Alot Of The Old Mixed With The New

I learned about blogs when I found Scripting News in 1999, which is our host's, Dave Winer's, web site. Back then Dave was building a new tool for writing for the web, which he called EditThisPage. Now Dave is busy at work at another tool for writing for the web that he calls Fargo.

The point of this post, however, is not about the tools, but rather about the linking. Go the link to Scripting News from back on October 15, 2000, don't read, just scroll down the page and let your eyes see the hyperlinks. You will see some sections with an abundance of links, others with not so many.

Watching Dave is how I learned to blog. Back then blogging was not about long form writing, instead, it was about sharing a link to another web page, or just storing a link with a note so that I could remember it for some future time.

Today most blog posts are oriented around a title. I am not exactly sure how that came about, but I suspect it was caused by folks who wanted to use blogging tools to make money. Put differently, I think blogging oriented around a subject became in vogue when some people decided they wanted to be professional bloggers.

In the beginning, however, blogging was oriented around days. The routine was like thus: click the link to create a new page for the current date, entered some text, click save and the page was published. As the day went on and you came across more information to share, you edited the page to add the information, and consequently the page changed several times throughout the day.

  • So far, I think I have spent 30 minutes writing and editing this post. Back in the beginning of blogging, I could write a post in five minutes or less because it may have only been a few sentences, may be a paragraph. Five minutes at a time, four or five times a day, and you end up with a decent size page without having spent a ton of time writing. How do you find the time to blog? Go back to what blogging was meant to be.

Here is an example from my EditThisPage blog on December 21, 1999. It starts with some comments about the Green Bay Packers, who lost to the Minnesota Vikings the previous night, then it moves on to some thoughts about computing, a link to a site about XML, and I ended the day with a link to Jerry Pournelle's web site.

What you see on my blog post on December 21, 1999 is not an article like you would find in a newspaper or a web site like the Verge. It's not prose. It's not a story. It's a log of information that I found on the web, published on the web and made available for others you may or may not find it useful.

  • Most people will look at that page and say that is not coherent, and they will be right. It's not really meant to be coherent. A story or an essay, or an article is coherent, and perhaps it's best to stop thinking of them as a blog post. A blog post might just be a link with an intro to the story.

As I wrote earlier, somewhere along the way weblogs became oriented around subjects or titles. Dave blames the development on Google Reader, which expected each addition to a weblog page, which I often times call a post, to have a title. Dave changed the format of Scripting News so that each post had a title, conforming to the wishes of Google Reader.

No more says Dave. Google Reader is gone, and Twitter is not a blogging platform, so Scripting News is going back to its original format, oriented around days, and he has flipped the bit. When I look at Scripting News for today, it reminds me of what I saw back in when I first found Scripting News in 1999.

Translating what I see, each "post" is a paragraph. See the hash sign at end of the paragraphs? Each is a hyperlink. If you want to link to a paragraph, just click the hash, copy the URL from the browser address bar and share. Here, take a look at the RSS feed and take a look at what each item contains. I wonder how this feed is going to look in River? I've added it to my Fargo river.

Last built: Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 3:27 PM

By Frank McPherson, Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 2:14 PM. We don't need no stinkin rock stars.