To blog or not to blog

Today we have the best Threequels of all time. Before you go one over, try to guess what they are. If you can't come up with five off the top of you head...hang that head in shame.

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I don’t look down on bloggers. Well, let me truthfully amend that. I don’t look down on bloggers now.

When I started the Hyperion Chronicles in 2000, it was an email column sent to friends and family. Heck, I didn’t even have a name for it. (No one is sure how the name came about, but Koz is positive that he came up with it in early 2002.)

If I had to do it all over again, I think I’d have gotten on the web immediately. I wonder, how different would my life be now? Maybe I’d have made a name for myself and had a book published or something. Sometimes the waste almost sickens me.

Anyway, I built up an impressive email list, which I had to replace several times; first when my lap top was stolen in 2001, and then when my computer crashed in 2003. In 2005 I did the sabotaging on purpose. Jason Jones (go over and say hi; tell him I sent you) convinced me that I had no excuses to be on the net.

Previously I had started a venture with a friend who wanted to put my columns online, and it didn’t work out very well. Maybe that soured me. That’s just an excuse, though. I don’t know what my problem was. (Welcome to my entire life!)

Jason told me that with the software out there, it was easy to get online, even for a total idiot such as I. He told me to try Blogger, as theirs was among the easiest to use.

To back up for a moment, I had only heard the word “blog” a few months before. (In case you don’t know, and I bet some of you don’t, blog is a portmanteau of web+log.) I didn’t really understand what blog meant. I’m not sure I still do.

What I was sure of was that my column—by this point expanded to HyperionX and MovieHype, was most definitely not a blog. These weren’t my everyday thoughts and feelings on life. This was my professional work, at least that was the goal.

Most columns were well researched, had several drafts, even end notes. The fiction was just as lovingly crafted. Blogs, on the other hand, lend themselves to a “think it post it” mentality. More like an IM conversation with the world than a journalistic piece.

Jason scoffed and told me it didn’t matter. I was just using the software; what I did with it was up to me. Besides; I could always change later.

He was wrong on both counts. When I gave out my address people naturally assumed I had a blog. I remember playing Wizard online and telling people about my column. Several people in the game were getting excited, and one finally asked me my address. Slightly cringing I gave it.

“Oh.” Came the reply. “You’re a blogger.”

“I am not a blogger!” I replied, going on to tell him all the myriad things I do. It didn’t matter. The guy worked at a “real” paper, and seeing blogspot told him everything he needed to know.

This happened many times, to the point where I as embarrassed to reveal my address. On the flipside, moving over to another domain was no easy task. Even if I could afford it (chancy at best), there are two pretty big obstacles. One is the software. Blogger makes it relatively easy. Without I might have to know something technological, and we all know how much I suck at that. Secondly, it was a Herculean task to get all my columns and movie reviews and HyperionXs up, and to redo everything, including links, just seemed too much.

So I’ve done the best with it. My oldest sister accuses me of going blog crazy, with a new site for everything you can think of. (And she might be right, as there are currently 4 more sites waiting in the wings. Although, to be fair, two of them are group efforts, and one of them is a web comic.) I got over the embarrassment for the most part, since there are more important things to worry about.

But I still resisted the idea that I had a blog.

What helped me the most was getting involved in the Carnival of the Mundane. Here I met other writers, I guess you could call them (sigh) bloggers. It was my first real experience with blogs. I started with Neil’s Citizen of the Month, and quickly a whole new world opened up. I met all sorts of people who had interesting things to say and write and feel and do, and my perception of what a blog was went out the window.

True, there are still teenage girls out there who just spew whatever goes into their head. There are others with brilliant thoughts; thoughts I’m glad I got to read. And yes, blogging still does lend itself to quicker posting than an article or column, but what’s wrong with that? Sometimes that can be a good thing.

So, all of this is a (really long-winded) way of saying I have decided to get a blog of my own. Some would argue that Monkey Barn functions the closest to a blog of any of my sites, but ever since I let contributors in the inmates have been running the asylum, and it wouldn’t feel right.

Unlike my other sites, there won’t be links on the homepage whenever I post. In fact, I doubt I’ll ever mention it again. The Hyperion Institute is here to inform and entertain, but my blog will be more of a personal thing. I hope.

Anyway, it’s up. Feel free to take a look.

1 comment:

kapgar said...

You should check and see if Blogger allows domain mapping. It would allow you to register a legitimate URL and have it tied to your Blogger account. I have my own URL and I know Typepad allows mapping, I just haven't done it yet. Too much other stuff on my old domain that needs to be cleaned up before I do this. And I need to change hosts. Yahoo is not making this easy.