Category Archives: blogging

Theirs Been a Few Thing on My Mind Lately

(Via.)

From Log to Blog

Andrew Sullivan on the origins of the word “log” in the “an official record of events” sense, from which we derive the word “blog”:

A ship’s log owes its name to a small wooden board, often weighted with lead, that was for centuries attached to a line and thrown over the stern. The weight of the log would keep it in the same place in the water, like a provisional anchor, while the ship moved away. By measuring the length of line used up in a set period of time, mariners could calculate the speed of their journey (the rope itself was marked by equidistant “knots” for easy measurement). As a ship’s voyage progressed, the course came to be marked down in a book that was called a log.

Source: Andrew Sullivan, “Why I Blog,” The Atlantic Monthly, November 2008

Where Are the Readers?

Today everyone is a blogger, but where are the readers? A New Yorker cartoon reverses the usual picture of a literary festival with book lovers lined up to get the author’s autograph. The cartoon shows a table and a queue, but authors line up to see “The Reader,” who sits behind the table. On the Internet, articles, blog posts, and comments on blog posts pour forth, but who can keep up with them? And while everything is preserved (or “archived”), has anyone ever looked at last year’s blogs? Rapidly produced, they are just as rapidly forgotten.

—Russell Jacoby, “Big Brains, Small Impact”


Top 10 Tips for New Bloggers

Food for thought courtesy of Jorn Barger:

  1. A true weblog is a log of all the URLs you want to save or share. (So del.icio.us is actually better for blogging than blogger.com.)
  2. You can certainly include links to your original thoughts, posted elsewhere … but if you have more original posts than links, you probably need to learn some humility.
  3. If you spend a little time searching before you post, you can probably find your idea well articulated elsewhere already.
  4. Being truly yourself is always hipper than suppressing a link just because it’s not trendy enough. Your readers need to get to know you.
  5. You can always improve on the author’s own page title, when describing a link. (At least make sure your description is full enough that readers will recognize any pages they’ve already visited, without having to visit them again.)
  6. Always include some adjective describing your own reaction to the linked page (great, useful, imaginative, clever, etc.)
  7. Credit the source that led you to it, so your readers have the option of “moving upstream.”
  8. Warn about “gotchas” — weird formatting, multipage stories, extra-long files, etc. Don’t camouflage the main link among unneeded (or poorly labeled) auxiliary links.
  9. Pick some favorite authors or celebrities and create a Google News feed that tracks new mentions of them, so other fans can follow them via your weblog.
  10. Re-post your favorite links from time to time, for people who missed them the first time.