Monday, June 30, 2008

Why blog?

The rhetorical question "why blog?" has been floating around lately. Last week Lisa brought up the topic came up over at Politits, and this morning I noticed PZ Myers addressing the same question, albeit from a slightly different perspective and for different reasons, on Pharyngula:

When blogs started to emerge, I didn't quite see the point. I could see exactly what they were: they were nothing but web-based front ends for personal databases. That's all they are still. I couldn't quite see the point — the data being stored was rather idiosyncratic, and personally, I couldn't imagine myself writing enough stuff that it would warrant database tools to manage it. But then something odd happened: it turned out to be very useful to be able to compose something, and have it stored away in a manner that made it easy to access again. And then populating the database with useful stuff started to become an end in itself, the new motivator unit, and as the database grew, it became more useful, and that in turn made it more compelling to put more stuff in it, and so on.

Feed forward loops are powerful forces, people.

Then the other big force was Google. Google is the one significant tool we have for poking around in other people's personal databases. That's another powerful motivator, that we find ourselves able to plumb other people's words and experiences fairly easily, and what do you know, other people are interesting, so we want to look more, and we want other people to find us interesting, so we stuff more and more goodies into our own databases. Feed forward, feed forward, feed forward.

Bottom line: People are interesting. Reciprocity exists. People blog because other people blog.

Gotta love the way a scientist views a blog, though -- some of us see it as a journal, some as a shared memo pad, some as intellectual doodling, some as a sanity saver, and some as an efficient way to keep friends and family up to date on what's happening in our lives. Professor Myers sees it as a database.


  1. i started blogging initially to piss people off...and what happens?...I made a bunch of new is good

  2. Hello Nan, your comment almost got lost on my blog, I only spotted it because I had a few minutes to check old posts and comments.

    This is a problem with blogs, everything becomes history in the ruts of time and space soon, in just a few days because they don't read like a book does.

    The rhetorical question "why blog?"

    Well, to add your two bits worth of the dust in the dust of the ruts of time and space in history behind us hon.

    And it was my birthday today so I added some more of that dust to it.

  3. I'm always amused when I see people rave about "crown molding" as a sign of quality -- they're so frakking stupid they don't realize it's a labor saving trick for the builder.

    Actually, it's just an ego thing. I've installed crown molding that was just cheap plastic shit and I've installed crown molding that was high quality oak.

    Never, ever, ask an inexperienced carpenter to install crown molding, it's tricky to cut right and get good joints.

    I don't have anything against it, just saying is all. If you fill the void with spray foam as you install it you have a better weather barrier than without it.

    I did some work in a half million dollar home last year, needed to pry out the baseboard in a bedroom to re-streach the carpet. It was cheap plastic crap painted, boy did that owner get screwed. Ha, ha, ha.

    I love it when the rich get fucked. Well, that is just me. :-)

  4. I started blogging right after the 2004 elections. I needed to express my thoughts about politics and didn't feel like I had any kindred spirits here in the meatworld.

    I'm amazed at how I've connected with people from all over.

    Thank you for the link.


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