Noah Shachtman of Defense Tech blog is reporting from Iraq this week. He blogged from Camp Victory (swimming pools, Pizza Huts, Subway Delis,) here. The comments, though, make for the really good reading. Typos and opinions fly between vets, grunts, and military kin. Unedited, candid. And fresh.
Mr. Park:"This is an old popular topic but I thought I should state my opinion. I don't think bloggers are journalists." A. Fish: A blogger is not necessarily a journalist. But since a blog is like a journal, it's safe to say bloggers ARE journalers.
Bloggers ⊄ Journalists
Mr. Park:"Journalists who maintain blogs are journalists." A. Fish: They're journalists...AND journalers.
Most blog for no pay. Non-monetary value in blogs as resume. Neighborhood reports. Time and again must review: Why are we here? Who is this for? Some hear what Levi and Domingo and Leland did. Opportunity. Knocking.
"Volunteers get burned out if they can't find money." "In contrast I found, at blognashville, that even the most-popular bloggers are mere dilettantes." - Dana Blankenhorn
Interesting ideas. Knowledgable. A unique vantage point. Opinionated. And most important: Lazy.
Help wanted: Please persuade LibertarianJohn to start blogging. "I'm just too lazy," LibertarianJohn told me today. "I have an active mind, but just getting it down in words," is what's keeping him from blogging. (That and a fulltime job and a beautiful family and resuming his Phd dissertation. Pathetic excuses, I agree, but he's a good guy so stay with me for a minute.)
LibertarianJohn is not only lazy, he's opinionated. And, despite voting for the libertarian presidential candidate in almost every election, LibertarianJohn considered voting for Howard Dean had he won the nomination. A Democrat! LibertarianJohn could hardly believe this himself.
A part time Economics instructor at San Jose State, LibertarianJohn is not some naive AynRand-reading misguided philosopher. This guy's got really interesting ideas on
urban environmentalism: sneak green into nooks and crannies wherever possible; peaceful coexistance of industry (need better word?) and nature; to earn a "C" as an environmentalist you must simply enjoy nature and express (writing, art) why you enjoyed it; triangulating environmentalism - can backpacking fight youth crime?
journalists vs. journalers: shocking there's no bar exam or series seven license for journalists; news orgs with more fact checkers per writer should advertise that fact; hand a pad and pen to someone in underrepresented district (bayview?) or demographic (who?) and put more editors on that beat; if keeping a private journal is journaling, doesn't that mean blogging is journaling, not journalism?; is fiction a subset of journalism, or of journaling?
school, my writing class: three sessions to go and I've had a good time, but my writing has not improved at all - illusion or sad accuracy? the study-more-upfront curve vs. the cram-for-final-exam curve, crisped at three weeks to go, can barely pick up book or get excited for class; Billy Collins poem on students beating the meaning out of a poem with old brooms; what a good teacher is (hint: he or she is not perfect, but it some way excellent, ok that's one version there are many); a B is satisfying when...first class ever where I gave it my all, attended every class (wow) did not approach it with dread.
W: first 100days. (365 x 4) - 100 = 1360 remain of accidental-boy-king's reign. Not outrageous anymore. Just tiring; find humor in this, surely it's in there somewhere & you're just tired;
how to travel, how to camp, plan a trip: need to write this if not yet written, else read it; weekend in May; pick one.
(UPDATE 4/17/2005: The comments bring good news. Details at bottom.)
It's weird, maybe because there are more bloggers now, I have very few people linking directly to this blog. I abandoned my Radio Userland blog over a year ago, but it still gets more direct link hits (vs. bad google search "bait+tackle" hits,) than this Typepad blog. I remember tweaking with the Radio templates to make sure the blog post titles were permalinks to that post. That may be the problem. <--Fixed. See "Update" below.
While Typepad has some really nice drag-and-drop template design widgets, it is very confusing to create and use template sets. You have to duplicate one of their standard template sets, that's easy enough. Then you have to go a separate step to make sure your blog uses your special set. That works fine. But then - when you go through the control panel to change the font, it seems to start from scratch with a standard typepad template set that uses the font you just selected.
Markos of dailykos, one of the most high-traffic political blogs on the internet, exceeded my expectations. He came off more self-effacing than he does online, yet he was still confident. Brian Lamb, who has one of the most steadfast poker faces of all interviewers on TV, laughed out loud at different points. And kos gave a good definition of "what a blogger is" that should put these inane are-bloggers-journalists panels to rest. He was clear that he is not an expert in politics, nor is he a journalist, he explicitly disclosed that he is a partisan, and not fair or balanced. Markos has a fascinating background which was interesting to hear about too.
His comment about being one of the three people in the country who knows how to build a good community political blog was an exaggeration, but since he has the most highly-visited blog of that description he can get away with it. He and Brian discussed a few tips for making a good blog - "stay away from default templates," etc.
"Progressive is a demonization of the word 'liberal'. I think progressive is a nice word, I am a progressive, but I prefer to use the word 'liberal' because I want to take back the meaning of that word."
With a wider blog-reading audience, this question comes up alot. At BloggerConIII, someone said I have to find one niche area and blog about only that, and blog about it often. I suffered severe block for two months or so: writers block, project block, productivity block. Then I remembered I started blogging for me, do decant my ideas and stash my links and just exercise my writing - to spread it all out and process it here.
phil ringnalda dot com: Who's my audience, again?. "How am I supposed to write a post about the guts of
nsInternetSearchService.cpp so that everyone from WWR listeners to core
Mozilla hackers will both understand and not be bored senseless? I seem
to have forgetten that blogging skill over my last sabbatical."
Halley's Comment: Something Andrew Sullivan Said."He also said how hard it is to still be really personal and "real" on a blog like we all used to be in the old days. This has been bugging me a lot lately, that it's harder and harder to let my hair down and just talk about my real life"
What delicious use of the medium for this elected official to answer his critics. His first post is great with plenty of links, he makes his case, defends himself well and closes with a challenge:
"I invite Critical Resistance to step back from the ideological edge
and assist us in turning lives around. Men and women leaving prison
need lots of help, and activist energy could be creatively engaged."
That debut post is brought to you by the blog of Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown! You'd think he's been doing this for years, if it weren't for the font. "Be very afraid. I think he'll turn out to be well-suited to the medium," says Instapundit. Indeed.