A blog in the system

Upon first inspection, the sites reminded me of a group of canvases where artists had thrown down random splotches of paint. Some of the written and visual content of the blogs seemed to be pulled from … well, minds that tended to wander. Yet, some of it was art. Accidental writing, at times emotional and arbitrary (like this, you say!). Open head, insert into blog. Varied content was a nice way of putting it.

Blogging is sometimes difficult to define. That’s because it is still emerging, and we can’t tell exactly what it will grow up to be. And that’s the good part. It is a new medium, and it’s trying to separate itself from its parent, the World Wide Web, which itself was new just a dozen years ago. Emerging media often do this—with maturation, they pull away from the old media from whence they came. E-mail came from mail but has now become its own, sometimes annoying, world of communication.

“Blog” is already a part of our language, and Merriam-Webster just announced that blog was in the top 10 words of the year because of the number of times people hit on it with Web-sites searches. Perhaps it is overused now that the politicians and the old media pounced on it during the presidential election as a source for “information.” And therein lay an interesting conundrum: how to define it, or even whether we should. The old rules of journalism don’t apply to most blogs, because blogging is not really journalism done by professionals. But wait, what is it if not writing in a journal that happens to be on a Web page?

To get more comfortable with what kind of blogging is going on in our area, read Chrisanne Beckner’s cover story (“Sacto blogo”). As far as concrete definitions, maybe we should just say the blogs we looked at are enabling social contact and leave it that. Or wait for blogs to grow up.