This is Not a Blog

This is not a pipe
“This is not a pipe” – René Magritte, 1928

“The Beatles were just content providers” – Doonesbury.

This is not a blog.

This is a website that uses common blogging software as a way of managing content.

This is a just a site, in the old fashioned sense. The web has seen more than enough blogs, millions upon millions being created every day. The have evolved from their original purpose – a kind of web diary – into something that purports to be more. However, aside from blogs written by actual journalists, most of them can only be opinion pieces. Millions of opinion pieces.

Blogs entries often also take the form of “Check out this cool thing I saw on another site”, which almost has the effect of making the web a self-referential closed system.

I will endeavor to avoid both these extremes, and will infrequently post “check out this cool thing” and “Another episode from my life” type of entries. I have another, personal blog on one of the major blogging sites for that, and that mostly because I have formed a small community of people on it. Most of whom I knew offline already. I’m also using it as a kind of externalised memory. This is an outlet for my more serious writing.

And my only real source for “look what I found” posts are sites that you could just as easily browse yourself. Such as slashdot, digg, b3ta, and so forth. See post to follow.

And here are too many blogs out there already anyway. I tried to demonstrate as much early in 2004 when I created the entirely fictitious “Goatboy Diaries”. The life and times of a poor wage slave in a cubicle somewhere. Ok, so that part is true.

Yes folks, I intend to create Original Content.

Having said that, I can’t pretend that I am a writer or journalist. Like 99% of people online, I rarely have access to original sources, nor do I have the backing of a large organisition with the ability to do research. This is what distinguishes most efforts from actual news organizations. I do have access to a very small number of People of Interest and News Worthy events, which I will exploit and publish here. Even if I have to generate news myself through my efforts as an activist.

My interests are diverse, and in some way’s counter to each other. For example, the last five magazines I acquired where Flight International, the New Yorker, Viz comics, New Scientist and Time magazine. I also regularly read Adbusters and other journals of that ilk. More on these later.

Self published sites like this are necessarily promoting a (hopefully unique) point of view. I will let you guess what my political leanings are through the content I create. I am a member – just – of one of the major political parties here in Australia, but out on one edge with a love-hate thing going on. I suspect this is the case for all free thinkers attempting to graft themselves onto a larger, more cumbersome organization.

Another thing that differentiates a blog from serious journalism is the used of the personal pronoun, the inclusion of the reporter into the story. You will see the words “I” and “me” and “myself” on this site frequently. I could pretend I’m channeling Hunter Thompson, who was frequently the story himself, but no – I just never went through a course or cadetship to learn the pyramid story structure or the exclusion of self from the narrative.

I will publish here as frequently as the muse and my time allows me – which may not be often, I am after all employed full time and have many other things on my plate.

And finally, a few guidelines on the site itself. I used WordPress software simply because I’m familiar with it. And a slightly tweaked version of a template because I don’t know enough PHP to create my own. If I had the time I’d learn how to use joomla but for my purposes, this setup is sufficient. I will by default place most links at the end of an entry, rather than breaking up the flow with highlighted blue text. I find that when reading webpages I read a few sentences then jump off to the links as soon as I see them, one of the downfalls of Tim Berners-Lee’s little invention here, and my short attention span. Also, there are no ads on this site, and so it will remain until the unlikely day that I can’t afford my web hosting due to the number of hits I get.

And finally I am verbose. As you can see. Get used to it.