Hmm. You can tell I designed the new AqCom at 1600×1200 by the way the logo looks oversized at 1024×768, let alone anything else. Must fix this.
I’m home. I wandered down though London with no trouble at all, did presenty things (Out of four people I managed to get two gifts that they already had – both of which were half of the total present, which means that I at least got it right) whilst I got a nice new watch, a grill, a marble-run and a new cafeteria. I like spreading the present part of Christmas over two days 🙂
Kind of a busman’s holiday, since I got two computers back working again and helped order broadband in less than 24 hrs of being here, but nothing unexpected. The problems are where nothing has changed (the village in the middle of nowhere, for example) and everything has (one of my brothers – I have two – moving into my room). I come back, and people are talking about writing, or writing about writing in fact, so a couple of cents of data then…
A tendency towards writing is what brought me to blogging in the more general sense. A diary has been on this site since the end of January 2000, and I joined Blogger – and the blogging community – as of about April that year. I was 19. I write because I can’t not write. I write what I am told are entertaining posts on Usenet, I write short stories that make me question my abilities, I write articles to display here and occasionally elsewhere. I’ve been published in electronic form two times and in print once – it was a fanzine. Why do I write this journal?
Our chief weapon is feedback. Feedback and soapboxes. Our two main weapons are feedback and soapboxes. And archiving. Our three main weapons are feedback, soapboxes, archiving and dissemination of information. Four. Our four main wea… I’ll come in again.
I write for feedback.
I live for feedback; I’m a constructive feedback junky. I may not like it, but I still want it. It may stop me writing for a while, it may make me question my entire stance on publishing to the web, but I still want feedback. The worst thing about writing mainly for Usenet is that after a while people start going “Aha, it’s him. He’s funny. Ha. Next post” and all the writer sees is a black hole into which they are posting things. I’m a performer; I came to writing as an actor, I need the audience reaction, so I write so that people will say what they think. Unless it’s destructive, in which case though I need to ignore them, I can’t. But I still live for feedback.
I write for a soapbox to stand on. I don’t have any right to my opinions on most things beyond media – which I am a consumer of – and interfaces to other websites – which I have to be able to program for. But I have this place where I can rant and rave about the state of the transport network, the good things about Christmas, the holes in the education system, Napster, the decline and fall of the Roman Empire. *Anything* and people read it, probably because they are expecting examples of #5.
I write so I can read my life in two years time when I have forgotten.
Dissemination of Information.
I write so that people will know where I am. So my parents know I left home at 17:10 and might be here by eight, that I arrived safe home from a convention, so my friends know that I’m still alive, so that the people who give a flying fuck of my whereabouts and wellbeing can do so without having to ask.
And for the real reason I plead the fifth. Entertainment. I write things that might possibly amuse and entertain, though there doesn’t seem to be much of that recently. I write to comment on my technological betters, to demonstrate I’m still alive – if occasionally only just – but mostly because some people find things I write amusing and enjoy reading them.
I still don’t understand why, though.
All this stuff about “Weblog writing” smacks to me as navel gazing, though. There is no such thing as a typical weblog. You can’t say weblogs fill a valuable niche in the news world because many weblogs have the literary worth of a life-sized sugar model of Hamlet, and not only couldn’t care less, but are popular because of it. On the other hand, there are many blogs whose owners I would fall at the feet of and worship that are fantastically readable yet have no deep meaningful touch at all, they are just well written.
We are not the cement of the establishment, nor are we the wrecking ball. We will not effect the people, because we a just a small subsection of The People. We are just the division of people who want to write of the division of the people who want to.
the first rule we break is to throw out all our assumptions about ‘what is good writing’ said Burningbird, and I strongly disagree. Good writing is still good writing, and nothing weblogging does can change that, Good writing is writing that is readable. There are as many examples of bad writing on the web as there are of bad design, there are millions of angsty poems out there by teenagers convinced that Anne Rice books are deep, edgy and gothic. The fact that there are many of them does not make what they are doing “Good Writing” and neither does weblogging. It’s just a new style and a new forum, and it may change the world – it certainly has changed mine – but it’s still the people who can write writing for the audience who want to read it.