Laments of the death of old-school blogging are missing something 2015
Kevin Drum's piece "Blogging Isn't Dead. But Old-School Blogging Is Definitely Dying" is not without some truth, but overlooks key things. Most importantly, that when old-school blogging was in its full flower, text was the only easy way to share yourself online. Now it's almost as easy to create and distribute art or audio or video or combinations of those as it was to submit a long post in the Blogger submission page. We have a great diversity of expression happening, particularly in video.
Beyond which now, with a good computing device in everyone's pocket, it's no longer necessary to save everything up into one chunk you laboriously craft over a long evening at home. The conversation truly can be dialogue, with reactions and riffs taking place within minutes or even seconds. Yes, Twitter and other easy technologies for portable sharing of ideas and images are sometimes knee-jerk, but heaven knows so have the comments under blog posts always been. Nor has >140 characters ever been an unusual length.
One of the strengths of new-school sharing is that it allows conversations to easily extend and expand not only over a growing audience but also over time. Yes, we had follow-up posts back then—and that inter-blog dialogue was always a joy—but it was hard to find and even harder to maintain momentum. Now, between Twitter and, to my mind the best combination of the old and the new, Medium, it's possible to more easily find the pieces of reaction which wander around the web, rebounding from and influencing each other.
I started blogging before the word was coined and have never stopped, but—like many—my means of output have expanded as opportunity grew. Wordy posts pour out of us when words are all we have, but we have so much more we can do now, and more ways to use our words. Since Flickr and Twitter and Medium and the opportunity to take my long-form work into finished books through self-publishing, I write fewer blog posts, but I am even more creative and connected through the web than I was back in the day.
Old-school blogging isn't dead, it's growing up, and growing up beautifully into something new.
A conversation 14 years long 2012
Have we met?
I asked that question here on this site in September of 1998 in a post one month before MetaGrrrl.com would turn into what we would later call a blog.
I say I've never met Karawynn, Jamie, Carl and Justin. What the fuck does that mean?
I sit next to someone on the bus, I shake hands with a co-worker's client who I'll never see again, I chat with the bank teller and somehow these are people I've met?
My body doesn't encompass me.
I don't have to breathe the same air to be in the same place as you.
Have we met?
What a different world we live in now. We've been through radical changes in politics, technology, and cultural norms. Our days have transformed as the non-present world becomes present through these magic devices in our pockets. I live in a different city. Have a completely new career. Am in another relationship.
What hasn't changed? Many of those people that some folks used to say I'd never met are still a part of my daily life.
So here's my question for them, and for you, what has made these "virtual" connections so strong?
How has the way we built the web and the mobile internet and our tech-centric cities strengthened and weakened those chains since that year, 1998, when it seemed like maybe this world wide web thing might be sticking around?
Safe in the loving arms of pairNIC 2012
My domain transfer from Dotster (formerly 000domains.com) is now complete. To their credit, they provided adequate service for years until their platform migration snafu and did address all my open support tickets even after I had begun the transfer process to pairNIC. However, I am greatly relieved to now have all my domains with pairNIC, who are just great to work with and have a higher caliber of technical expertise directly available to customers.
Let me know if you encounter problems with accessing any of my sites or if any mail bounces, but I think everything is now working correctly.
Oo! New glasses? Haircut? Redesign! 2012
It's not a radical change, but my online self is now looking more put together thanks to the skilful minstrations of Mr. Lance Arthur.
Do let me know if you find anything amiss, but, frankly, after the work he did both for appearance and cleanliness of the underlying code, you're more likely to find something working that used to be broken (or at least kinda janky).
The biggest changes took place on Discardia.com, which is now not only prettier, but more functional and a far better reflection of Discardian principles.
Hiring someone who actually knows what they're doing is worth every penny.
As you can see, exciting changes are taking place around here.
It took me quite a long while, but I have—over a decade after it ceased being my day job—finally embraced the fact that since I'm not a web designer anymore, that means I can hire someone else to do it for me. Because the someone I have hired is also one of my most trusted friends, this revitalization of my sites will take place with the same devil may care attitude as changes I made myself in the past. You may see all sorts of crazy, halfway-to-their-final-state stages of the process. Pardon, as they say, our dust.
[animated gif of construction guy]
Wise guys 2012
Very much enjoyed watching this conversation between two smart, sweet friends @anildash & @photomatt. #respect
That's 98 in blog years, right? 2012
Oh hey, how about that? MetaGrrrl.com "Creation Date: 22-may-1998". Yep. 14 years I've been using this handle. Still like it.
Details filling in as I go 2012
Yes, it may look a little sparse around here with my tweets automatically popping over, but don't worry: I'm adding proper titles, additional quotes, better (perhaps more long-term durable) forms of the links, embedded videos, etc. every few days or weekend.
When I looked back on the pre-Flickr, pre-Twitter years of this blog, I realized how much clearer a picture I had of what was going on in my life and capturing my attention. It's my intent to restore that richness to the blog going forward and—as time permits—to bring into the archives of MetaGrrrl.com those things I shared elsewhere on the web.
Thanks for your patience as I work out the kinks of this single lifestream stuff. :)
Exposure is not why I blog. 2012
Was there some kind of major staff change at @typepad? Email/blog stuff now all SEO this, SEO that. Ugh. Sign me "saddened 9 year customer".
@MetaGrrrl We just know that a lot of our users are interested in SEO stuff. Is there a specific issue there that's worrying you?
.@typepad In the wake of this ("Google Is Working On Making SEO Matter Less") you really don't see the negative connotations of the term SEO & ad-over-content culture?
Just using the term in a tweet prompted auto-following by "social media management" & "network marketing pro" types. Ugh. Not the web I want.
Then Ed chimes in:
RT @vielmetti: @typepad, I'm not producing content, I'm writing.
“Is blogging journalism?” - an FAQ 2012
RT @flashboy: Nice bit of journalism from @currybet
Upgrades provoke more upgrading 2012
Well, I can see that @ifttt is going to be a huge help to me in bringing my online activity together in one place—& will spark some redesign
Intellectual property, the online life, and physical death 2010
The recent loss of my dear friend Brad Graham and the memories it brought up of another wonderful person we lost too soon, Leslie Harpold, has me thinking about what might happen to my online presence when I die.
I'm fortunate to have a family that understands and celebrates the important role the Web plays in my life. My mother – who could, as my principal emergency contact on all documents calling for such a thing and beneficiary on any life insurance policies I've ever had, argue persuasively that she is my primary heir – has a thriving online life herself, primarily through Flickr. She's also, like me, a writer and would, I think, understand my desire that my works be preserved.
However, the legal position is unclear. My websites have always had copyright statements - either explicitly or implicitly "All Rights Reserved". Some of my Flickr content is Creative Commons licensed, but I have not taken the time to review and update all of my public creative output and its stated license terms.
And why is the legal position unclear? Because I do not have a will. Because of course I'm not going to die anytime soon. Of course. Never mind that Brad was younger than I.
So, yes. I should make a will. But I'd also like to find a way to make it easier for people to declare their intentions without that step.
We in the United States have CC0, which is basically a "No Rights Reserved" license. We have traditional copyright which protects our work for 70 years after our death. But we don't have an easy way to say "While I'm alive, this belongs to me, but after I die, I want to give it to the public domain."
Evan Roth has suggested an "Intellectual Property Donor" sticker for the back of your driver's license, just like an organ donor sticker, but it's unclear that this would be binding since it does not appear on the works to which it applies. It seems to me that a succinct statement which could appear on the work itself, much as a copyright statement does, would be easy to use and legally stronger.
I've got some homework ahead of me, learning more about this topic. I'll be looking at sites like The Digital Beyond and, in particular, their list of service providers in this space. I will also be attending the session "Become Immortal: Understanding the Digital After Life" at SXSW Interactive in March.
Please share your thoughts in the comments and let me know if there are other resources I should be checking out.
The clever Lillian Chow remembered the details of what I only had a vague echo of in my head: Neil Gaiman wrote a great post about this concern and provided, with assistance from lawyer Les Klinger, a tool – a simple will – to help address it. This takes the approach of naming trustees rather than turning things over to the public domain, but it does provide a model we could start from.
Any estate, copyright or other lawyers want to weigh in in the comments on that idea and/or on a phrase which could be used on the bottom of a website to reference it. Something like "Copyright © John Doe during my lifetime, transferred to public domain upon my death, per my will."
Step by slow step, pulling it all together 2009
*phew* Even for web geeks sometimes this stuff can be such a long slow haul.
What I want is for my blog at MetaGrrrl.com to reflect all my online publishing as MetaGrrrl. That means, currently, that I want to have my tweets from Twitter and my photos from Flickr to appear inline along with longer blog posts.
It would also be swell if when I post to my blog, that would also be reflected in Twitter with a tweet.
All of this is made much more complex by the fact that I use advanced templates. Yes, I'm greedy; I want the maintenance ease of TypePad and the control of Movable Type. Fortunately, Six Apart usually gets me at least 80% of the way to where I want to go and frequently does so with more ease and elegance than I expected.
In theory, I've now linked my Twitter account to my TypePad account, but so far I haven't seen it actually work. Perhaps that's because the new little mini Compose function doesn't actually share out to Twitter, which seems bizarre since it's intended for short content, but might be true.
Aha. Finally found a Share This Post help page with some screen shots and I wasn't getting the options in the interface. I deleted the Twitter account and re-added it and now it seems to be tickety-boo.
Eleven years. 2009
Eleven years?! Holy cow. I've been writing this blog for eleven years. What a lovely time it's been! Wonder how the next eleven will be?
I believe I'll celebrate with a vacation near the ocean. See what little treasures the tide washes up...
Nine years ago today 2008
On May 24, 1999, is the first use of the term "blog" on this site. (The title was added later since my posts were untitled in that distant era).
Brad posted about exactly the same thing the day before me so he got the OED reference, darn him. :)
I was working with Ev & Meg on a contract project at HP at that time, so I was almost certainly the vector for Peter's "wee blog" to be converted to verb form "we blog" and thence to the name Blogger.
I had Blogger blog #11 and helped test this new little "side project" of the Pyra gang. The rest is history. Good times, good times.
As Brad puts it so well, happy birthday, you awkward, uneuphonious little word!
9 Years 2007
When I was 9 years old I went on a big trip with my folks to Scotland & Norway and still feel the echoes of that wonderful trip today.
What will MetaGrrrl.com do now that it's nine years old? Exploration, new friends, new horizons, new foods, new ideas... that's what I'm hoping for.
Thanks for reading and commenting and being part of my adventure!
To my amusement this evening I received some spam with the subject line
when to stop blogging
and I just had to laugh because tomorrow is MetaGrrrl.com's 8th birthday.
When to stop? Not yet!
MetaGrrrl Classics #1: Best product endorsement ever 2005
December 21, 2000
Thanks again, Neale!
Wait, how can I be a trendmonkey and behind the times? 2005
And in the category "Best second comment on a weblog" the winner is danf for
Of course, you would probably start a live journal now that several other popular bloggers have mentioned having private livejournals and other switching to live journals already.
Honestly, do you ever do anything other than follow? I use to enjoy your site. But you seem to just tag along with everyone else. GTD? You started writing about it months after it broke, like it was some new deal. Now this live journal rant when it's already been passed around the web.
I'm disappointed, really. Thanks for the previous years, though. I'm sad you changed.
I know, I know, cheese? EVERYONE writes about that. Pictures of baby rhinos? SO old hat. And, really, who DIDN'T quote Greg Brown lyrics this month?
Other bloggers are talking about LiveJournals? Dude, I'm just writing about 'em because someone turned me on to a really good one and I've read 3 years worth of posts in the last 3 weeks. Given my blog-centric past, it made me wax philosophical. (And what's funny is I've been reading that journal so much I think I missed the other discussions you reference).
To clarify: I post about things that I find interesting, amusing, beautiful, useful and/or significant. And I've been doing so since 1998.
This may come as a shock to you, but MetaGrrrl.com is not in fact a news site or the home of the meme-of-the-week.
Nor do I write it to please you. If it does, cool. If not, there's a big wide web out there and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.
I am curious, though; hey everybody, what do you think are the classic Dinah posts? You know, before she sold out.
Soundtrack for this post? Tool.
I'm not trading this in, but... 2005
... after much consideration, I have to concede that one of the differences between a blog and a LiveJournal is that the latter seems to be more likely to develop the kind of community that leads to strings of fantastic comments.
For example, a couple years ago (yes, when I find a site I like I do tend to dig for those deep album cuts) Gordonzola asked everyone what they hate and generated an enormous response. Replies included:
- lysosy's hatred of "PolarTec couples. You've seen them. They wear khakis and fleece pullovers with hiking boots, and their Golden Retrievers sit in the SUV under the kayak. The girls pull their ponytails through the hole in the back of the cap, and the guys always have skinny legs."
- amarama's long list includes SUVs with "Free Tibet" stickers and White men who only date Asian women.
- capn jil hates lots of stuff I agree with, but especially "white people with fugly dreadlocks"
- I'm also right there with misia when it comes to "People who send me multiply-forwarded urban legend e-mail. (OH MY GOD THEY'RE PUTTING KITTENS IN BOTTLES!)" and elusis on "Top-quoters in email" and wasop regarding "People who take their dogs everywhere. A dog is not a child substitute, and it does not need to help you pick out a new throw blanket at Crate and Barrel. " and the anonymous poster who railed against "anyone wearing so much cologne that I can taste it when I am not actually licking them at the moment"
And then there's this gem from msjen:
People who teeter around SOMA on Friday and Saturday nights, holding each other up as they stagger to their cars (parked in valuable parking spaces), giggling and announcing how drunk they are.
When I lived near MIT frat row in Boston, where this of course happens a lot, I proposed building a satellite death ray that would be triggered from space by any human that yelled "Whoooo!!!" and had a certain blood alcohol level.
I think it's time.
Seven years good luck 2005
Happy birthday, metagrrrl.com. Seven years of blogging. Almost 2500 posts. Wow. I guess I found my medium.
Sure was a nice weekend here in San Francisco. I had a great time Saturday night. My friends Len, B.J. & Bev and I went to dinner at Sneaky Tiki (pricy but fun, with tasty appetizers). On the way there Len and I shared a cab with a nice woman we met at The Trolley Stop Where The Trolley Never Seems To Be Coming and in our 6 block ride together heard the nutshell version of her life which entailed decades as a Southern Baptist preacher and head of a funeral home business in Texas before realizing a few years back that none of that was right and he was a she. "On Sunday I said farewell to my congregation, on Monday I sold my business and by Wednesday I was on my way to San Francisco to begin transitioning." We all agreed it was good to let go of the things that don't fit in your life and she said "yes, like Southern Baptism, the Republican party and conservative Texas". She positively radiated that "I'm on the path that is absolutely right for me" vibe that's so energizing. I love this town.
After dinner, Len, B.J., Bev and I walked over to Natoma Street to a little tiny hidden theater space to see TVLand Presents Star Trek Episode 4: Mudd's Women at Theatre Tableau Vivant.
Tremendous fun and Leigh Crow does an amazing job as Kirk. Marvelous satire and yet also capturing why he's a such a likeable character. I'll definitely be watching for TVLand's next show.
Had a lovely lazy Sunday brunching and puttering around Open Studios with a certain very pleasing fellow.
So, my weekend having including all the necessary ingredients: alone time to kick back, hanging out with friends time, getting chores done time, laughing time, enjoying local creativity time, kissing a handsome man time, being fed tasty food time, and the aforementioned sipping cocktails, clever interior design, flirting with cute boys, outrageous fashion, witty friends and more than my minimum recommended weekend allowance of gender-bending, I'm ready to face the week.
My friend David writes, and I heartily concur,
NO, I'M NOT KEEPING UP WITH YOUR BLOG.
I would like to. I really would. I like it and I like you.
But we're now well past the point where we can keep up with all the blogs worth reading from the people worth keeping up with.
I just can't do it any more.
I've been faking it for a while. Months. Maybe a year. If we've met and I look confused about something you told me, and if you said, "I blogged it," as if that should be explanation enough, I've made some excuse as if I read every one of your posts except that one.
The truth is, I probably haven't read your blog in weeks. Months maybe.
And I don't expect you to have read mine.
I don't want to lie any more. I don't want to feel guilty any more. So let me tell you flat out: There are too many blogs I like and too many people I like to making "keeping up" a reasonable expectation, any more than you should expect me to keep up with Pokemon characters or Bollywood movies. You shouldn't expect me to and I'm not going to feel guilty any longer about my failure.
I will read your blog on occasion, either because I've been thinking of you or because something reminded me of you. Maybe it'll be because you sent me an email pointing a post you think I'll enjoy. Go ahead! I'd love to hear from you.
But I hereby release you from thinking I expect you to keep up with my blog, and I preemptively release myself from your expectations.
Otherwise reading each other's blogs will become a joyless duty. And we're too good friends to do that to each other.
[This post written Saturday morning just before 10am, but posting deferred until Monday so as to provide more time for those people who aren't reading my blog a chance to see the announcement about the Carmina Burana production.]
I am not a journalist, I'm a writer. 2005
"Folks, journalism is a craft. It takes a lot of time to learn to do well. There are rules, written and unwritten, that are applied. Laws that matter. Experience that you have to earn. Journalism - good journalism - is really, really hard.
Blogging, like you're reading now, is not hard. It's not supposed to be. A lot of people have worked very hard to make blogging as easy as typing a thought and hitting a button. That's the beauty of blogging - anyone can do it, about anything.
So again I say: Please, for the love of all that's good and holy, do NOT turn bloggers into journalists!"
Derek Powazek, Bloggers Don't Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Journalists
Another year already 2004
How busy have I been? So busy that I didn't write a new essay for Discardia in September. So busy that I keep forgetting what day it is. So busy that I didn't post anything on Sunday to celebrate my blog's sixth birthday.
Happy birthday, MetaGrrrl!
(So busy that's all I'm gonna say right now!)