Three transitional forms of blogs

Ray Sims is another "thought leader in my blog reader". As he pondered my Four value propositions post, he struggled with how to categorize blog postings full of links or news tidbits. They do not fit the Archive or the Distraction categories. Ray said:

A potential fifth category is the "link blog" that primarily passes along "quick links" (as some call them) without any deep analysis. Or, perhaps "news blog" would be a more generous category label. I tried to get myself to say these fit within Archive; however, the level of original thought (low for link blog) and long term value (again low) seems to separate them into something else yet.

As I developed this taxonomy, I briefly considered transitional forms between each of the four types of blogs. Ray has inspired me to spell those out in detail.

Links Summaries: Blog postings full of links and news items are more valuable to others than the "cathartic process of relief" offered by Distraction Blogs. They are usually not as valuable as the archives of an expert. The value proposition is less permanent than the tangible value of a product. It does take some expertise to assemble the link summaries or news items, like an editor or a maven. But the content is perishable like the predecessor forms of self indulgence.

Fan club comments: Archive blogs tend to share expertise without the professional growing from all the writing. It's easy to generate posts for the archive because the material has been expressed in other venues previously. An intermediate form of blogging often occurs where the expert's posts get incidental praise and validation or personal remarks: "Great post!", "This helps a lot!" "Welcome back from Mexico!" or "Say hi to your kids for me". These "fan club comments" put the "guru" on a pedestal and look up to him or her. They offer adulation rather than eye-to-eye conversations. They introduce a glimpse of relating, reciprocating and growing interactively without getting into the Conversation type of blog full bore.

On site Blogs: There are US soldiers blogging from inside Iraq. There are political activists blogging from the sites of demonstrations and interventions. There are citizen journalists reporting news first hand -- from the scene of crimes, politicians off camera or grass roots meetings. These bloggers also function as watchdogs, whistleblowers and fact checkers. All this reporting is proto-democratic. It harbors the last vestiges of elitism and privileged access. It's the free press that enables democratic processes of decision-making and change. It does not function as every citizen's right to speak, vote and organize movements. It comes before that and makes democratic action possible.

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  1. In our society I'm beginning to realize that there are few people who can see patterns. You are someone who can and I appreciate it.

  2. Tom,

    Wow, that was quick...and again on-target and integrative in a way I didn't think of. I like it.

    Here is another variation for you: the Project Blog. I know these from inside the firewall in software development. Used truly as a journal (literally a 'web log') that so much in blogging isn't anything about anymore, if ever was. Perhaps in-part the invention notebook that I knew many years ago when I was a practicing mechanical engineer.

    Hmmm, how does one sign as witness on a project blog? Perhaps that takes care of itself in digital form.

    Be well,

  3. Thanks Harold. For you to recognize my "seeing patterns" takes you're seeing a pattern in my postings. That makes you another of those rare "pattern recognizing people" and thus we are "birds of a feather". I'm glad we're "flocking together" in the blogosphere!

    Thanks Ray: I suspect that Project Blogs are a breed of Archive Blogs -- because the content is authoritative and the archive is socially significant, useful and likely to be searched. Because the entries are short, they may resemble contemporary blogs that merely pass on links or news clips. But it seems likely entries into Project Blogs would include more personal annotation to alert others and remind oneself of unresolved issues, looming problems or design flaws. The switch from hard copy to digital distribution surely adds to the benefits and impacts of logging entries, even if there are no comments added, only postings getting read and searched.