria.

    Micro-criteria will have to await digestion of the facts.

    Are you with me so far?


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