Monday, July 14, 2003

Why do Philosophers Wear Tank Tops?-In order to better gaze at their navels. There is something mildly obscene about a XXL tank-top, but I'll put one on tonight. Kevin Holtsberry got out his belly-button-binoculars the other day:
Blogging is not conducive to serious study and reflection. Unless you don't mind not being read by anybody or you are already famous and can get viewers that way. The only way to get consistent readers is to post regularly. This makes it hard to read and study, for example, and still have a life.
I think you can have serious thought in a blog. There's an old saying in blogdom that there are two basic classes-linkers and thinkers. Some of the good thinkers may only post every other day, but have something interesting to say when they do. For instance, Louder Fenn, one of the early Catholic bloggers, has gone to a weekly model with Monday posts. That would roughly parallel the niche of a weekly magazine or small-town weekly newspaper. The weekly news magazine will, by its time-table, have to work on a big-picture analysis, for any breaking news when it goes to press will be old news by the time it gets mailed to readers. Likewise, analysis blogs may not be breaking any news, but may do a good job of analyzing the news. Often, there is a further niche of meta-analysis, where one will take the analysis of bloggers and on-line columnists and add another layer of depth. Such meta-analysis can get almost cliched in the link love, but adds to the collective understanding of an issue. The other model I mentioned above is the weekly small-town newspaper. Many blogs that focus on vignettes of the writer's lives have a timelessness that allows for something other than a 24/7 news cycle. A Possumblog spiel on a weekend with the kids, a Greg Hlatky blurb on his latest dog show or a Lileks Gnat essay need not cover what was in the Gray Lady this morning (yes, Lileks publishes every weekday, but he's only timely when he wants to be). Such essays will be good next week or the week after (or even ten years from now). Not everyone can post twenty times a day like Glenn Reynolds, nor does everyone want to. Spudlets has a good summary of good blogging
1. Be able to write posts with something resembling standard English (or whatever language happens to be your native tongue) so that people can understand the thought you are trying to communicate. 2. Post on stuff that interests you. 3. Find others who are like-minded, and leave comments or e-mails to them and develop relationships. 4. Post when you want to on things that you have at least a semi-strong opinion or interest. Posting a couple times a week is helpful to maintain traffic. If that gets to be too much of a chore, then maybe blogging is not for you.
I have enough stuff that interest me to produce three or four post each day. Sometimes I have a page-long post on a topic; other times, I'll only have a sentence or two to say (those go into the "X musings" category). Those sentences may not be serious reflection, but sometimes a good sentence can say more than a page. Blogs aren't newspapers. When they're merely from-the-hip opinion, they're a one-man op-ed page. When they're better-thought-out essays, they're more like a good on-line magazine. People like Kevin shouldn't worry about posting 5 times a day; if he produces one good one a day, he's ahead of the game, and he does that fairly often.

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