Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Words of wisdom on blogging -- newness and negativity

1. "Interesting is a much better filter than new."

That's from Jason Kottke on Twitter. He writes the blog called Kottke, which might be the oldest blog of any note (started in March 1998) that's still thriving today.

There seems to be an unwritten rule of blogging that you need to post about something as soon as it emerges as the issue of the day. It's looked down on if you blog about it a week later, or you'll at least need to excuse it with an apology ("I'm sorry I'm late to this, but I just noticed it, and..."). Blogging about a story that's a month old is unthinkable.

For instance, this post on Reason magazine's blog Hit & Run links to a segment from 60 Minutes, but the blogger seems to feel apologetic for doing so:

[This video] aired a couple of weeks ago, but it's a pretty good look at the drinking age debate, with lots of camera time for Amethyst Initiative founder John McCardell. [emphasis added]
"But" it's a pretty good look at the drinking age debate? Why not "and"? Did the debate over the legal drinking age really change at all in the few weeks since the 60 minutes segment aired?

I know it's petty to pick on this one person's word choice, but it's symptomatic of a general problem in blogging. Sure there'll be an issue here and there that's so timely it only really makes sense to blog it right away. But don't most things worth talking about stay interesting for a while?

If something that's a couple weeks "old" is too out of date for you, you certainly wouldn't have much interest in, say, reading a book.

So I plan to keep breaking this unwritten rule of the blogosphere; that is, I'll blog something that doesn't cross the "new" threshold as long as it crosses the "interesting" threshold. Even a subject that's centuries old isn't off limits; a fortiori, it's OK to blog something from last year.

2. "People get a hit of energy when they are negative about something."

That's from Gwyneth Paltrow in an interview, in response to a question about her blog.

That explains a lot about blogging in general, and especially comments sections on blogs.

UPDATE: I just noticed that this was my 250th post. A quarter of the way to 1,000!


Ann Althouse said...

Hey, I just blogged a news story from January 23rd.

It was really interesting.