I’m still not 100% convinced that I like this blog thing. I mean, it’s very cool and all to have a space that’s all your own where you can say whatever you like about anything you like, but it’s got some real disadvantages over email and Usenet from the producer and consumer side.
Say I wanted to hear what Harry Teasley had to say about a number of subjects, I knew that as soon as he wrote something it would drop into my mail box. And so would the responses of a large number of friends who are on the same mailing list. But now I’ve got to keep checking his blog every day, not just to see if he’s said anything interesting, but to see if anybody has posted any interesting comments on what he said. But maybe instead of posting a comment on the same subject as a comment on his blog, they’ll just go off and post it on their own. And so I’ve got to keep a list of other people’s blogs to check on a regular basis.
Then there is the little matter of finding what other people have written on a particular subject. On Usenet, if I’m interested in what anybody has to say about, for example, flying IFR, I’ll go read rec.aviation.ifr. I don’t have to monitor a bunch of people’s blogs to see only what they’ve written, or spend time with search engines finding blog writing about that subject – a large community of people are all on the same newsgroup, writing about the same subject (sort of) and responding to each other, having a long lasting and interesting conversation.
Then there’s the matter of fragmentation. Like web boards before them, every blog has different software with a different interface and different quirks. With email and Usenet, I can use the user interface I want, and commune with people who use totally different user interfaces.
And mostly they’re closed communities. If I want to comment on my own wife’s blog entry, I can only do so anonymously because she’s on LiveJournal and I’m not a LiveJournal user. Most other journals and blogs, I have to enter my name and email address every time, because there is no standard way to express that, unlike the From headers in SMTP and NNTP. And the blogs that allow you to link to your friends will only link to other users of the same blog site. LiveJournal will only link to LiveJournal users, Slashdot will only link to Slashdot. I use MoveableType, so I can set up my own custom pages, but it certainly wasn’t user friendly or easy, and there is no way to automatically see whether they’ve updated their blogs recently like the LiveJournal or Slashdot friends page.
Basically I guess what I’m saying here is that I’m going to continue to journal, and my friends are going to continue to journal, but I hope that they continue to put at least some of their best stuff on the mailing lists and Usenet newsgroups where we first encountered each other.