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"Blogging" makes Newsweek.
February 25, 2001 5:35 PM   Subscribe

"Blogging" makes Newsweek. Because someone had to post it....
posted by fraying (73 comments total)

 
And of course they confuse blogs and journals. Actually, the writer seems confused about a lot of things.
posted by ffmike at 6:43 PM on February 25, 2001


I'm glad they had it in Newsweek. Reading it there led me here.
posted by ~Purgatori Bound~ at 7:10 PM on February 25, 2001


Alot of talk about Noah, but no mention of Greymatter. Strange.
posted by Optamystic at 7:15 PM on February 25, 2001


Oh, and...Welcome, Purgatori! Nice to have you around.
posted by Optamystic at 7:16 PM on February 25, 2001


wow, another metafilter mention, but this time, with the URL spelled out. Cool!
posted by mathowie at 7:18 PM on February 25, 2001


i'm not sure i like the way that they trivialized all the things that noah's gone through, slapping it right up there with erotic valentine's day anecdotes and dave winer quotes. sure, it's all marginally weblog-related, but it is most certainly not the same.
posted by bluishorange at 7:27 PM on February 25, 2001


Oh goody, more cluelessness from the mainstream media.By god, let weblogs be weblogs and online journals be online journals!
posted by Mr. skullhead at 7:35 PM on February 25, 2001


because a rose by any other name is just a thorny weed.
posted by Mick at 8:16 PM on February 25, 2001


Two words: shockingly vapid. Of course, it is Newsweek. And maybe I'm the just a little (very little) bit sore because Noah had mentioned that I and Rachel and Jay would possibly get our URLs in the article.

However, I think that everyone who heard of this piece ahead of time (possibly including Noah) had been under the impression that it would be a much more substantial piece with a little more indepth coverage of Noah's work and the weblogging community.

And where were all the URLs? Fine, let mine be missing. But what about Rachel's? She was actually MENTIONED in the opening paragraph of the article but they neglected to provide any URL reference! If you look closely you'll notice that there are more URLs for weblog and diary-keeping tools than there are URLs for actual weblogs.

Finally with all the weblogging tools that are mentioned, where IS GreyMatter? After all, the article was at least ostensibly about Noah. And GreyMatter is pretty much THE tool for people who are serious about weblogging. I've said it before and I'll say it again: D'oh!

Thank you, Newsweek.

Still I hope Noah at least gets some decent publicity out of this, pathetic though it is.
posted by hanseugene at 8:19 PM on February 25, 2001


this is just what the weblogging community needs: another self-congratulatory pat on the back. can't wait till bloggers are bigger than jesus.
posted by rklawler at 8:32 PM on February 25, 2001


I think it's odd that anyone would assume that there's an obvious difference between a blog and an online journal. Is there a difference? If so, where is that defined, and who declared it to be so? Isn't a blog whatever it's author wants it to be (same could be said for an online journal).
posted by kokogiak at 9:00 PM on February 25, 2001


too late rklawler: biggerthanjesus.org
posted by mathowie at 9:04 PM on February 25, 2001


<rimshot>nice punchline matt</rimshot>
posted by kokogiak at 9:10 PM on February 25, 2001


They had John Lennon and The Beatles, we have Matthew Haughey and MetaFilter. Eh, it's not the same, but it'll do ;)
posted by riffola at 9:15 PM on February 25, 2001


And then while I'm awaaaay
I'll write home everydaaaaay
And I'll send all my bloggin'
To you...


posted by allaboutgeorge at 9:22 PM on February 25, 2001


Actually I was surprised by the article, for the most part, pleasantly. Yes, it was fairly shallow, which I didn't expect because the woman that wrote it, Deborah Branscum, interviewed me about the Pyra Server Fund and our financial troubles awhile back for siliconvalley.com and the article turned out really well.

How come no one's pointing out that there's finally a weblog article that *didn't* mention the "a-list"? Yes, the same tools were mentioned, but there was no quote from Ev, no mention of any Pyra or ex-Pyra employee's blog, no mention of Kottke or Bjorn, or anyone else that everyone gets pissed about whenever they read something in the press.

And who is this Meghan O'Hara anyway? I don't recall meeting her at the last A-list garden party. She must be new.
posted by megnut at 9:35 PM on February 25, 2001


Since most MeFi people have disclaimed reading Slashdot, please forgive me for cross-posting my comments there. I feel that I make my central points fairly clearly and concisely and I don't feel like rewriting all of this tonight.... So:

I'm a little bit sore. Not just because there was a possibility of getting my URL in Newsweek, a possibility that never materialized. No, it goes a little bit deeper than that. This article was utterly and completely vapid. There was no substance. Heck, there weren't even very many URLs!

1) For people who supposedly would have spent days, if not a week or two, picking up background info and doing research the people who wrote this article don't seem to "get" the very real distinction between weblogs and online journals. Two completely different communities. Fairly small amount of overlap. One is 1995. The other is 1999.

2) Like I said, there aren't very many URLs for an article which is supposedly about weblogging and 'Net stuff. If you look closely, there are more URLs for weblog and diary-keeping tools than there are URLs for actual weblogs and diaries. Is the average Joe Blow reader of Newsweek going to want to take a look at a couple weblogs after reading the article? Probably. Is he going to be ready to immediately start his own weblog or journal? Probably not. D'oh.

3) Although they mention a lot of tools, the one glaring ommission is Noah Grey's GreyMatter. Not only was it created by Noah, who is ostensibly one of the main people featured in the article, it is also pretty much THE premiere tool for people who are serious about weblogging. Again, d'oh!

4) Okay, so Dave Winer is an old-timer on the weblogging scene. So mention him. But devote more quotes to him than almost anyone else in the article? Why? As a friend of Noah's, I'm a little bit biased, but: this whole article could have been devoted almost exclusively to him with a small sidebar of other cool weblogs and journals to check out and it would have been better, tighter, more interesting and given a better picture of the current weblogging community than this hodge-podge of out-dated and inconsequential notes ever will.

5) It's Newsweek. Newsweek is the Lame Stream. Newsweek screws up everything it touches. Newsweek is the Kiss of Death. When your web trend hits Newsweek, your web trend is dead. I hope Noah gets some decent publicity out of this, because I'm expecting that the weblogging scene will be dead or dying off nine months from now.

6) Dear Dave Winer: No, the world would not be a better place if all 6B of us had a weblog. That's B.S. Think about it for a minute and then go and interview a few of your oh-so-interesting cookie-cutter suburban neighbors. Then tell me if you really think each and every one of them should have a weblog.

7) D'oh!

P.S. to megnut: O'Hara is not new. O'Hara is old, old news. She has a small following, is reasonably but not outstandingly talented and should not have been selected for mention in Newsweek, of all places, when there are fantastically, absurdly brilliant people out there who are drawing 35 visitors a day but still put out better stuff than many of the writers in the New Yorker and would provide a far better representation of the weblog and journal community.
posted by hanseugene at 9:48 PM on February 25, 2001


The absence of a-listers must be part of some deliberate attempt to draw attention away from their nefarious ulterior motives.

Oh wait, does MeFi's mention count as an oblique nod to Matt? Is Matt even an a-lister? The mind reels....

More to the point, how many people are going to type in MeFi's address from a Newsweek article, read some oblique reference to Jeffrey Zeldman, and then decide they want to join this community?

Not too many, I should think...
posted by anildash at 9:49 PM on February 25, 2001


Ha ha ha, (totally off-topic) only moments after making the above post, I stumbled across this article harshing on Pyra's lack of adult leadership compared to Atomz by the aforementioned Deborah.

Apparently in the interview that I thought'd gone well, I came off as a loser 20-something determined to run Blogger without appropriate adult supervision. LOL.
posted by megnut at 9:53 PM on February 25, 2001


P.S. to hanseugene: I was kidding.
posted by megnut at 9:56 PM on February 25, 2001


Sorry meg. Shoulda realized that, but I'm tired. Lame. Lame lame lame. Desperate thoughts of shutting down my weblog and writing a novel. Of unplugging. Of isolating myself from anything resembling a "subculture" so as not to be misconstrued, ever, by Newsweek. Nevermind.

Newsweek is run by fumbling idiots. And that article should have been about Noah. Sniff.
posted by hanseugene at 10:04 PM on February 25, 2001


'There's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.' Matt is so very a-list. And thats a good thing.
posted by schlyer at 10:06 PM on February 25, 2001


"If you want reality, forget Survivor. Check out Weblogs: public online journals that can be racy, riveting and alarmingly blunt." That is a truly sad opening paragraph. That is, the paragraph is actually making me sad. But it sets up a comparison that becomes a driving force in the article. I'm wondering if weblogs (bioblogs, specifically), have more in common with Reality TV, in terms of both effect and appeal, than I had previously thought. I'm also curious to know if the author compares blogs to real tv because he thought it would make the article more appealing to read, or because the "blunt" element jumped out at him during his "research" for the article.

Also, I'm not farmiliar with John Grohol, the Boston-based psych researcher who "tracks Weblogs" and runs PsychCentral.com? Has anyone heard of him? The author quotes him as if he is supposed to know what he's talking about.

Vapid is right. Maybe someone should write a letter to Newsweek. Be sure to mention Biggerthanjesus.org.


posted by sixfoot6 at 11:28 PM on February 25, 2001


John Grohol is the deadat32.com guy, does/did winerlog, spoke at sxsw last year, etc. He's been around but I haven't heard much from him in months, and when I saw his name I wondered how the writer tracked him down.
posted by mathowie at 12:16 AM on February 26, 2001


"When your web trend hits Newsweek, your web trend is dead... I'm expecting that the weblogging scene will be dead or dying off nine months from now."

Oh no! Whatever will I do with my spare time now that weblogging is considered uncool?!

Aww, not this again. People have been seeing omens of the Death of Weblogging since the format began, whether the supposed cause is Robot Wisdom being mentioned in Wired, or So-and-So quitting weblogging, or the popularity/downsizing of Blogger, etc. etc. Call me crazy, but I'd like to think that there are quite a few folks out there, myself included, who blog because they like to and not because it's the 'latest web trend'.
posted by jess at 12:58 AM on February 26, 2001


in 'look ma, no substance!' situations like this i wouldn't blame the writer. the reasons that comments like the ones up there ("When your web trend hits Newsweek, your web trend is dead") are made are due to flaws in the editing process, and the blanding-out process, when it comes to anything internet-related, usually is predicated upon TPTB scratching their collective head and going "Wait, we have to report on something that's not only about making money?"

(this tendency of focusing on the cash all the time could be part of the explanation for why i liked 'one market under god' so much.)
posted by maura at 1:24 AM on February 26, 2001


I was also let down by the Newsweek article -- I was under the impression that it was going to be a much more general look at the online spilling-of-guts phenomenon, and my actual interview reflected that.

However, there were mitigating circumstances that might ease some of the hurt feelings... Newsweek killed the article early in the week, and didn't reinstate it until late Thursday night -- with a Friday deadline. The author was in a panic trying to track people down; I spoke to her a few hours before her article was due, and she told me that she'd been unable to find anyone but me to talk to on the phone. It's entirely possible that she meant to speak to -- and provide links for -- a great number more people than she could actually track down before they went to press.


posted by meghan at 1:50 AM on February 26, 2001


well jeez, why didn't they just wait another week then? it's not like there's going to be a mass exodus of webloggers, nor is the story going to be significantly less fresh.

journalism, schmournalism.
posted by rabi at 3:38 AM on February 26, 2001


In the third paragraph, the writer mentions Tomalak's Realm as an example of a blog, and clearly distinguishes between online diaries and weblogs that "organize links to other Web content on a particular topic of interest."

However, she goes on to say that, even though people like Meghan O'Hara state that weblogs are “not all Jerry Springer”... regular readers are more interested in those kinds of details ("will she ask Alex out or not?"). That is why her article focuses the online diary angle.

There is no escaping the fact that most people are affected by decades of television media...name your poison: Reality TV, the cult of celebrity, or soft journalism. And it affects *both* the people who consume the media as well as those who create it (whether you are a reporter for a mainstream media publication or a weblog publisher).

posted by webchick at 4:09 AM on February 26, 2001


>well jeez, why didn't they just
>wait another week then?

It wouldn't change the reality that reporters always have an angle for their story that doesn't always jibe with how the people they interview want it to turn out. People are often burned by this fact.

posted by webchick at 4:15 AM on February 26, 2001


Slashdot is covering the same article, except... look at the header. It's called an article on online journals, which it is.

I was flattered to have my journal linked to recently, but I noticed that it was called a journal weblog, even though it really doesn't have anything to do with a weblog... and I've been writing it since before I had a blog, and before I had a phlog (photo weblog, thanks to Ryan for the terminology :)
posted by hijinx at 4:29 AM on February 26, 2001


[ack. forgive me for double-posting the Slashdot link. I switched to half-caffeine coffee.]
posted by hijinx at 4:32 AM on February 26, 2001


A little late in the thread, but you may want to check out Branscum's own weblog.

posted by idiolect at 6:00 AM on February 26, 2001


To the outside world, I don't think the distinction between online journals and weblogs is relevant. If the point of weblogging is self-expression, and Branscum's article inspires people to start their own blogs, who cares if some of our pedantic insider terminology was misused?

If nothing else, Newsweek is telling a lot of people about Noah Grey, who to my knowledge has never gotten this kind of press attention in past weblog coverage.

As for Branscum's Pyra/Atomz piece, the intro seemed like a cheap shot. Atomz is far from established and Pyra could have attracted 2,000 paying customers in a heartbeat. A company started on $80,000 has easier goals to reach than one formed with significant startup capital.
posted by rcade at 6:32 AM on February 26, 2001


>Slashdot is covering the same article,
>except... look at the header. It's called
>an article on online journals, which it is.

FWIW, the person who submitted the Slashdot story (Foxxz) tried to put the spin on P2P journalism:

"This [Newsweek article] is a great example of the whole "peer to peer" journalism that everyone wets their pants over about the Internet. Call it what you will, but the ease of accessibility to the materials is, IMHO, one of the most compelling reasons for web surfing."

Which is the thought that the reporter closes the Newsweek piece on with quotes from Winer (P2P being way to esoteric of a concept to introduce in this piece, of course). Naturally, she puts her own spin on it, but she did end the piece with an open-ended question: "Will Weblogs change journalism?"

And FWIW, despite her angle, she did include enough links to allow people intrigued by the piece to set out and explore for themselves.
posted by webchick at 7:00 AM on February 26, 2001


the newsweek piece is the first one that i've seen that has had any sort of decent sprinkling of urls. it's a miracle!

i don't think that anyone should get their hopes up after speaking with a reporter. i second webchicks' comments on angles. reporter's typically approach a story with some idea of where they want the piece to go, despite what they may learn during an interview. then there's editing. who knows what might be coming out of your mouth post edit.
posted by heather at 7:10 AM on February 26, 2001


Is a MetaFilter mention a good thing? The established members may have to deal with a change in the signal-to-noise ratio while the inevitable influx of clueless posters are "getting a feel for the place." Nothing against anyone in particular, but I think most here know what I mean.
posted by quirked at 7:10 AM on February 26, 2001


BTW, in the "Freebies Aren't Forever" piece, Branscum mentions Greymatter without delving into the personal aspects of Noah Gray's life.

Branscum is far from the confused reporter that some may want to paint her to be. The Newsweek piece simply had a different angle.

Mass media is often a fair-weather friend. To borrow a quote I read once by a wise 'weblogger,' Be suspicious.

;-)
posted by webchick at 7:21 AM on February 26, 2001


It's funny how well this complements the Dave Eggers post of a few days ago... Hehe.
posted by hanseugene at 7:39 AM on February 26, 2001


oops...apologies:

Noah Gray = Noah Grey
(Greymatter, duh :-)

>It's funny how well this complements
>the Dave Eggers post of a few days ago...

I'll use this opportunity to provide the aforementioned link.
posted by webchick at 7:53 AM on February 26, 2001


I couldn't read beyond the first few paragraphs. It kills me when a media outlet with the scope of Newsweek cannot even be bothered to proofread/double check the spellings of the names of the people that they mention in their articles. Gah. Stuff, nonsense and piffle.
posted by Dreama at 8:13 AM on February 26, 2001


To the outside world, I don't think the distinction between online journals and weblogs is relevant

Agreed. Whenever I see people split hairs over this (in their eyes, major) distinction, I can't help but think of followers of star trek arguing over whether they are "trekkies" or "trekkers" and how pointless that seems to an outsider.
posted by mathowie at 8:42 AM on February 26, 2001


biggerthanJesus.org

Break your Matthew Haughey records here. :-)
posted by Sean Meade at 8:50 AM on February 26, 2001


>star trek arguing over whether they
>are "trekkies" or "trekkers" and how
>pointless that seems to an outsider.

Good point...it really depends on the audience you are writing for.

(For example, different audiences read Fortune and Newsweek...as well as /. and Metafilter, for that matter. :-)

posted by webchick at 8:57 AM on February 26, 2001


I'm the Grohol quoted in the article. Yes, I've been following weblogs and online journals nearly since they began, and have been editing the Open Directory Project's weblog section for over a year. I'm a research psychologist, and have interviewed about 4 dozen folks who have run online journals. More broadly, I write and discuss online behavior and how communications online differ from those face-to-face.

(And no, matthowie, I'm not the deadat32 guy, but I do run his Website on my servers. As for winerlog, well, that group speaks for itself.)
posted by docjohn at 10:01 AM on February 26, 2001


And no, matthowie, I'm not the deadat32 guy

uh, right. The site magically disappeared this morning, so no one could dig through it to find evidence linking the site to you, or is that an amazing coincidence (since it was online last night)?
posted by mathowie at 10:45 AM on February 26, 2001


Docjohn: As a fan of Dead@32, I have to say that all the evidence I read pointed directly to you too. The domain was registered to you, the dates are consistent (Dead@32 said in October 1999 he was turning 32 in less than a year, you celebrated your 32nd birthday in September 2000), both lived in Austin in 1999, and both have a new woman in their lives who appeared to show up around the same time. Dead@32 was also deleted today around the same time you posted, because I visited it earlier this morning, which pretty much screams "It was John Grohol" in giant 72-point Helvetica.

In my opinion, Dead@32 was a fascinating concept that never got enough attention in our strange little community. I was waiting for birthday 33 to come up in the fall so I could make a big deal out of the unsuccessful death wish on Cruel.Com (self-link). I never considered the possibility that it would come true, though frankly if I believed for 16 years I was going to die at age 32, I would have stayed indoors for the entire year eating nothing but soft foods.
posted by rcade at 11:47 AM on February 26, 2001


Heh, weird. I only knew Grohol for the POD scripts I used to use. Matt's the best web detective around!
posted by anildash at 11:55 AM on February 26, 2001


Everyone can believe what they will (as they are apt to do), but the guy who runs the site is still alive and well as far as I know, and is still running the site.

Wow, two guys who are friends are the same age and lived in the same city for a time. Amazing!
posted by docjohn at 12:02 PM on February 26, 2001


Is a MetaFilter mention a good thing? The established members may have to deal with a change in the signal-to-noise ratio while the inevitable influx of clueless posters are "getting a feel for the place." Nothing against anyone in particular, but I think most here know what I mean.

I'd say that's the price of maintaining a vital community. Obviously, if Metafilter grows too fast, the bad side effects may outweigh the good, but if there were no new members, you'd get tired quickly of hearing the same arguments from the same people over and over. Some new blood is a good thing for both the topics we can cover and the opinions and perspectives we can learn about. We were all MeFi newbies at one time!
posted by daveadams at 12:29 PM on February 26, 2001


Jeez John,
pretty touchy for a dead guy, aren't you?

Don't mind me, I'm just bitter because the people who weren't in the article didn't mention not being mentioned on my website.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 1:13 PM on February 26, 2001


Wow.

I was ready to debunk mathowie's Dead@32 link to Grohol as well.

I thought it was odd that the article didn't mention grohol.com or Open Journal the script that J.Grohol authored. I used to use OJ before Blogger. I thought it couldn't possibly be the same guy.

Kudos to Matt. Mathowie the web's own Encyclopedia Brown.
posted by jasonshellen at 1:30 PM on February 26, 2001


It's amazing to me to watch folks who probably have no problem with the idea of "privacy" in the abstract, but work like heck to uncover the identity of an individual who pretty clearly didn't want his identity known. So much for respecting the rights and privacy of others.

How do you all justify this sort of behavior? How does one defend oneself from accusations, when there can not really be any "proof" for or against??

I've observed this kind of behavior occur on other weblogs and journals, where identities of characters in the log are the basis for much rampant speculation. To what purpose? Surely humans are curious creatures, but does that give anyone the right to pry into the affairs of others if not invited to do so? It is also somewhat scary to me that the creator of this site disregards individuals' privacy so brashly.

This type of "hunt" appears hypocritical at best, and mean-spirited at worst.

posted by docjohn at 1:52 PM on February 26, 2001


Oddly enough, if not for your strident denials, nobody would have probably given it a second though. I know I didn't. I mean, mostly I still haven't, except to be a bit bemused by your responses.

You've been around for a while, you know that many of the people here are the sort who like to take things apart if they find them interesting, and that includes "secret" identities. Other than the few thousand people who read MeFi, and the few hundred thousand visiting from Newsweek, your secret is still safe.

Uh, unless people decide to mention it on their weblogs. Then you're probably screwed.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 2:14 PM on February 26, 2001


Well, I know I won't. I couldn't care less who this defensive dork is.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:18 PM on February 26, 2001


How do you all justify this sort of behavior? How does one defend oneself from accusations, when there can not really be any "proof" for or against??

Personally, I went info digging last year when I was reading a lot of mean spirited posts at dead@32. Specifically, there was some stuff about sxsw, and how all the blogging kiddies were self-absorbed jerks, and in those posts it was also mentioned that the "author" was a panelist, and at the time, the whois queries on several domains matched up, so I made the connection. I read dead@32 off and on, mostly when I saw someone mentioning how mean the "author" was being about someone or something.

So I guess that's the reason, the "author" said some mean spirited things in the past, so I tried to find out who was hiding behind the pseudonym. I don't care for people that hide their identity, then use the anonymity to do bad things.
posted by mathowie at 2:25 PM on February 26, 2001


Ah, I was just waiting for this to appear... "Because you're denying it so much, you must be this person!"

Yeah, okay. You got me. And next time someone accuses you of being someone online you know you're not, and goes on and on and on about how you must be that person, let's see how well you react to it.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. And you wonder why some people get turned off of the whole weblogin' community...
posted by docjohn at 2:26 PM on February 26, 2001


doc, some folk don't much care who thinks what. It's just the internet.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:27 PM on February 26, 2001


Point taken, sonofsamiam.
posted by docjohn at 2:30 PM on February 26, 2001


CrazyUncleJoe is right, as he is frequently is. This is a relatively small community and sometimes our curiousity and easy access to the tools of the trade (betterwhois and Google) make the seekers of truth in this crowd get a bit nosy.

On the flip-side, just because you are not perceived exactly as you would have people think of you after reading your bio doesn't mean it's time to grab for the six guns. God bless people who believe everything they read. I will still remember you as the guy who made a pretty decent cgi prog, if it helps.
posted by jasonshellen at 2:35 PM on February 26, 2001


Myself included on the nosy part. (No hard feelings Matt).
posted by jasonshellen at 2:36 PM on February 26, 2001


Never saw dead@32, what were the 'bad things' that went on there? General weblog-dissing or what?
posted by cell divide at 3:36 PM on February 26, 2001


Please, can't we just let sleeping blogs lie?
posted by harmful at 4:15 PM on February 26, 2001


How do you all justify this sort of behavior?

I looked into the matter for the same reason I wanted to know who wrote the book Primary Colors -- I was curious.

I'm disappointed to learn that you find this speculation distasteful, but anyone who publishes an interesting literary effort anonymously should expect it.

Surely humans are curious creatures, but does that give anyone the right to pry into the affairs of others if not invited to do so?

Publishing a weblog is an invitation to pry. Using an anonymous weblog to slag people after meeting them face to face at SXSW is also an invitation, but I wasn't aware of that until it was discussed here.
posted by rcade at 6:14 PM on February 26, 2001


It's funny - while I was exploring PsychCentral.com, I quickly noticed that the weblog portion of the site resembled the layout of dead@32, but I didn't bother to mention that in my above post. Now I wish I hadn't mentioned anything at all.

I've been reading dead@32 off and on for the last year, and I share rcade's suprise that the site has never received a whole lot of attention. I've always wondered, docjohn, to what extent the weblog was a work of fiction, an author filtering his experiences through the voice of an alter-ego narrator who feels trapped. In that light, the SXSW comments would be less like anonymous personal attacks and more like considerations for a certain negative point of view. And revealing you as "the dead@32" guy is less like violation of privacy and more like giving away an author's secret.

Maybe I'm reading too much into all of this, and there hasn't been as much voice-play as I thought. Still, it's an inspiring site, ahead of its time, and I hope the gang hasn't ruined your fun.
posted by sixfoot6 at 8:30 PM on February 26, 2001


To get back to the Newsweek article, one of the reasons we believe in the net and blogs/online journals/any other site we control is that, well, we are in control.

Mainstream news outlets' audiences differ. For the most part, Newsweek's audience is broad/diverse/perhaps not educated in some of the interesting aspects of the net. And, to borrow an old publicity adage: it's not what they say but if they spell your name right. If nothing else (and I never expect any article written about me or my work to say it all), it provides some information about what is going on here.

The net allows for "micro" communities [insert opportunity to coin a word, and perhaps go down in the annals of net history --> what do you think of "microcomms?"], where specific interests can be voiced and specific audiences can be served. Newsweek's audience is of a different nature.

It's unfortunate that Noah didn't get more kudos. But he seems to be getting quite a few here, amongst blog cognisenti. And that's what counts, IMHO. A week from now, relatively few will even remember the article and we'll be on to something else.

Now is it a biolog or online journal??! I need rules to live by! -g
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 6:20 AM on February 27, 2001


And, to borrow an old publicity adage: it's not what they say but if they spell your name right.

Which Ryan Ozawa couldn't even get from the article. I remember back in the day when big media outlets had people double checking those kinds of things.
posted by Dreama at 8:53 AM on February 27, 2001


I wonder, Dreama, if the glorious past of fact checking isn't more myth than anything else -- my suspicion these days is that the net allows for attention to mistakes and inaccuracies to get circulated more quickly than ever, which draws attention to the number of errors in your average Big Media feature.

Which isn't to say that the Newsweek piece -- which I can only judge as someone who hasn't kept a blog/oj/whatever for very long -- does seem pretty shallow and rather too much a creature of a preconceived "angle." My journo friends assure me that webchick is right -- this is, in the end, how 95% of stories, for better or worse, get assigned and written.
posted by BT at 10:38 AM on February 27, 2001


Is a MetaFilter mention a good thing? The established members may have to
deal with a change in the signal-to-noise ratio while the inevitable influx of
clueless posters are "getting a feel for the place." Nothing against anyone in
particular, but I think most here know what I mean.

I'd say that's the price of maintaining a vital community. Obviously, if
Metafilter grows too fast, the bad side effects may outweigh the good, but if
there were no new members, you'd get tired quickly of hearing the same
arguments from the same people over and over. Some new blood is a good
thing for both the topics we can cover and the opinions and perspectives we
can learn about. We were all MeFi newbies at one time!


And ya'll wonder why the "a-list" gets a bad rap. Might as well just say "no one welcome at MeFi unless you're going to suck up to the "a-list" and keep your mouth pretty much shut. It's nice to have a good community, but I wonder about one that's so harsh on and about newbies.
posted by faith at 6:35 PM on February 27, 2001


Which Ryan Ozawa couldn't even get from the article. I remember back in the day when big media outlets had people double checking those kinds of things.

Dreama, news flies so fast and furiously these days (with the advent of more and larger conduits to get that news), that the pressure to "get it out there" is greater than ever. It seems that "facts" are the first casualty of this new process. This is no excuse, of course. Just sad reality.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 6:41 AM on February 28, 2001


Interesting. There is as much emphatic assertion in the weblog community, I think, as in the online journal community that the two -- "weblog" and "online journal" -- are separate. (The simple fact that there are huge communities with minimal overlap should be one point of evidence.)

I was interviewed for the Newsweek piece, and that difference was something I repeatedly stressed. Unfortunately I didn't say much that was interesting (mostly academic), and just got cited for a piece of journaling "history."

It got me researching the history of the weblog, and I found RobotWisdom and Rebecca Blood's pieces on the matter most enlightening. There are lots of parallels between the development of web diaries and weblogs (including the claims of elitism and in-crowds, the "there goes the neighborhood" fears, the infighting and hero worship), but they are separated by at least three or four years.

You might not know Carolyn Burke and Willa Cline and Diane Patterson, and I'd never heard of Ev and Meg. (Interestingly, though, both worlds often cite Justin Hall.)

In any case, after the Branscum piece, I wrote "journal vs. blog" for Diarist.Net that makes a feeble case for keeping the term "weblog" distinct from "online journal."

Although I agree weblog tools have made online publishing easy, and the crossover is absolutely natural, I would call journals created with weblog tools "biologs" (as Noah Grey termed them) or something similar. It's the web in "weblog" that gets me.

posted by pzarquon at 1:13 PM on March 4, 2001


I've known Willa Cline's site for a long time, because when my daughter Will was born in 1995, I did a little search for "willa" and there she was. I've always hated her for that. ;)
posted by rodii at 1:35 PM on March 4, 2001


(Ooops, to be clear, Will's name is Willa. I can't talk *or* type.)
posted by rodii at 1:39 PM on March 4, 2001


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