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It's a Family Affair

Tom at Plasticbag.orgLearning from Weblogs at Plasticbag.orgIf you give a crap about weblogs and what place they hold (or can hold) in the networked world, then you really ought to check out Tom's presentation (PowerPoint version, which is worth looking at.) Rather than hopping into any of the many debates now going on about the nature of weblogs — are they a new form of journalism? Are They viral marketing? Are they information filters? Are they pointless? — Tom discusses the aspect of weblogging that has always been the heart of it for me: weblogs as vehicles for the development of communities of writers and readers.

I always took it for granted that my online writings ("blogging," if you prefer) weren't as much about the end product as the process. Writing helps me write better and it helps me think more clearly. As much as I write for myself,though, I also write to start conversation with the people who read. The blogs I follow seem to have similar goals: I don't care as much about the subject matter itself (although that influences my overall opinion of a blog) as I do about the personality that comes through the writing. In the course of interacting with these varied personalities with varied writing interests of their own, my own awareness of ideas in the world expands. The hyperlinks in the blogs I read are much less important and interesting than the personal links that develop from my participation in the larger, more interesting culture that all the bloggers have grown into.

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