The case against (most) weblogs

· Weblog Concepts

Charly Z of Driver 8 tipped me off this morning to a few interesting threads. First is this biting essay called either “Why I Fucking Hate Weblogs!” (according to its top header), “Why I Hate WebLogs” according to its filename, or the punch-pulling “Why I Hate (Personal) Weblogs” used in its title bar.
It veers from incisive observation to silly scatalogical excess (may not be suitable for all readers), but manages for the most part to tweak the blog “movement” for its foibles and raise a few chuckles along the way.
The essay is divided into chapters of varying length. The first chapter gives a reasonably accurate history of weblogs, and the second, “Why do they do it?” is probably the genesis of the essay, as it lists a series of blogger-loser stereotype:
The Reverse Voyeur, The Exhibitionist, The Self-Important Moron, The Obsessive-Delusional Ranter, The Town Crier, The Tragically Geek (“typically known by aliases like ‘warzd00d’ or ‘Ph33rFr33k’ or ‘No><ius’ “), The Ego Stroker, The Crossover Poster, The Aspiring Writer, and The Pedant (a subclassification of Self-Important Moron).
Chapter 4 stakes out a serious argument with weblogs, positing that they represent a step backward from the one-on-one forms of communication available online:

Communication mediums like IRC/chat, email, instant messaging, … all facilitate direct electronic human/human interaction. They directly imitate, by design, communication channels used in the real world, such as telephones, direct in-person conversation… [T]hese are the methods of communication that have risen to the top of the usefulness list. People communicate and socialize much more effectively when communication happens in real-time …. Weblogs take us away from that. They are designed to mimic mass-communication channels where realtime communication is not possible or practical because of the large number of audience members, such as news sites, magazines, newspapers, etc.

They take communication back to an ‘announcement’ mode of communication, where comments are the only feedback given, if any, and the original speaker doesn’t even know who their audience is until after feedback returns. It decentralizes small group communication and decreases it’s efficiency, which is ironic, considering that the vast majority of weblogs are only read by a few people.

Now I don’t personally agree that e-mail is a real-time form of communication, for example, nor that weblogs “take away” any other options (except in the sense of outcompeting them among some users, perhaps), but it’s still an interesting thesis.
Chapter 5 takes on the word “blog” itself, and Chapter 6 delineates some “Acceptable Uses of Weblogs.” As far as I can tell, only famous or important people should keep weblogs according to this advice. Everyone else is a “looser.”
Much of the essay is based on the idea that (most) (personal) weblogs are written by “wannabes” without real fame, accomplishment, or other worth in the eyes of the essayist.
Finally, the author offers a “WebLog Author Survey.”
(Cross-posted under memewatch as a matter of antimeme backlash-tracking.)