Blogs – what’s different…

I attended the ‘This Is Not Art’ festival last weekend. Great vibe, lots of cool stuff and a host of talks on interesting things. However – it was also a bit frustrating as almost all the talks that I attended missed the central point of their respective argument.

For example, the blog.

I heard that the blog was different to a website because:

  • It is ‘interactive’ which I guess means that you can comment
  • It is easier to write than a web page (well I guess they haven’t tried to use a third generation CMS like steer)
  • It is easier to read than a standrd webpage (ie most webpage designs are crap)

All of this is missing the point of a blog. A blog is temporal. It has a history, a timeline, a context.

Bloggers (at least the ethical ones) don’t go back and correct blogs. You don’t revise and republish. The primary navigation for a standard blog is time – either via a ‘previous’ ‘next’ decoration or directly via an archive.

And this central idea gives the benefits above. It is interactive because it is fixed in a context. That later posts can contradict earlier and it is understood that they do. You can influence a blogger via a comment system because it is a historically recorded conversation.

It is easier to write than a web page (ad easier to navigate) because there are fewer choices. I don’t need to worry about where to post this rant because it will be posted under ‘today’. I don’t need to worry about if it belongs under /rants/philosophy/web or under /general/discussion/meaning/blogosphere. I just post it and everyone understands the primary navigation.

Of course the temporal nature of the blog is also its biggest weakness. Because I only have some simplistic keyword tagging tools, this post will lose a chunk of semantic information by not being located under one of the categories above.

Which is the subject for a different post.