March 3, 2003


Memo to those guys out there who come up with names for high-tech widgets. You do nothing to endear yourselves to me or anyone else required to actually type the names of your products when you use intercapping, punctuation marks in the middle of the word, gratuitous exclamation points, and intellectual-property warning signs all over the place (as if anyone would want to embarrass themselves by infringing your use of names like FlabiNatör 2000!™). I am taking time out of my busy, important schedule, in the midst of a super-exciting press-release translation (which the media will hungrily gobble up and regurgitate to an equally eager public in its original form, miraculously unmolested by the editorial digestive processes) to tell all of you to cut it out already.

Mental hyperlinking

It’s been said suggested that the Web caught on because hyperlinking is “how our brains work” Of course, I think this was said by a guy with attention-deficit disorder, but that’s another matter. And it just struck me how dated the term “hyperlinking” sounds. Never mind.

Anyhow, a few days ago, I was discussing with Jenny a little kerfluffle in the local blog-land that erupted as a result of that Chronicle article (for which I wrote a special blog entry a while back). In the course of which, Jenny mentioned a different issue: the supposed blogger vs journaler tension.

Aside: I wasn’t aware of “journaling” as an activity distinct from blogging until a journaler pointed it out to me. As I understand it, journaling is more writing about oneself; blogging is more writing about the rest of the world.

More specifically, Jenny mentioned that blogging apparently gets more media attention than journaling, and wondered why that might be. In male-answer syndrome mode, I speculated that the mainstream media has a certain fascination with blogs, because blogs intrude on their turf: this is the blogger vs journalist tension. A bunch of people writing about themselves is not news, perhaps unless they’re famous. Well, moby has a blog (I take it back, he calls it a journal), and he writes about not having anything to write about and cleaning his kitchen. So, ok, a journal may not be news after all, even when it is by a famous person. Where was I?

Right. Like I was saying: the media doesn’t see journalers as intruding on their turf, so they aren’t interested, meaning they don’t cover them.

Anyhow, today I see a pointer in Electrolite to “smart observations about the Laurie Garrett affair.” (which I know nothing about). Turns out Laurie Garrett is a journalist of some repute who wrote a lengthy and candid e-mail message about the WEF at Davos. This e-mail was intended only for her friends, but (obviously) wound up being distributed more widely. She was quite upset when she found out, but it’s an interesting read.

Where was I going with that? Oh yeah. As the “smart observations” post mentions, this “in a roundabout way, brings us to blogs.” When we read the unvarnished and unedited thoughts of a journalist, we realize how much the mainstream media sands off the rough edges of reality for us. Blogs provide us with those rough edges. Laurie Garrett apparently isn’t ready for blogging, but blogging is ready for her.