Blogging advise from 2002

How American:

‘[Blogging]has given me the practice in performing imperfectly in public and moving forward unashamed. Updating my site daily has taught me self-discipline and given me reason to think deeply. I am a better writer.’ p. 29

Put it on a tile:

‘The happiness you derive from your weblog will depend on your interest, your ability to devote sufficient time to the project, and your commitment to keeping the rest of your life in balance.’ p. 35

Quotes from Rebecca Blood’s 2002 Weblog Handbook. I reread it earlier this week, and typed over these quotes. This sort of advise sounds ‘terribly American’ to most European ears; yet I cannot but agree. And she is still blogging (old-style):

Well, do I really agree? I do agree with the second statement. I would like to believe that the first one is true as well, but I am not so sure that blogging functions a tool or a reason to learn to think deeply… I’d say one can find counter-examples.

blogging,en,ubiscribe,writing | April 30, 2006 | 14:17 | comments (0) |

Going towards a million…

But who cares? I spent part of this afternoon clicking and reading through the reports about how many weblogs there are now, worldwide and in the Netherlands, how many links they receive, how large their impact is on the MSM (to use the old blogosphere code for mainstream media). Yes, also I downloaded the pdf with the powerpoint-presentation of Paul Molenaar for Blogonomics 6, — via which contains the information that there are now about 600.000 bloggers in the Netherlands — of which 260.000 use, the horrible (imho) blogsoftware of Ilse (is it? I’m too lazy to even check). The powerpoint presentation is full of Fokke and Sukke cartoons.

Why am I so bored by this? Because it’s in the end only about numbers. Numbers which are important for old-world investers and advertisers.

3 loose, maybe stupid remarks, between brackets:
(1. Is that why the 260.000 of are mentioned?). (2. Probably anybody in the Netherlands doing a lot of surfing has stumbled many times on that turn out to not exist, the link exists, the blog doesn’t). (3. During is about blond models in tight T-shirts, as can be seen here:

Another reason for my boredom is that in such reports and business-confernces like Blogonomics, (still) the old mass-media and journalism function as the main contexts. (Why count how many links blogs make to the old mass-media?) Of course there is still a big role for the ‘major players’ (like Guardian, BBC etc.). But you do not establish insight into that role by counting how often blogs refer to those major players. Oh well, or maybe it does.

(It sure isn’t accidental that after a week with lots of blogging about MySpace — at least I saw a few postings about MySpace, all refering to the same issues — both De Volkskrant and NRC have articles about MySpace. That’s not strange, that’s how journalism works).

The research of how stories travel through a network of interlinked sites — like the research done by Anjo Anjewierden, is lots more interesting (again, immnsho).

Also much more interesting is Geert Lovink’s proposal (I know, I’m late to link…): He writes: “Blogs bring on decay. Each new blog adds to the fall of the media system that once dominated the twentieth century. What’s declining is the Belief in the Message.” I might be less nihilisticly-inclined than Geert. I’d like to stress the ‘constructing of a ‘new’ culture’ (which is not utopian, but a big mess….) instead of focussing on how that dismantles the old — but that might, in the end, be mostly a difference in rhetoric and style…

Trying to get into the top 100 of Technorati is subscribing to the logic of mass media. (And indeed, it’s missing the point about publishing online).

I’m beginning to ramble. Can’t make it cohere. (As Ez sez). It’s not really my field. I learned much more today from reading bits of the bookhistorian Roger Chartier. Amazon links to: Order of Books and Forms and Meaning. Discovered that by hitting ‘surprise me’ you can get many more pages to read ‘inside’.

blogging,en,research | April 29, 2006 | 19:52 | comments (1) |

Foucault, What is an Author

‘We can easily imagine a culture where discourse would circulate without any need for an author. Discourses, whatever their status, form or value, and regardless of our manner of handling them, would unfold in the anonimity of a murmur.’ How Agamben quotes Michel Foucault, ‘ What is an Author’ in the english translation Remnants of Auschwitz, 2002. (Text states: ‘translation emended).

‘Although since the eightteenth century, the author has played the role of the regulator of the fictive, a role quite characteristic of our era of industrial and bourgeois society, of individualism and private property, still, given the historical modifications that are taking place, it does not seem necessary that the author function remain constant in form, complexity, and even in existence. I think that, as our society changes at the very moment when it is in the proces of changing, the author function will disappear, and in such a manner that fiction and its polysemous texts will once again function according to another mode, but still with a system of constraint (…). All discourses, whatever their status, form, value, and whatever the treatment to which they will be subjected, would then develop in the anonimity of a murmur.’ Michel Foucault, ‘What is an Author’, in Essential Works of Foucault 1954 – 1984, vol 2, Aesthetics, p. 222

en,research,ubiscribe,writing | April 29, 2006 | 18:55 | comments (0) |


En soms heb ik gewoon geen zin om een tochtje te maken. Te koud, wat anders aan mn hoofd, werk te doen, en vooral: gewoon geen zin. De hele dag zit ik in mn ‘studio’ op de Jan van Eyck, lees halve boeken, verzamel citaten, klik door blogs; en zie dat het helemaal niet zulk slecht weer is (ja het is koud, maar niet zo koud…). Vandaag heb ik gewoon geen zin om een tochtje te maken.

cycling,nl,Uncategorized | April 29, 2006 | 18:54 | comments (0) |

43 / 1.40

19.30 – 21.10 Lekker gereden, maar koud. Een weekend met slecht weer in het vooruitzicht. Kanne – Lanaye – Moelingen – Mesch – St. Geertruid – Bruisterbosch – Margraten – Bemelen – Maastricht – Zonnenberg – Kanne. Volgende keer zoek ik weer wat meer klimmetjes op.

cycling,nl | April 28, 2006 | 22:37 | comments (0) |

The Big Blue Book

James Joyce Ulysses, in the first Dutch translation by John Vandenbergh, published 1969, hardcover, in cassette, together with Aantekeningen bij James Joyce’s Ulysses by the same John Vandenbergh. This is the edition that I first encountered Joyce in, around 1980 — maybe even earlier –, at the house of my grandparents, where my uncle H., (who was then about 20 years old) showed me the big blue book, telling me this was sort of a 20th century Odyssee, set in Dublin. I was intrigued of course. Became even more intrigued after seeing a page from Finnegans Wake in the Spectrum Encyclopedie.

I read Ulysses for the first time in this Dutch translation (a few years later). (I remember at that time any book translated by either John Vandenbergh or Gerardine Franken was a recommendation, like for instance Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom, of which, I remember, I did not understand a word, but finished reading to the last page nonetheless).

‘Statig kwam de vlezige Buck Mulligan van het trapgat, in de handen een bekken vol schuim waarop kruiselings een spiegel en een scheermes.’

This afternoon I came across a copy of just this book at a second hand bookstore. (For the non-Dutch, this translation is not available anymore, since the Paul Claes & Mon Nys translation came on the market). Complete, in cassette, perfect condition. I bought it. (37,50). It even has the smell of the library books through which I first encountered literature. It’s as if I’ve always had a copy of this book.

en,reading matter | April 27, 2006 | 20:13 | comments (0) |

43.5 / 1.50

19.00 – 21.00. Mooi avond, maar ik kwam niet vooruit. Zo’n tochtje waarbij je steeds afvraagt of de remblokjes niet tegen de velg lopen. Ik volgde de fietsknooppunten, 95% over betonplaatweggetjes. Draaien en keren om elk dorp heen en mn fiets dus onder de modder. Te snel terug in Kanne en nog een rondje over de St. Pierre gemaakt. Kanne – Muizenberg – Vroenhoven – Vlijtingen – Rosmeer – Riemst – Heukelom – Zusserdel – Eben-Emael – St. Pierre – sas – Kanne

cycling,nl | April 27, 2006 | 19:52 | comments (0) |

Trackbikes on the streets

This is what I call culture. ;-)

cycling,en | April 26, 2006 | 17:11 | comments (1) |

Things done

First spent time revisiting blog-theory anno 2002 (like Rebecca Blood’s The Weblog Handbook: I made some notes on yellow post-its.

Then went through folders on my harddisk in which I have stored webpages and pdfs ‘to read’; re-ordered the contents (I now have 4 different research folders), deleted some, printed the papers I really want/have to read this week.

After that I made an old-fashioned links-page, and visited (quickly) about 100 (?), 200 (?) blogs to see if I want to include them on this page (for further reference, to remember). I worked through VoodooPad-documents in which I had saved links, went though the linkslist of my ‘old’ blog, followed links on blogs that I was happy to revisit or rediscover, and, most importantly, used my own memory. I still have to go through the bookmark-files of both Firefox and Safari — I only bookmarks when I’m too lazy to do more than hit ‘command-D’ (so the bookmark-lists tends to be long and totally unorganized).

Will this compulsion to order lead anywhere?

I never really go to use delicious/ariealt. Although I do use the delicious-accounts of others, often to good result. What one uses or not, has a lot to do with, well, preferences. (What you like, what you’re good at, what fits your use if time and working methodology, how important design is, how important good writing, etc.).

I also don’t use RSS. (My blog does RSS though, and I know some people appreciate that). I used RSS for a while when I spent much time on trains. Before catching a train I would boot my RSS-reader, let the feeds stream onto my harddisk, to browse through on the train. RSS was / is a way to have online content when there’s no connection. (I hated blogs that only put a headline plus a lead in the RSS, or worse, only a headline). What I miss in RSS is the personality of the design, the typography, all that (subtle? — hopefully) visual stuff that adds to the ‘voice’ of the site.

Wrt design: there is a strange attraction to making all texts look the same: have it shown in the stylesheet / template of your choice. (But basically RSS-readers and services like Bloglines ( do not really look attractive).

I am put-off by really bad design. (That’s what I learned from visiting 100 blogs tonight, and quickly closing those which looked really ugly). But I’m not put off by generic Blogger/Wordpress/MoveableType-templates, as long as they are (a bit) clear.

Links-page and notes to come…

Here’s some of what I printed to read:

blogging,en,research,software,ubiscribe | April 26, 2006 | 14:10 | comments (0) |

Amsterdam vs. Maastricht

Listening to the concert of The Same Girl at the Jan van Eyck, I was thinking that probably the only two things about Amsterdam that I am really missing are the weekly rehearsals with Oorbeek and the monday nights at Kraakgeluiden. (Well and of course F. — but that goes without saying).

en,Uncategorized | April 26, 2006 | 14:09 | comments (0) |
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