Thursday, February 11, 2010
I did the scientist thing and the engineer thing, but recently I've become a blogger. When I started, I resolved to write at least ten posts, but believe it or not, this is my 100th. I think that qualifies me to say a bit about the blog as a literary form, although it doesn't qualify me to say anything original. I pity the English Ph. D. student 50 years from now whose dissertation topic is "the blog as a literary form", trying to come up with something original to say. (assuming of course that the Ph. D. dissertation is still extant as a literary form come 50 years.)
The blog is perhaps the first literary form native to the web. It's not a news story, though it can be news. It's something that can't be done in print. For example, a blog post without hyperlinks is like a Superbowl without commercials. It exists as part of a web, like a conversation. My smash-hit article on "Offline Book Lending" could not have existed without a Publisher's Weekly article to bounce off of; as for my posts on Dung Beetle Armament and Dancing Parrots- well what more could you want?
The creative use of multimedia is integral to a good blog post, though much of my subtlety is rarely appreciated. I'm especially proud of the duchampian picture in The Illusion of Internet Identity and the punk rock references in The Rock-Star Librarian and Objective Selector.
The blog post is also the first literary form that is optimized for search engines, with embedded metadata that's integral to the content. I'm proud that I have a post ranking #2 in Google for "hashtags for conferences" and #4 in Google for "bird shit antenna".
Writing as many articles as I have has made me much more aware of their construction. My favorite construction pattern seems to be [odd story]-[dry exposition]-[surprising connection], but I somehow I never intend it that way to start. I also find that my best and most popular posts are the ones that I write quickly; I'm never very happy with the ones where I do a lot of research and work hard on.
If you've ever left a comment, thanks! The opportunity to have my thoughts enriched and corrected by the range of experts who have done so is a real privilege. I've also received some wonderful private comments and links from other blogs, which are deeply appreciated.
Now that the blog has had over 55,000 "unique visitors", I've started to get a few Facebook friend requests from people I don't think I know. I'm sort of old fashioned about only friending people I've met (unless they're cousins!), but it's nice to see people so interested. As a response, I've started a Facebook fan page as a place for blog readers who are active Facebookers to interact.
I'm not exactly sure where this will lead, but so far it's been both fun and worthwhile. I'll leave lucrative to the imaginary future.
That is all.