Saturday, February 14, 2009

On Bloggery

Today in The Sunday Times I offer my world-changing thoughts on BLOGGERY. You are, therefore, required to buy six copies of the dead tree edition and bombard the web site with hits from midnight. Link will be here tomorrow. And here it is! Please note, the top 100 list is not mine alone, I merely contributed.


  1. For one wonderful moment i read that as:

    "Tomorrow in The Sunday Times I offer my world-changing thoughts on BUGGERY."

    However, blogs are quite interesting too.

  2. The ad (in today's Times) is extremely weird, what is that RSS icon doing on the young woman's belly button?
    But, looks very exciting from the bits of posts I can see on the ad - they are a bit curvy though so I am looking forward to the two-dimensional version tomorrow.

  3. Apparently we are all Bryan's extended family? if this is the case can you lend me some money?

    bootleg link here

    Ill get a ST copy out of the Neighbours paper bin later in the week, there is a credit crunch on don't you know? and ive only got 20p left from a night out at the pub. Kelham islands pale rider is just the best

  4. So what you're basically saying, Bryan, is that you hate blogging but you're addicted to Malty.

    I can dig it, that bastard's comments are like crack.

  5. ha, I agree, Brit, once they became mainstream they were finished. Those 100 (though I only got as far as halfway down page 3) prove it. It got too predictable.
    yours is the only one I read now, Bryan. keep it up!

  6. Bryan, that ST piece is the most extreme example yet seen of traffic-lust -- one of the more curious conditions afflicting bloggers. I notice you carefully refrain from linking to yourself, relying instead on your readers' initiative & facility with Google.

    Good work!

  7. Not a condition I suffer from, Dennis. The idea for the piece wasn't mine.

  8. If an extended family you be then which one, The Waltons, The Forsythes, The Partridges, no, I know, The Clampetts.
    Himself sitting at the cement pond, laptop at the ready, musket in hand, picking off comments 200 yards away on the wall. Brit obviously will be Jethro, looking as he does, I guess, not unlike Max Baer. Nige would be that nice Ivy League bank manager Mr Drysdale, an inbuilt sense of survival prevents me from allocating the part of Grannie to either Maxine or Susan. If I were forty years younger with a reasonable pair of knockers then I would step forward for the part of Elly May.
    The villainous reprobates mark, Ian, passer by, anonymous et al can fight it out amongst themselves for the Mrs Drysdale, Drysdales secretary or the bloodhound roles.
    Same noospaper today, your old mate India is poo-pooing the Internet, writing she says, sniffily about Twitter or as I interpret it writing twittishly.

    Brit, I have a bit of paper that disproves your theory, or I think I have, its around here somewhere.

  9. Brit obviously will be Jethro, looking as he does, I guess, not unlike Max Baer.

    You're not wrong, Malty. This was me after the Great Transhumanist Invasion of 08.

  10. Bryan, I'm pleased to hear it; no offence intended, and none taken I hope.

    Your analogy of emerging from the lavatory and finding oneself on the centre spot is a nice one. Extraordinary to think that anyone can get a Blogger account and 5 minutes later have people from China or Peru looking at the result.

    BTW if you want a fine example of When Blogging Goes Horribly Wrong, nip over to Guido's and see what's been going on with Derek Draper.

  11. Actually, Dennis, if it's okay by you, I'll take offence at your comment on Dale's post.

  12. Only just caught up with the blog and thus the article. Reactions:

    1) Like blogscape but doubt it'll catch on. I'll use it though.

    2) Interested that I felt proud as I read the article, before the mostly boring list of 100 (boring after Norm, really, who seems key as pioneer of a distinctive voice for the UK). Proud that someone in the family (I think that's right) caught a lot of importance and wrote it down well. Felt part of that in a way I'd not before perusing the ST. (Something tells me that's important not just for Bryan but for proprietors and advertisers to understand.)

    3) So sorry not to know about the person who recently killed himself. The utter flip side to number 2. Nobody has to say anything publicly but I felt I had to register that. My heart goes out to his (real) friends and family. I guess most of us have had this to deal with the suicide of someone dear to us at some point. It's a terrible place.

    4) Yep, the Wembley toilet analogy is immensely good. Those times when you realise there's not enough paper ...

    5) The distinction between Huffington quasi-journalism and the real thing is dead right for me.

    6) The ability and willingness to go off piste into diet, philosophy or Archery is of the essence here and why I too would like one day to be considered a toddler, under nurse (nominations?), in the wider, albeit fractious, household.

    7) The treatment of a diffuse history was whole lot better than fake 'first blogger' awards

    8) A bit like the way Thatcher never intended to be leader (and in my view was a very good one) the only good blogger is one who frequently wants to give up - and sometimes does hand over to a trusted other. Addiction is the obvious amusing analogy but there's something deeper here as well.

    One criticism on the list of 100: no mention of the blogscape discussing itself and the wider eworld, including the much nominated Nick Carr? Maybe I missed it.

    Good effort though. Felt I understood better at the end. And it's crazy and complex enough a 'scape for that to be achievement.

  13. Until a couple of years ago, I lived in Folsom (near the prison, not in it). As the inmates sorted all of our garbage, a paper shredder seemed like a good idea. Had no idea that they enjoy internet access as well.

    As Brit says, Blogs are so 2004. Are you twittering now? What about Facebook?

    Aside to Brit: your eulogy for duck was touching.

  14. Been in London all day so only saw the article bleary-eyed at 0530 and again now at 2230.

    Any article like this has to be subjective. How could anyone possibly come up with an objective list of the "best" blogs. By popularity? Even that figure is very hard to work out in many cases. So either you trust and are in tune with the writer's sensibility or you pass on to tales of enemas and Swiss clinics, etc. I'd like to think most readers stayed.

    One thing with blogs not yet cracked is the random but significant detail - that seemingly trivial piece of news in a side column that suddenly makes sense of something completely different. Newspapers have the breadth to be brilliant at this, but blogs hardly have it at all. Worse, the audience is self-selecting, so reducing its chances of finding that key detail. Hmmn ...

    Twitter and the social network sites are being eaten alive by the data-mining marketing boys, I suspect. Once folks make a connection between telling all on Twitter or Facebook and being rung up at 0830 on Sunday by some bozo trying to sell you double glazing then these sites may well be in trouble.

    Like others, I am very sorry to hear that one of your regulars committed suicide two weeks ago. I've no idea who and it's none of my business. But grim news, these things always are. I listened to music on bus back from London, thinking gloomy thoughts while staring at the traffic in the oncoming lanes. So many lights, rushing out of the darkness and then gone again.

  15. Brian "Blogs were born with the internet." I think not they are quiet a late development.

    Blogs are nothing like the online communities the grew up around FIDO Prestel Telecom Gold etc. They had there own online culture which was similar but quite distinct from Blog /weblog’s

    you might want to try reading cyber gypsies by Indra Singh

  16. I often get the feeling of stepping out of the toilet, and finding myself in the middle of the pitch at Yeovil FC. Nothing to do with blogging, just a recurrent nightmare.

  17. Neuromancer, agreed that Bryan's first paragraph - a whirlwind sketch of some very complicated socio-technical history - is not beyond criticism. But, as with the rest, the energy of the author and the insights he clearly wants to fast-forward to, overrode the pedant in me - and that, folks, is really saying something.

    I think the point about messages arising from the Net is in fact quite crucial. Sure, there were great social differences with blogs now. The web was designed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990 with interaction in mind and that surely should have got a mention. That's why I showed Tim the wiki idea in 1999, soon after I myself had discovered it. I was sure he'd be interested and he was. But blogs are very different now - socially, not technically - even than they were in 1999, when the book you recommend was published.

    I think of the one of the most famous programmers in the world, Donald Knuth, announcing in the last decade that he wasn't taking any more messages. He's been around and on the net pretty much from the start. Messages wasn't just email (something that Bryan should perhaps have mentioned in passing as the most fundamental application of the Net from day one). It was electronic messages of any kind. Letters on paper would still be read and replied to. Good old Don. Hope the cancer's still in retreat. But surely a good call, in that situation.

    In all of this I had much more problem with

    [Blogs] are the most successful, addictive, potent and radical application of all the new technologies and applications spawned by the personal computer.

    That's partly why I mentioned Alan Kay, one man seedbed for net-connected PC and laptop, on another thread. I'm not at all sure I buy this claim. But overstatement has merits, not the least being it can force you to evaluate something you wouldn't otherwise. I'm not sure at this moment which 'technologies and applications spawned by the personal computer' I would put ahead. My brain hurts and I sense the pain is good for me. I'm still grateful to Bryan for all of that.

    It's good to hear of Indra Singh again though. One of many chroniclers I didn't get around to. The number is bound to expand, especially as the Chinese get going. All power to every one of them. And to our gentle host.

  18. What the hell! You mean you DON"T know Bill Nighy?? What have I been doing here all this time???

    Malty, I'll be your Grannie any time. Come sit on my knee and tell me all about them thar hills you climb....

    I fear I'm not here much these days. Too damn busy working for a living, and also now addicted to Facebook, where I know pretty much everyone because I've met 'em in real life. But I do check in and this is a great post, Bryan.

    Hi, Maxine...Hope you got my last e-mail!

    PS: Which regular poster committed suicide? I did indeed miss that!

  19. Susan, unfortunately I don't know Bill but I am his double, hope your knee ain't boney.
    Sounds like things at the chalk face are hectic, chair and whip are the favoured weapons.

  20. Now that you have admitted to only contributing to the article i can no longer rage and rant at the inclusion of Jeffrey Archer, Paul Daniels and one or two other British showbiz/political hasbeens...

    You might have selected Diamond Geezer, Route 79, or Occupied Country.

    All three consistently excellent blogs.

    Although people create blogs in the sense of their original titles; Web Logs I suspect most blogs never get a passerby or comment in any case. Much as in my own...


  21. I blog the outstanding coincidences from my life at

    My blog is entitled Living The Dream.

    My Statcounter showed that at 7.20 a.m. on Feb 15th someone in Tokyo had put
    "Chess Dream-A"
    into a search engine.

    The 2nd and 3rd hits were of my site, but the 8th was -
    Thought Experiments : The Blog: Living the Dream
    - [ 翻译此页 ]It's as if she has awoken from a dream, a rather pleasant dream, ... (Why couldn
    't it have been chess, where I might have turned my obsession to account, ... - 27k -

    I was intrigued and followed the link to discover Bryan Appleyard´s Blog.
    I had no previous idea that he blogged.

    Amusedly I sent him this e mail of pretend annoyance -

    I note a Blog entry of yours of July 18th 2008 headed
    Living The Dream.

    You have stolen the title of my Blog!

    I shall write to The Times...


    The next day I look at The Times on line and see an article headed The 100 best blogs
    but with no clue from that to the author.

    I click on it and see it is by Appleyard -

    One more coincidence for my blog...


    sent 13.23 fEB 15TH.

  22. Well, at least I found yours and Nige's blogs from that article. The article, by the way was well done, but I don't know about most of those 100 blogs, wherever they came from. Some were interesting. In the Chinese sense.