On Blogging

Blogs are really getting popular. I saw a press release yesterday announcing a new blog by Jeff Tonkel. Since when was a new blog a news item?
I also see news items about blogs, like the one about Jonathan Schwartz’s blog. “He’s been doing it again,” runs the teaser in the email from Sys-Con, “blogging that is.”
So now it’s news that someone new is blogging, and that someone already blogging has added a new entry. To be fair I guess the thrust of the Jonathan Schwartz story is about what’s in his blog related to the hot topic of open sourcing Java.
To me blogging is still something relatively new. I mean I’m often trying out new things. I think of a blog a lot like a journal, and have tried posting blogs about what I’ve been doing and where I’ve been.
Today I’m in San Francisco, for example, at the Paolmar Hotel. My room overlooks the Virgin Megastore and the Apple Store, and around lunchtime today I visited both. Boy, those iPod accessories are pricey. At the Megastore I found a copy of a Johnny Otis CD for $9.99. How could I resist?
Other times I’ve written about things I’ve been thinking about. I’ve gotten myself in trouble at least twice writing about things without adequate research. Part of the difficulty, of course, is that if you start a blog you have to keep up with it, and like any other regular column, comic strip, or TV show, you are always having to come up with new ideas. So I may pull an old idea out and write about it without taking the time to update my thinking, or try to think of something controversial to say that will get my blog noticed among all the other blogs out there.

I don’t use this extended entry feature very often. It puts content on a new page. But since I started this blog entry last Wednesday, it seems like a useful device to indicate a separation in the flow – like a solid line in an article or a new chapter in a book.
Since I wrote the first part, Jonathan Schwartz’s blog has been in the news again., further blurring the line between the blogosphere and news media. Eventually perhaps our major source of news will be blogs rather than formal journalism…?
Anyway, getting back to Johnny Otis, the first record of his that I bought was “The New Johnny Otis Show” on Alligator Records while I was living in Chicago. It’s great. His son, Shuggie Otis is also on it. (This blues album is not his most well known, but it is tremendous – also check him out on Frank Zappa’s “Hot Rats” playing bass.)
Later I found a copy of the original “The Johnny Otis Show” from the early 50s in a funky record shop in Cambridge, MA. It is also excellent music. It’s laid out like a live show, with an announcer introducing Johnny to the stage: “Now, please welcome, the king of rock ‘n’ roll, Johnny Otis!”
This was of course before Elvis became known as the King. Johnny had a show band with various singers sharing the stage. It was a kind of evolution of big band, swing, and jump music. He had also played in some of those bands before striking out on his own. Elvis of course established the single singer band, the small band unit that is what we think of today as rock ‘n’ roll, and Johnny had to find another claim to fame.
The point is that when something first comes out, like Web services, you really don’t know how it’s going to get established. Lots of different people promote different aspects of the technology using the same umbrella term, like the REST vs SOAP debate here in this blog a while ago. But it often isn’t for a while that the true paradigm gets established.
Now where was I? On blogs – yes, I’ve tried some different things, and I think that the paradigm is really taking off, and people are trying various approaches to see what will dominate.
For me I think the personal aspect is very important. I have found the journal aspect less so – using the blog to record what I do, or to record something when I do it. Although sometimes (as I said) blogs can have news value.
One measure of a blog’s success is the comments that you receive. I was initially happy to have anyone post comments. Once I got into some of the discussions – and in particular those that involved mistakes on my part, hurried entries with insufficient research behind them, or last year’s warmed over thoughts – I was not so happy with some of them. Still, I left them there rather than delete them, since they do provide a record of something that happened out here in the space.
I thought some of the discussions were good, highlighting the great parts of blogging, the exchange of ideas and opinions. Other discussions were not so good.
One other thing – I cannot believe that people spam blogs! But I get often one or two spam entries a day, and I’m sure that’s true for others. I’ve had to start turning comments off after a while.
Well, that’s it for today – or I should say, for this week (since it’s taken me a whole week to write this). I do think I’ll adjust the date so that it appears as a new entry ahead of the Red Sox post – which I did manage to complete right after the game.

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