Blogs of Our Lives.
April 10, 2001 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Blogs of Our Lives. There I was, enjoying a Burger King breakfast, reading the local Gannett paper, when I turn to their Tuesday technology section and find . . .
posted by fpatrick (22 comments total)
It seems a lot of the interview has been retold elsewhere...the words seems awfully familiar. That or I've seen this article already ;)
posted by Yardsale at 8:26 AM on April 10, 2001

hey, hijinx! here's another entry for your file! :)
posted by iceberg273 at 8:32 AM on April 10, 2001

LOL, my second shout-out on MeFi. It brings a tear to my eye.

In regards to the article: I had no idea Ev was from Nebraska. Between him and Matthew Sweet, I might have sufficient reason to stop making Nebraska jokes....
posted by hijinx at 8:36 AM on April 10, 2001

"Williams and a couple of partners"

I like how all the hard work and recognition of the entire Pyra staff is reduced to adding "a couple of partners" to two sentences.
posted by mathowie at 8:39 AM on April 10, 2001

for some reason the link posted is responding slowly on my end, but this one is okay.
posted by pnevares at 9:40 AM on April 10, 2001

Matt, I noticed that too, and it's a shame. I think it's a classic case of a "journalist" wanting to simplify the story down to something cliched and familiar, truth be damned.
posted by anildash at 9:46 AM on April 10, 2001

What a waste of pixels. No URLs, no real exploration of the topic at hand, minimising the Pyra people (as they were) who made Blogger what it is, the continued inappropriate conflation of weblogs/journals/biologs -- can we call a moratorium on talking to the press until they're willing to get the damned stories right?
posted by Dreama at 10:03 AM on April 10, 2001

...or it could be a case of an overzealous editor. More often then not, journalists write long pieces and try to include everything. Then an editor comes along and hacks off more then Freddy Kruger, Michael Myers, Jason and Leatherface in all their movies combined ;)
posted by bkdelong at 10:16 AM on April 10, 2001

Six of one, half a dozen of the other. Whatever the case, this was easily the worst "Golly! Weblogs!" article yet. This could have been published in a high school newsletter.
posted by Skot at 10:18 AM on April 10, 2001

Granted, people have been communicating over long distances for a long time. They would bang on drums, send smoke signals, hire a messenger with a fast horse. Letters begat phone calls. Then came e-mail.

wow. just think how hard it must have been to send Porn with drums. yikes.

thank the gods for email.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:36 AM on April 10, 2001

In the old days, the "old days" of the Web being two or three years ago, you had to know something about computer code to produce even the simplest Web page. Doing a blog, where you are adding new things on a weekly, daily or even hourly basis, could be a real headache for even the most motivated computer geeks.
may I just say how sick I am of reading stuff like this. admittedly, blogger and the like make it easier to update a site, but I've only ever hand-coded my page and the simple truth is, it's no big deal.

I know it's just that the journalists don't know a damn thing about what they write about, but really, we're talking about a minor improvement in ease of use, and they make it sound like you used to have to move heaven and earth to update a page.


posted by rebeccablood at 11:02 AM on April 10, 2001

Williams and a couple of partners formed Pyra Labs to develop software for businesses.

Matt, isn't that wrong but in the opposite direction of what your point is? Pyra lore has always been that Ev and Meg formed the company, then pb joined, and THEN all the people that everyone forgets came aboard, in an order I've never known.

(possibly because I haven't actually tried to, though I'm sure I could root through everyone's blogs and find out. :-)

But your actual point is still true. It's an article about Ev more than it is about Pyra, and they definitely don't give any credit to anyone other than Ev.

Ev being alone makes a better story than a team of smart people working their asses off to create a solid, popular product. It sucks, but One Man Vs. The Evil Dot-Com Crash is a better general interest story, and that's all this blurb will ever be.

Rebecca: My biggest beef about it is that stories like this imply that people don't need to learn anything about HTML. True, you can use one of templates but they're boring. [1] The users are still going to have to understand some HTML if they want to make changes, and from the Blogger Discuss area, there's a lot of people who want to make changes.

And while I agree with you that it's all pretty simplistic, there are a lot of people out there that will some something like:

<html><head><title>a web site! whee!</title></head><body>Hello, World!</body></html>

as incomprehensible gibberish, rahter than just poor HTML. And a lot of them aren't willing (or able, due to other aspects of their lives, laziness, or countless other reasons) to invest the time to learn not only to decipher that, but to add "bgcolor=#FFFFCC" to get a pale yellow background.

My girlfriend refuses to try "programming" a web page because a first-year college prof convinced her that "she just doesn't have a mind that can handle programming," and while I'm working on convincing her that A) HTML isn't programming and B) most programming is extremely simplistic and anybody can do it[2], most people don't have a me around to babble about information sharing while giving a backrub.

[1] Sorry to whoever created them and anyone who uses them, but they're boring templates. A few thousand of any website will get boring.

[2] No, really. It's very simple to program. There is a reasonably limited subset of the human population who enjoys this shit though, which is why everyone isn't programming. Plus we need people to make crappy snack food for us to buy.
posted by cCranium at 11:49 AM on April 10, 2001

Ah, revisionist history is fun, isn't it?

I think it's a classic case of a "journalist" wanting to simplify the story down to something cliched and familiar, truth be damned.

Or perhaps the Nebraskan isn't as "unassuming" as advertised.
posted by jkottke at 11:51 AM on April 10, 2001

and remember kids, for those of us who make a living with html and related things...its Good for there to be an aura of mysterious difficulty about it, isn't it?
posted by th3ph17 at 12:07 PM on April 10, 2001

So which did you get more nourishment from, the Burger King breakfast or the Gannett paper? BK used to have a note on their bags that proudly proclaimed, "Made from recycled newspapers" but was careful not to specify whether that it was the bag or the food that was so composed.
posted by kindall at 12:19 PM on April 10, 2001

The order: Meg and Ev found Pyra in January 1999. Pb joins in May, 1999. Matt Hamer begins part-time in November, 1999 but doesn't ask to be paid until February, 2000. We get funding February, 2000. Hire Matt Haughey April 1, 2000. Derek Powazek May 15, jack saturn end of May, 2000. Derek goes August, 2000. Matt Hamer goes December, 2000. Everyone except Ev resigns/stops working for free/gets fired end of January, 2001.

About the only acurate statement in the entire article is, "Evan Williams didn't invent the blog."
posted by megnut at 12:49 PM on April 10, 2001 [1 favorite]

Thanks Meg.
posted by cCranium at 1:16 PM on April 10, 2001

Actually, kindall, the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Bagel wasn't too bad this morning. And my wife approved it, saying it probably had less fat than my usual biscuit version of the same artery clogger.
posted by fpatrick at 1:18 PM on April 10, 2001

Hey, it's just a breezy feature article on blogging. It could have been about fixing your bike, which I think approximates the importance placed on this sort of thing by the general public, and ideally the peanut gallery here will keep in mind.

Incidentally, here's expiation -- the blog discussed in the first half of that article.

By the way, I started reading it, felt guilty, then checked with the article. It says he "has no qualms about strangers viewing his blog". Whew!
posted by dhartung at 7:45 PM on April 10, 2001

That article was in my local paper this morning too. Gannett force-feeds that horrid "e-life" section to most, if not all, of its owned papers, wasting two full pages on a weekly basis. The reason, of course, is to save each individual paper the trouble of having to spend money on their own journalists.

Whatever you think about the article, though, at least the author bothered to point the reader to an actual variety of blogs, including several lesser-known ones. Compare that to the blog story in the latest Yahoo Internet Life, which ignores all blogs that aren't members of the A-list (there is no A-list™). (I can't link to the story itself since it's not available online yet.) Not that there's anything wrong with being an A-list blog, but the whole point of the blog movement is that everybody is supposed to be able to be a part of it. So when it's only the same few people getting the recognition over and over again, it probably makes some bloggers start to wonder if maybe it's becoming as hard to get noticed as it would be in any mainstream media. And that can't be good for blogging in general.
posted by aaron at 9:22 PM on April 10, 2001

Right...I have nothing against the supposedly A-List blogs, since they obviously earned their spot and where they stand today, but some are just too "elite" as if they are afraid to link to lesser-known blogs in fear of "downplaying" their elitist reputation and views...

Which is sad, but what can you do...
posted by Yardsale at 5:44 AM on April 11, 2001

Or perhaps the elitist bastard in the There Is No Cabal haven't heard of these other blogs because no one has? Perhaps they're the most commonly quoted blogs because more than half of all blogger link to Kottke or RCB or Meg or Matt? I link to some pretty popular blogs because they're good fucking blogs.

Nah, they're just keeping us down, that's all.
posted by cCranium at 10:47 AM on April 11, 2001

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