June 11, 2003

I was reading Joi Ito's Web and saw a post about Blogstreet's thinking about sorting out 'What's a weblog post' and what's not and how to anaylze posts.

Interesting thinking and a nice little hack, but in the bigger picture, it shows the problem with people being too close to blogging. The problem is that they can't seem to see that a person's weblog content may not be inside a Content Management System (CMS) like Movable Type, Blogger, and Radio. Or that the content on a weblog may not be in the form of a post.

I saw a lot ot this thinking at SXSW. The idea that if you can just gather up all the weblog posts in the world and index them, you will have captured the blogosphere in totality.

I call bullshit on this.

Many, many people don't put all their content into their CMS and post as a 'traditional' blog post. Look over at my front page. The Cruft Adventures are all links to full html pages. Those pages are the most hit places on this site. I get plenty of hits to direct weblog entries, but the top pages are How to wash a baseball cap and How to make a cantenna.

Theoretically, I could have put this info into a blog entry but there are two large limitations to putting all content directly into your CMS/blog post system. First, the content has to fit in with the scheme of your front page. You are limited on what you can do in the post. With a a fresh clean page of HTML, you can do anything you want, without limitation. Second, CMS/weblog permalinks are not really permanent links. They are links that last until you switch CMSs or time makes the system you use antiquated. Some may say, I'll always use MT or Radio, but it just ain't so. In 10 years we'll be using something completely new and unimagined now. When you move your content to Apple's new iBlog in 2013, they will have a new set of permalinks.

A weblog is more than just a set of posts from your CMS. In all deference to Anil Dash, a weblog is more than what can be shoved though an XML feed to an aggregator.

The more that the big thinkers in the blogosphere rabbit hole into CMS -> XML feed -> aggregator thinking, the more they exclude people from their purview. Many will say "If you don't have an XML feed, you aren't part of the blogosphere." That's like saying, "If it isn't printed in a newspaper or magazine, it isn't journalism. Those weblogs aren't journalism because they don't publish in the formats I like."


Posted by michael at June 11, 2003 07:12 AM