by Leslie Harpold
The meme that's spreading like crab lice even faster than the now de rigeur "Whimsical eBay Auction" (wonder how that one started?) is the ever reaching, low effort high praise web log. Inspired by early adapters Robot Wisdom, a journalist's favorite haunt, to Memepool, embracing the viral quality of an important or entertaining link, and making use of several savvy contributors, web logs are merely a chronicling of web pages the site owner, usually a self appointed tastemaker has visited and feels are of interest to people s/he thinks are stopping by their sites.
In a medium where success is measured in page hits the web log is the ultimate easy out. When done well, it's a great handholding tool when your time is limited, when done poorly, it's just boring.I hate to make value judgments, no, wait I don't, it's very simple: Cardhouse = good. Misterpants = good, Beniceotbears = good, while conversely LinkyDinky, Outraged = kind of boring. (Good being defined as unique links, well written commentary and a general sense of whimsy) Then again, I would imagine that one would choose one or two Web Logs based on their personal interests. I like the Honeyguide for the less than whimsical surf to find out what's really going on the world, a good overview of valuable information which also helps the world seem less like the one note wonder the media paints it as by glomming onto and oversaturating us with one single event. (Yes, like Littleton.)
I could point out a dozen other Web Logs from the go getting new media workers trying to apply the starmaking principles outlined in Fast Company to their own lives, or the well meaning copycats, but I assure you that once you visit one or two logs, you'll note they all link to each other, in the Soul Train shout outs to their bretheren. Consider this article an appeal to the aspiring web logger. Don't do it. You heard me, unless there's a great show of support by people outside your immediate peer group (who are supposed to encourage you in everything you do) hold off. And yes, there's already a Web Log of Web Logs so that's been done as well. Now, if you take the Tufts' Museum School approach "if you think you can paint a better Monet, then forge ahead" you stopped listening long ago, but in a drive to push coattail riders off in order for good things to flourish, I say leave it to the pros, kids. While Coat Tail Rider is an excelletn song by the Supersuckers, it's a mark of shame in webspeak.
What makes a select few web logs good is that they are select and few. Like portal fever, the Web Log is thrusting it's way into meta meta-ness, it's recursivity already starting to weaken the entire point of its existence. An unlikely candidate for IPO fever, Web Logs do help highlight nichey obsessives, and and don't help product move off the shelves. You're not going to get rich, famous or thinner. I advise that you channel your energy into thinking of something interesting all your own. Originality is indeed rewarded in an emerging medium. I love riffing through a good log, it's kind of the vicarious voyeuristic thrill picking through somone else's purse or junk drawer, but I'm fairly certain there's more than enough dull stuff on the web, so no need to add to the pile. If Web Logs become as ubiquitous as the cargo pant, the stylishness and cache will be wholly depleted and it will be gone faster than the wrap sandwich.
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