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Monday, February 25, 2002

Blasting Blogging

John Dvorak has upped the ante on the blogging discussion with his latest article in PC. While the article is primarily a screed against The Cluetrain Manifesto, he gets in some extremely lame licks on the blogging phenmenon.

I have no interest in pushing his piece here, but the spirited discussion which directly follows it is definitely worth a visit. Plenty of witty commentary has been popping up all over bloggerdom--that alleged wasteland of amateurish drivel that Dvorak pretends to know something about.

Cults? He wouldn' t know one if it kicked him in the ass, which I wish one would. You may be full of shit, John, but we owe you for providing us with such an opportunity to have fun.

Acknowledgements, Continued

Regarding blogging inspiration, I need to acknowledge a couple of additional sources. First, the team bloggers at Reading Gonzo - - Engaged, a group blog that provides stimulating back-and-forth at its best. Additional kudos to Jeneane for putting it together and anchoring it. Are you two people, Jeneane? Such energy!

Nor do I want to forget Eric Norlin--perhaps a touch off the edge of the sanity scale, but, like Rageboy, crazy in all the right ways. Eric was one of my entrees into the universe of blogging. One day while surfing a few months ago, I came across a link to Titanic Deck Chair Rearrangement Corporation. How could you resist a link with a name like that?

After a visit, I started following his blog. From there, it was inevitable that I would end up with Gonzo and all the wonderful Locke-o-philes who put out some of the best blogs on the virtual planet. So thanks, Eric, for ushering me into this world.

We're not hearing as much from Eric these days. His CEOing has overtaken the blogging. More power to you, Eric. Feed your family and pay the staff. But we do miss your rants.

Pride Goeth Before the Fall

My wife Jill, a crackerjack psychotherapist, says Michele Kwan should have been seeing a sports psychologist.

"It's folly to try to do it all by yourself," Jill says.

Judging from Michele's disappointing performance, I'd say you're right, honey

Here Goes

I've been fussing around for two weeks trying to start this blog. There's no way to start it except to start it. So here I go. After all, David Weinberger, who's probably my biggest source of inspiration for this undertaking, has as the motto for his blog, "let's just see how it goes," which would suggest that he felt a twinge of doubt when he started out.

And look how David's turned out! Not that I'm in his league, of course. If mine should turn out to be one-tenth as good as Dr. W's, I would be thrilled. The point is, if you want to start a blog, just start it--and pick up the pieces later.

I've been fantasizing about putting together the perfect essay for an opening piece. Bullshit! If there's going to be a good piece, it will come when it comes. In the meantime, there's struggling with creating a new self--an expanded self. That's what I've concluded blogging--good blogging--is primarily about.

Acknowledging Jeneane
The possibility for creating a new self through blogging was opened up for me by Jeneane Sessum, who is my other primary source of inspiration. She and Dr. Weinberger had an exchange on this, which I presume got opened up when Dr.W asserted that "We are writing ourselves into existence on the Web. Together." This statement has since acquired a touch of renown and cachet--deservedly so--as a lot of blogs have been picking up on it.

But it was Jeneane--a fabulous writer who goes straight to the soul--who really made it possible for me to see the opportunity for self-expansion that lay ahead if I would take the plunge into serious blogging. She was also incredibly gracious and supportive in responding to my fan email. As was David. Thanks so much guys.

David's been shepherding a fabulous thread on voice and authenticity, which I won't attempt to recount--but here's a link to one of David's recapitulations. These discussions (is "discussion" the right word? "Blogthreading?" Do we need a new word?) . . .

Anyway, David and his amazing "threadmates" have precipitated my thinking quite a bit about the subject of inventing the self. "Inventing the self" sounds at first blush like an act of vanity and deception--the antithesis of authenticity. I would assert that inventing the self is a supreme act of personal responsibility. You're either creating it and putting it out there or you're operating at default self--i.e., without authenticity.

Default self is the sum of all that one has been. We tend to see this as what the self is, and it leaves us locked in to what we were. But true self, in my view, is created as a conscious act of existential will. And that's what I see as the promise of blogging. It feels uncomfortable at this point, but I'd really be down on myself if I didn't take it on. I may experience discomfort, but I sure as hell experience a lot more Aliveness when I'm wrestling with this attempt at self-creation.

Jeneane has examined this phenomenon with far more clarity and written about it far more movingly than I could. Check her out.


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