I realize there are people (Tara) who are really bored by this topic. There are others (Ian [not me, this guy I know]) who find it really interesting. So if you find it boring, skip to the last paragraph for something else entirely.
KillAllTheWhiteMan is a blog. You don’t call it a blog out of some misguided sense of superiority. You hate blogs.
Starting at the end, no, I don’t hate blogs. Anecdotal evidence support this would include the fact that I read some websites which self identify as blogs, but I honestly think that’s kind of irrelevant. Deep down, the issue is I have no idea what the word means anymore.
Merriam Webster defines a blog as “a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer ; also : the contents of such a site.” Of course, this differs rather strongly from the original meaning, of weblog. A weblog is (was?) a site consisting entirely of links, quotes and commentary. There are still artifacts of this behavior, like Tumblr, a site designed for creating a blog in the classic sense. Of course, this original meaning didn’t last long. It was only March of 2000 when Adam Mathes created Webloglog, a site designed specifically to blog (in the classic links and commentary sense) other blogs. The site is actually interesting, if only as a record of the move (very early in its history) of blogs away from a focus on the sharing of outside content, and toward the sharing of one’s own personal life.
It was probably 2003 before I noticed another shift. Someone referred to a long, rambling (but well written) personal post on a forum I frequented as a “blog”. I was thrown at the time, but the usage has become fairly standard. MySpace, rather that listing a number of posts in a person’s blog, lists the number of blogs. Of course, we still had classic blogs, and personal journal blogs, so at this point, it would appear that one can create a blog that links to blogs full of blogs.
Then corporate blogs show up. As far as I can tell to this day, these are news pages written in a more casual style. They aren’t personal journals, they rarely contain links or commentary, they’re just business updates in jeans and a witty t-shirt. The only things that link them to blogs at this point are the format, and a casual authorial voice.
It’s gotten to the point where my friend Brandon often finds his site, insert credit, referred to as a blog, and as far as I can tell, it’s solely because the front page is a collection of recent posts, listed in reverse chronological order, with older posts moving to the archives. So is blog just a formating style now?
I guess the issue I draw with that is that none of the other meanings is entirely gone. If someone says they have a blog, it is generally assumed that the content will be casual and mostly personal. There is also, let’s be honest, a general assumption of low quality. I don’t know if anyone believes all blogs are poorly written self absorbed bullshit, but I know a lot of people who take the stance of guilty until proved innocent.
I suppose that this makes me a bad person to determine whether or not KillAllTheWhiteMan is a blog. I’m keenly aware of the fact that I don’t really know what a blog IS. Still, I get the sense that this isn’t one. I don’t link to things, ever. I’ve always wanted KillAllTheWhiteMan to work as a stand alone effort, and that’s part of my effort. I don’t talk about the current events of my life. Mark Twain’s autobiography has some great things to say about the importance of distance when it comes to figuring out which parts of your life are actually interesting. I copy edit. It’s my goal to actually produce things that are worth reading, rather than just a therapeutic dump.
I want to be clear that I don’t hate any of these things. I actually really appreciate when friends maintain a blog that allows me insight into parts of their lives and minds I might not otherwise have access, but it’s not what I’m interested in doing personally. Any sense of antipathy toward blogs probably runs parallel to my feelings toward MySpace. I feel that there’s a ghettoization of personal expression on the internet. It’s cut off and not taken seriously, and this really worries me. The idea that an extremely functional format can be blanket categorized and defined as “just blogs” really bothers me.
Plus, the aesthetics of the word blog are horrifying. It’s just ugly.
BONUS UNRELATED PARAGRAPH
Another good way to make a normal argument into a really horrible argument is to accuse the other person of having some sort of mood or personality disorder, like Asperger’s or Borderline Personality Disorder. Then, when they get mad at you go “see, this is your BPD.” Devalue everything they say, and try to switch to where you’re comforting them. Offer to get them help. You will probably not be friends anymore, but if that’s the goal, GO FOR IT!