the tweney report

from the notebooks of d. f. tweney, writer and technology critic


Wednesday, January 23, 2002

This is a weblog.

What that means is that, from time to time, I'll write something and post it to my web site, here. When I do, the new item will appear on my home page, replacing whatever was here before. The old stuff won't go away, though; like herpes, it will stick around forever. That's what archives are for.

You can tell this is a weblog (aka "blog") because of the calendar on the right. If I've posted something on a particular day, say, the 20th of January, you can click on that day and see what's there. If I haven't posted anything that day, you can't click on it. Actually, you can click on it all you want, but nothing will happen.

But in other respects, it's not a weblog, nor will it ever be.

Weblogs, according to most definitions, are collections of links to other web sites. The weblog writer finds a cool site, or an interesting news story, or a provocative graphic, and posts a link to it, along with a few lines of ironic commentary. Most successful weblogs are updated daily, or even more often. By now there are tens of thousands of people operating their own weblogs, furiously posting links and ironic comments.

How do they find the time to do all this? For one thing, they spend a lot of time on the Internet. For another thing, they surf the web more efficiently by perusing other people's weblogs in search of links.

That's right, folks, tens of thousands of bloggers are spending day after day reading one another's weblogs and posting links to each other. There's even a name for the deliberate exchange of links, the tit for tat, I'll link to your weblog if you link to mine lovefest: blogrolling. It's a fast and furious and almost completely hermetic environment, like a jar full of bees.

This weblog will not have many links. It may not have any, in fact. It will not be updated every day. Some months it may go for days or weeks between updates, because I will only post something here when I have something worth saying. Or rather, I will only post it here if I have something worth saying, and I don't mind your reading it, and frankly I couldn't find a magazine to pay me to publish it.

I had a weblog in 1999, and operated it for most of that year. (I also wrote a newsletter, from 1998 until late 2001, but that's another story. This "weblog" shares its title, "the tweney report," with that newsletter.) At the time I was writing my weblog, I was using Blogger, which has gone on to be one of the most popular tools for creating weblogs. I gave it up in early 2000, because the weblog was so much freaking work, and it was getting in the way of my doing actual writing.

Now I'm back. But this time, I refuse to run a weblog. Instead, think of this as a diary. An online journal. An open notebook. Instead of links, I'll have, well, words. Stuff you can actually read. Or skim, if you're in a hurry and just want to get the gist, to figure out whether it's something worth linking to in your own weblog.

That nifty calendar on the right is there because I'm using a tool called Radio Userland to maintain this site. Radio is pretty slick. It's a desktop computer-based tool for managing weblogs (or sites like this), that takes care of formatting, date stamping, archiving, and more -- all stuff that I know how to do in HTML, but which is a pain in the ass, frankly. It generates plain, static HTML pages -- no funky proprietary formats, no server-side code required. And it automatically generates RSS news feeds -- XML that other sites can pick up to see what's new. I like that, because it saves me the trouble of sending out email whenever I post something new to the site. I just post it, and those who have subscribed to my RSS feed will be automatically notified.

So. This is a weblog. This is not a weblog. Welcome.

10:22:52 AM    

© Copyright 2002 D. F. Tweney.

Updated: 2/1/02; 10:08:31 AM.

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