May 06, 2003
Why bloggers write so much about blogging

Bloggers write about other bloggers, blogging and blogging technology. I think it's in part a passing phenomenon: Here's a thought that occurred to me:

What's the most used opening phrase when using the in-flight phones available in some planes? "Hi it's me - Guess where I am? I'm in the air!"

What was the first thing people talked about when car phones came out? "Hey, guess where I am? I'm in the car!". When the phones became draggable, then later portable and now certainly handheld and even smaller, people's attitude towards the devices matures, they became less of a novelty and people were more focusing on the utility, the social implications and so on: which leads me to this theory:

What's the first thing new bloggers write about? "Hey guess what - blogging is cool"

Increasing maturity of this technology will mean that there will be less blogging about blogging itself and more content, social interactions and interesting, emerging phenomena powered by the blogging technology.

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hehe, you are probably right. It's a new form of media/communication and very undefined. I guess people want to contribute to define the weblog in general and what the weblog is for themself. "finne s sjl"

I allso think that difference between phones and a blog might be that the blog is more of an identity statment.

Posted by: christian on May 6, 2003 04:34 PM

Good catch, Christian!

(I compared blogs and phones because I found them to have at least two important things in common:

* they are reasonably recent technologies that we have seen mature (or being in the process of maturing) the last years)
* I see them both as communication "devices" (physical or logical)

Posted by: Anders on May 6, 2003 04:42 PM

meta-meta-blogging. who can go the most meta?

Posted by: Michael Fagan on May 6, 2003 08:39 PM

Well, at first there was metablogging, talking about how cool blogging is, and the subtlties of it. Then there is the metametablogging, like this post, that blogs about blogs blogging about themselves. As we get less metablogging, we get more metametablogging as we notice and comment on the lack of metablogging going on. Soon, we'll have metametametablogging, where we talk about blogs that are always writing about other bloggers blogging about their own blogs. That will draw criticism from the metametametametabloggers, who will openly muse about what kind of sick person blogs about bloggers that blog about blogs whos bloggers blog about their own blog.

Oh for the love of god, make it stop!!!!

(and in case you are keeping track, this post, because it deals with the concepts and implications behind metametametametablogging, is actually metametametametametablogging. Hardcore.)

Posted by: sam on May 7, 2003 04:08 AM

Meta hard core indeed, Sam...

I think people have realised that meta(*x)-blogging isn't the "coolest" anymore; which is the step I meant to refer to the bloggers' relationship to blogging technology is maturing...

In the long term, quality content weblogs will proliferate (they are already), meta meta meta etc blogs will be a niche "market".

(and I realize that by writing the post above, I did exactly what I think people shouldn't do (at least too often ;-) - metablogging.... )

Posted by: Anders on May 7, 2003 11:06 AM

I don't get this. Why shouldn't we discuss blogging. I know I am new to this and that mature bloggers a tired of the topic, but what a blog is and does with our way of communicating changes with the number of bloggers. Saying that something is of-topic because somebody has discussed this matter before is like saying "these guys have it all figured out" I don't believe that. The consequences of massblogging are not yet revealed itself. The discussion continues.

Posted by: christian on May 7, 2003 03:22 PM

Christian, your point is interesting. I don't think metablogging will stop, but I do think (and hope) that when blogging becomes more widespread there will be an even wider and richer choice of topics, writing styles and viewpoints and more non-metablog-content.

My theory: All new bloggers will tend to metablog, and it's certainly easy to blog about blogging now because it's still new and the mass-blogging phenomena are still emerging and are still to be analysed ( = there is a lot still to be written about blogging ).

Even considering this - in general I would like my blog to be interesting to non-bloggers (family, colleagues, friends, potential bloggers, ...) as well as other bloggers, and metablogging only fails to inspire non-blogger-readers to see the point, methinks...

(The discussion certainly continues, and I reserve the right to change my mind at any random time :-) )

Posted by: Anders on May 7, 2003 03:45 PM

Look what I started :-)

I don't think that there's anything wrong with metablogging, but I do think that it will eventually mostly disappear.

Once *everyone* has been blogging for some time (e.g. ten years), people will then understand most of the social and other things that happen with blogs and the blogosphere.

It will never entirely go away of course. People still study things like human interaction, and that's been going on since... humans.

Posted by: Michael Fagan on May 7, 2003 07:04 PM

Amen, Michael.

Posted by: Anders on May 7, 2003 07:10 PM

Yes, I agree.. The early metablogging usually took the form of "Wow, isn't this cool, I'm actually at a coffee shop posting this. I could inform the world, in a moment's notice, what I'm drinking. This will revolutionize the world, Yeah, YEAH! Blogging is about instant information networks.. Yeah!"

As people get used to blogging, and society is used to it, then everyone will already know the basics, and people won't feel the need to write endlessly about them (though I'm certainly guilty of that). Surely the more subtle concepts will continue to be discussed, as Michael suggests, but the more common form of drawn out, "boy this is neat" style meta posts will probably fade out.

Not like its a problem, people can write about whatever they want, its their own site. :)

But quality content is usually what gets a site added to my news reader.

Posted by: sam on May 7, 2003 08:41 PM

I second that heehee, and murmur a guarded amen.
But I also think "blogging" is one aspect of a larger phenomenon, which some people are calling, somewhat technocratically, "social network mapping [http://www.socialtext.com/workspace/index.cgi?Blogmaps ]: Connecting people up and building incentives for cooperation into self-perpetuating, evolving networks.

I think there is a lot of useful blogging about blogging that is trying to get at this larger thing, such as the hoopla surrounding the launch of bitacoras.net, an index and community of Spanish-language bloggers.

This kind of thing, as you say, represents a step past the idea that having an easy-to-build blog is the same thing as writing a note and sticking it up on a BBS at the Internet-as-neighborhood-McDonald's: "Dog for sale. Slightly used," or "Madame Fatima knows all, sees all," with little phone numbers you can tear off.

It's participatory, and implies a different set of behaviors, roles, and relationships than publishing or broadcasting or advertising your dog or your knack for palmistry. There's a different ethic and aesthetic about it. It's "non-corporate." It's "alternative." Oh, but now "alternative" is an official category at the records shops, so let's find an alternative to that.

But that's exactly why I think some of this kind of blogging will always be with us: because it's not a technological process that's refined to perfection, but a technological extension of a social process that won't end until the sun starts to die.

To use the caf metaphor again, people will always be saying things like "Man, the crowd down there at McDonald's is not what it used to be, it's getting soooo [dull, scary, stupid, pretentious, full of weasels/lamers/dorks from the other high school]. Let's starting hanging out at Tillie's Caf."

Or, given the digital divide that exists in the online world, something like "This neighborhood needs a place like Tillie's. Let's start one, only with our own style." To which the rest of us reply, "hmm, I have never tried Central African/Tibetan/Chilean/Bulgarian food/beer/massage techniques before, let's go try it."

People are constantly reassessing their relationships with other people, and what the resulting aggregate flux will do next is a perennial mystery that keeps the pundits pondering. That's what I think some of this is about.

Posted by: blogal villager on May 8, 2003 08:12 AM
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