Given that today is the middle day of the year and that the evenings are starting to close in, it seems a good time to review what it is we bloggers do - blog.
This is hard on the heels of a brief dialogue held elsewhere in the comments box on a previous post where Jonathan and I exchanged ideas very briefly.
We spun over the issue of what a blog is, whether mine or his is such a thing and how they sit in the current manifestation of the blogosphere. I have been thinking over this issue among the many others that crowd my tiny mind, and wondered if he is right to posit that blogs, in the 'pure' form are journals or diaries.
Most Christian blogs are strings of pearls, each comprising many distinct and separate posts about many and varied subjects. Yes, some blogs have an axe to grind or a pre-occupation, but that is perhaps to be expected. Some blogs root their posts very clearly in the needs and psyche of the blogger whereas other rarely speak of the writer at all (which is not to say that they don't tell of the writer, for they are different things entirely). This blog, for example, is one such string. Rarely (if at all) will you ever find two posts side to side that are on the same topic. This is partly because my mind doesn't work that way, and partly because I favour the unpredictable 'product' of such a blog myself. Frankly, I tire of blogs that batter on about single topics - but that is just me.
Jonathan is, I think right, in that blogs were truer to their fuller name - 'weblogs' when they were personal journals. They have been around since Jesus was a lad, and started life as early electronic bulletin boards. Since the late '90s they have evolved into and from online diaries into their present manifestation, as described above. It is claimed that there are 158million live blogs - and I am guessing that in style terms, they cover just about everything. I think that this variety is less important than the other motivation that is made manifest in blogs - statistics.
Some bloggers do not ever speak of statistics. Some bloggers will claim that they are unimportant but will never waste an opportunity to mention their expanded array, and others are conspicuously statistically minded. As with church life, those of the different denominations (in terms of stats) are marginally suspicious of those who are different. The no-stats brigade regard the stats-crew as obsessed by exposure and numbers, that they play to the popular audience, for example. It appears to be the case that long-term bloggers are less gripped by the numbers, and that is perhaps because in the early days [years] of blogging, bloggers remain marginally unsure of their effect. I am certainly of that disposition. Am I right? Am I wrong? Who knows - except that bloggers who bang on about numbers lots and lots are tedious - another personal view.
So, what is a blog. Yes, once it was a diary, or a bulletin board. Today, it is just about anything that slaps the name above it. Purists will not be convinced, and the recent additions to the blogosphere will not care. In the end, the difference between the blogs is a great joy. For me, a diary blog would not float my boat unless the person writing it was significant to me in one way or another.
What is a blog? What is the place of stats counters? Are bloggers too fixated on readers, followers and page-hits? Does it matter? Thoughts please ...