blogging the norm
There’s work at our department on a project on norms and standardisations, and four of us are doing ten minute intros on how our fields relate to this in the department seminar tomorrow. Of course my requested ten minutes will be about blogs and norms and standards.
There are dozens of angles on this. I could talk about how fast the weblog genre is changing, and how standards eternally play tag with reality. RSS, for instance, was designed for news sites five years ago and doesn’t completely work for weblogs, so a new set of “specifications for syndicating, archiving and editing episodic web sites”, Atom, is being collaboratively developed by bloggers themselves. I could talk about how TrackBacks were implemented by Moveable Type but have been made open enough that other tools can follow the same standard, and many have. I could talk about how a peculiarity of one blogging tool – linking the timestamp to a stable URL for an entry (permalink) – became an unwritten standard despite hardly being intuitive or good usability. I still use this convention out of habit, though I’ve noticed many others have moved on to more obvious permalinks.
I could take a different angle and talk about how blogging becomes an expectation, as in the US presidential campaign, where candidates are expected to have weblogs. Dean was first, I think (Blog for America, Generation Dean Blog, Wired interview the others followed course (Kerry, Edwards, Clark), now even Bush has one, though it’s more the form (frequently updated posts) than the spirit (personal, subjective) of the weblog you see there. I could mention academics who’ve complained that they don’t want blogs but hate that their voices, because unblogged, are ignored by blogging colleagues.
Either angle could last for my allotted ten minutes. I think I’ll see what the others say and speak accordingly. Collecting a few links in advance never hurts, though.