Blogging a dead horse

Harlan Ellison once wrote, “”Every idiotic thing that anybody could possibly write or say or think can get into the body politic now, where before things would have to have some merit to go through the publishing routine.””

The great gift and great curse of the Internet is that virtually

anyone in the Western world can publish and be published. Every profound musing that slips through the cracks of the traditional mass communication model, every worthless, ill-conceived, bigoted notion, finds a home on the Web. Every misunderstood genius, every perfectly-well-understood cretin, can communicate his or her message.

A key medium through which to exploit the communicative powers of the Net is the Weblog — blog, for short. You’ve heard of them, I’m sure. You might even have one. A Google search on the word turns up 823,000.

In case you’ve never been a-blogging, think of them as sort of hybrid diary/bio/community/bulletin board Web entities. There are as many different styles of blog as there are bloggers — after all, self-expression is the whole point — but most share similar characteristics. Here’s your guide to creating your own blog efficiently and easily.

Diary: This is the log itself. For best results, detail the banal minutiae of your daily existence (Curry for dinner. Sauce from a can. Needed more cumen.); occasionally drop in a profundity that you’ve lifted from another source, like Harlan Ellison; add the odd little-known-fact you’ve recently discovered (The word “”curry”” comes from “”carie,”” or decay; the spice was used to disguise the flavour of rotting meat. It must be true, I read it on the Web.); and post in reverse chronological order. Or in chronological order. Or in stream-of-consciousness order, alphabetically by the mood you were in when you posted.

Biography: This is the opportunity for your readers to learn EVERYTHING about you. Don’t pass it up. Don’t settle for giving them just your name, height, weight, eye colour, hair colour, build, favourite shade of lipstick and eye shadow, favourite band, favourite hockey team (Go Columbus!) or such sweeping generalities. We WANT to know which character in the Lord of the Rings trilogy your friends say you’re most like, which one of the Monkees you would like to be, who the best Star Trek captain was and how much you like curry. It’s important that this information not only be included, but be formatted in four-point type for maximum readability.

Links: The sites that pique your interest can give readers great insight into your character. Provide a link to every Web site you’ve ever visited. While there are no standards, it is common to list these links along the left side of the page, along the right side of the page and along the bottom of the page. This enhances navigability.

Forum: As a community develops around your site, it’s important to offer your readers a space to express themselves. Some kind of unmoderated auto-post bulletin board functionality should be included, if only as a courtesy to 48-year-old men who like to pretend to be high school cheerleaders.

Hope this helps. By the way, The Ellison quote? Lifted from the ineffable Ethel the Blog (, one of your better quality blogs.

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Dave Webb
Dave Webb
Dave Webb is a technology journalist with more than 15 years' experience. He has edited numerous technology publications including Network World Canada, ComputerWorld Canada, Computing Canada and eBusiness Journal. He now runs content development shop Dweeb Media.

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