Blogging: Exciting New Media or Exercise in Narcissisum?

OK, so everyone knows what a “blog” – or web log – is, right? Basically a website that is constantly updated with minimal fuss, essentially a combination online journal, commentary, and links page. Some are good (Instapundit), some are bad, and some are downright ugly (hey, I don’t bookmark links for the latter two categories).

So, I’m wondering two things:

  1. What do you guys think of blogging in general?

  2. Do any Dopers blog?

I keep thinking of going over to Blogger and setting up one for myself, and I can’t explain why. I can think of a million reasons why I shouldn’t – my schedule is too weird to update regularly, there’s already a zillion half-baked blog pages out there, I don’t really have anything to say that isn’t being said elsewhere, I could be spending that time doing other things, etc, etc. Every synapse in my brain says starting a blog page is a road to mediocrity and/or frustration, a project that I’ll probably ditch six months in. But I still wanna do it. Can any blogging Dopers share their thoughts and/or therapy?

I have weblog of sorts. I actually started it because I had friends without an internet connection at home, and I’m forever finding cool links, and a couple of them asked me to post them somewhere so they could go to them when they were somewhere with an internet connection.

I didn’t even know what a 'blog was until I saw people talking about them and went to see what they were, and realized that I kind of already had one.

I use Notepad and ftp to update it. This might change soon, since I want to reformat it for ease and accessibility, but I’m proud of myself for being able to code it myself.

I think it’s a shame that places like make it that blinkin’ easy to start it, just because if anyone can do it…ANYONE will, and I’m a gigantic snob. However, I also know that I’m under no obligation to read anyone else’s stuff. :smiley:

I read Metafilter and Fark several times a day…those are community weblogs, and they tend to have reasonably timely news because a lot of people are able to post to them.

I enjoy doing my weblog (when I keep up with it) because I like the idea that people may find entertaining links there that they normally wouldn’t have known about. I like to entertain. shrug

I’ll second Fark. (Have you had any links posted, Hama?) The comments are pretty funny and if the whole of my creativity for the day is limited to a simple one-liner in response to a silly news story or flamewar, then that’s good enough for me.

Along with the SDMB, Fark and Something Awful take up most of my web time.

If you want to blog, blog! See how it goes. If you flake out in 6 months, you do, but why not give it a shot?

That said, I have a prejudice against blogs. I have several websites (my own domains, I pay for the hosting) and I sometimes look for “bandwidth thieves”. A big offender is bloggers. I wade their their little pathetic ramblings to find that they’ve stolen a picture of mine. Then I replace the gif or jpg file they stole (they steal my bandwidth along with it) with a gif/jpg with admonishing message, or a picture of a big steaming pile of shit, or whatever… :smiley:

The one that really pissed me off was some jerk who linked to a picture I’d used for a Photoshop tutorial. It was a friend of mine, holding a sword. I put him on different “backgrounds”, using Photoshop. He looked fine, but this blogging jerk saw fit to link to one of the pictures of my friend, saying “Let’s all laugh at this idiot”. This from a moron who rambles and titters and posts pictures from teenybopper TV shows. I was so annoyed, I replaced the picture of my friend with the sword with a text message that said “Let’s all laugh at idiots who ramble about their pathetic lives in lame teen-angst online diaries”.

If you do blog, don’t make it lame or pathetic, and DON’T steal anyone else’s bandwidth when you post pictures!

I don’t really understand the point of blogs that are just links and comments. I can get that from dozens of other sites (like Metafilter, Slashdot, etc). OTOH, putting up a diary-esque blog is 100% more interesting and much more personal. Thus someone might actually care enough to read it.

I have a blog as well as a LiveJournal.

It gets me writing, and it’s a fun way to meet people and let your friends know what’s going on in your life.

Try it, it’s free. If you don’t like it, you haven’t lost anything.


I have like…5 journals and three journal communities, all for different things.

My Livejournal though because it’s VERY easy to post to (you can use a client).
It’s mainly for interaction, ramblings, news posts and well…random things.

The others are range from a “gay rights” blog and a review site to a humor archive and a community for fictional journals.

Yea, they all get me writing in some way, shape or form!

My buddy and I have a ‘blog’ which isn’t really a blog, but we use blogger because he’s across the country and it’s a pretty good group collaboration tool. We’re into humor mixed with commentary. Come have a look - The ‘Greatest Hits’ on the left are some of our better works. Let me know what you think.

Exciting New Media or Exercise in Narcissism?

Why not both?

Until fairly recently I regarded blogging as little different to the old “here is a list of my CDs” pages. But the sheer volume and interconnectedness of them is making it interesting. Their capacity to chew over stories quickly is impressive.

On strengths and weakness of blogging, here is an article from microcontentnews that I saw on metafilter: We are the Blogs. Journalism will be Assimilated.

Ogre and I launched a blog a couple of weeks ago. It’s still under construction, as we’re currently using a default template from Blogspot and a logo I whipped up in about 10 minutes, but the content is there. We generally give commentary or make jokes about items in the news, goings-on in the world, etc.

We’re largely unknown, but YOU, yes YOU have the power to change all that. :smiley:

Run, don’t walk, and read:

The World Wide Rant

Oh, and I agree with Hawthorne that it’s both.

Sam, I had no idea you were behind Happy Fun Pundit! I’m a regular reader!

Hey, cool! I figured there must be a few around here - I think there’s probably a major intersect between the blogworld and The Straight Dope.

Btw, I’m the ‘Dan’ of ‘Dan and Steve’.

I think we’ve got about 600 unique regular daily readers now. That’s pretty cool. Some days when we get linked by the ‘big guys’ we get 2000 or 3000 unique visits. And our readership is still going up by about 10% a week, so I guess we’re hanging onto people who follow links over. That’s my criterion for continuing - as long as we feel that people who read once are coming back again, then we’ll keep doing it because it’s a sign that we’re creating a bit of enjoyment out there. If the readership never grows, then the assumption would be that we’re just getting random hits from wherever.

But man, I’ve gotta tell you that writing a ‘long form’ blog is a lot of work - especially a humor blog. I have a new appreciation for TV writers. Trying to come up with something funny every day, no matter what kind of mood you’re in, is not easy. Which I’m sure you’ve noticed on occasion!

Oh, I should add that if you’re a bit leery of setting up a blog on your own, find a friend or two, and make it a collaborative effort. That way, the blog stays fresh all the time, and you can interact with each other. Blogger makes it easy to create ‘team’ blogs.

My ISP provides free webspace, and I decided to set mine up (for now) as a sort of 'blog. I update it usually once a week, and mostly it is just stuff that’s happened with my kids and I during the past week. :slight_smile: Yes I know, how exciting! :wink: I do occasionally make comments on interesting situations I’ve been in, and really the only people who the 'blog is made for is my immediate family. LOL In fact, my Mom lets me know when I haven’t updated it! I’ll probably switch to something different, but for now, the weblog format is working for me and my family seems to enjoy reading it. :slight_smile:


Isn’t the SDMB some sort of collective blog?

I’d say that blogs are sort of the middle ground between interactive message boards like this and ‘traditional’ web sites. Blogs make authoring content so easy that they do lead to ‘discussions’ between different blogs, but the format favors longer form, more general-public oriented posts.

Does Hemlock’s Diary count?

I think blogging is great. The democratization of political or other commentary. For decades, only a select few people ever got to have a column in the newspaper or some other forum - and for them it was narcissistic as well as a job. The other 99% of the population could write a letter to the newspaper, and that was it. Now, anyone can do it. Of course, most of it is garbage, but that’s not the point. If just one or two people gain a wide readership and provide some extra competition for the established commentators, it’s a good thing.

Similar to bands posting their songs on the web.

OK, so I finally broke down and set up a blog. I also went the whole nine yards and registered a domain name and found a new webhost, since I found out that Yahoo isn’t allowing free FTP anymore. And I spent a ridiculous amount of time teaching myself about style sheets, etc, to bring my old web pages into conformity with the new site.

So without further ado, my new page, including the blog, is at:

Expect high levels of lameness, especially in the early going.