Userland’s Influence

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Geez but I liked Jonathon’s posting today. Sure it’s meta-blogging, but so what? He’s saying what he thinks and that is a goodness. And if you don’t like it, change the friggen channel. Especially since I’m going to continue on the theme he started.

In his post, Jonathon provided his interpretation of something that Dave was saying:

if webloggers blogged properly (i.e. they followed the rules), there wouldn’t be a problem with RSS feeds.

Damn, that was good.

I nip at Dave Winer’s and Jonn Robb’s heels frequently not because I feel it’s my moral obligation to make their lives a living hell. It’s because I’ve seen Userland’s influence on technology and technological directions in the past, particularly with RSS and the concept of subscription services (and on P2P but that’s another story). My hope is that I can, in some small way, help to provide some counter-influence so that one Voice does not speak for all.

RSS newsfeeds. Quick soundbites, push as much information on to the queue as possible, skim it, scan it, blurb it, blob it — create a great mish mash of information. He who reads the most wins. He who posts the most wins. RSS and subscription newsfeeds and channels are becoming the Cliff Notes of weblogging. Except that at least with Cliff Notes, you know that the full context exists elsewhere.

What happens in a weblogging world consisting solely of soundbites and links if we follow the hypertext trail from start to finish and realize that it was nothing but a trail and there is no substance? Talk about the ultimate vapour trail.

This isn’t a Coke commercial and I can’t invite the whole world to sing with me. I can’t read every weblog and every news source and I don’t even try. What I can do is discover, one by one, people who’s voices have reached me at some point, and whom I visit daily to see what they have to say. This is my community. It is an open community because anyone is welcome to join if they like what I say and what other community members say (like not being the same as “agree with”, you understand).

This week, I have offended people with my description of “bible thumpers” and the Pentecostal faith in an earlier posting. I know because they’ve emailed me. When you express an opinion, someone somewhere won’t agree with you. I expressed my views, and I shared some history — my weblog, my views.

Still, how would I soundbite my posting on religion? Would I title it, “Religions I’ve come to know and discard?” Cliff Notes version suitable for framing within RSS:

Mike asks about belief. My response is I’ve tried out a lot of religions, some good, some not so good, and at this time my own views are personal. Read more….

Short, simple, won’t clog RSS feed machines, and contains hypertext links to another weblog and a longer essay — Dave, you gotta love it.


I tried the “short post, read more link” thing earlier this week with a couple of technology posts, to see how it works for me. Well, it feels hokey. It’s nothing more than taking a weblog posting out of context and putting it into a technology friendly format.

The day I start conforming to what is “proper” weblogging technique, the day I start following the advice of articles about Better Weblog Writing techniques, and the day I let technology limitations and page rank systems determine what I write and how I write it, is the same day I quit this whole damn thing.

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