An owl is not a lamppost

Based on a thread at FriendFeed, I’ve chosen to edit this post by striking out a group of paragraphs that apparently caused some friends to feel the need to respond. At length.

Part of that series of responses is a semantic issue: To wit, is Cites & Insights a blog or not?

I muddied the issue by using “just” in relation to blogs. I can’t imagine how anyone could believe that I regard blogs as unimportant, but fast-response media (social networks) tend to lead to offhand comments that may be misleading as to real intent.

But to me, there’s a simple answer, one that has little to do with quality, importance, effort or anything else.

A blog is a series of essays or other items (99.9% of the time in HTML form) that appears on a site in reverse chronological order. The items may be article-length, peer-reviewed commentaries (oh, you know which first-rate blog I mean), and although I can and do think of such blogs as “journals in blog form,” they’re still in blog form. The items may be one-sentence links to items of interest, the original “weblog” form that’s largely yielded to Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed and all the rest.

Cites & Insights simply is not a blog, any more than Current Cites is a blog, any more than Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship is a blog. (Couldn’t resist linking to that particular issue of Current Cites.) You can call it an ezine, or an ejournal, or a pile of random crap that comes out periodically…but it’s not a blog. Doesn’t make it better or worse. Does make it different.

And I get that self-publishing really isn’t going to work for me unless I come up with something fun, catchy and cheap (and I’m not a fun writer). Boy, do I get that.

Update along with title change: An owl-shaped statue is not an owl either.

2 Responses to “An owl is not a lamppost”

  1. GeekChic says:

    If it’s any comfort, I read the FriendFeed thread you mentioned and found it rather frustrating. I definitely see a difference between C&I and Walt at Random and can understand why C&I is much more difficult now without sponsorship (and it has been a very long time since I published anything so I’m not a long standing author for money by any means).

    Frankly, the others responding seem to take offense to the notion that blogging typically reads different and is more casual than a newsletter or journal piece. Doesn’t mean blogging is “worse” or “bad” just different.

  2. walt says:

    Thanks. It was a very strange conversation. I’m choosing to let it be for the moment, and possibly forever.