You blog alone… that’s the point!

Alan totally totally gets it, nails it on a board and wags at it. Several times.

What I hope to get at by the end of this ramble is how, to me, in my opinion, this is not a universal rule… the power and enticement of blogging is the sense of ownership of a place of your own making. You own it, it is a reflection, sometimes fun house mirror distorted, of yourself. It is what the storytellers refer to as “finding your voice” (and using it). You are an editorial board of one, and the review process is instantaneous…

Absolutely, yes, thrice yes… this is why it’s centred communication, this is why group blogs suck in education, this is why he is totally totally right in that “we should not overlook the value and power of ownership of personal spaces” and this is the whole frickin’ point of the matter: PERSONAL PRESENCE!!!!!!!!!!!!

The funny thing is that, the more I write, the more I come back to what I’ve written… this is the first post I ever posted, and guess what… it’s going on about the same thing!

Oh, and I should add that nobody… *nobody*… has ever asked me to guest blog… :(

And Many2Many has been crap ever since Clay stopped writing, just sub to Ross Mayfield instead.

Unless they want me of course, I have the quasi-academic leanings… the social softwareology… the booming project… the crowd pleasing antics… the… oh, sod it ;)

10 replies on “You blog alone… that’s the point!”

  1. Blogging alone has its place as does blogging as a group. They are two different contexts for two different types of experiences.

    Your fervor is easily mistaken for myopia.

    Perhaps that’s why you haven’t been invited to guest blog.

    Get a grip, man ;)

  2. But the point is that we’re all myopic, when it comes to the crunch, that’s what aggregation is about!

    Long live myopia… stuff everyone else!

  3. Pingback: John @ Sandaig
  4. Dear James,

    The post from Alan you refer to reminds me of a post ( ) by Lee Lefever about the differences between weblogs and message boards: one of the main differences being the locus of control. Weblogs can be characterized as being centralized and personal, says Lee. Group or community blogs could be considered resembling message boards. But Lee also talked about the possible blending of different functionalities and elaborates this in another post ( ). This functional blending is already partly taking place with the development of personal wiki’s (like tiddlywiki) and groupblogs. Nothing wrong with some cross-fertilization. Personal presence on the web is not about weblogs, personal presence is about identity and voice. Let’s not forget that, although being personal, a blog is also a conversational tool that supports dialogue and discourse. Any (technical) means that supports the creation of identity and voice is part of the pile or stack that is referred to as social software. Or as Lee puts it: “The addition of a weblog is more than adding a new tool to the community, it is adding a new way of communicating. With a different format, locus of control, voice, etc. it adds something completely new to the mix, which can help members understand why it’s needed, why it’s different and what it’s for.“ So blogs become part of the mix. “Rip, mix and burn” or “rip, mix and mashup”: sounds familiar.

    Being the most (?) efficient, userfriendly tool for personal publishing (but maybe only for the time being), the big challenge, or one of the major hurdles as stated by Jim McGee in 2002, for every blogger is developing his or her own voice ( In 2003 Lilia Efimova, who did some major research on blogging, already stated for corporate blogs that: “Weblog tools can be used to support organisational processes as any other tools, but then we risk loosing advantages of weblogs as personal voices.” ( So there’s nothing wrong in using blogs as a management tool for example, they’re just being used for a different purpose on the basis of other advantages than building voice.

    Blogging with the intention to communicate, to be heard and keeping the audience in mind could therefore never means that one blogs alone. The possibility of comments and trackbacks prove Alan wrong, for every student who wouldn´t use or reflect upon the reactions and review of his peers and teachers really does not blog well with others. In this respect I think that uses of blogs, merely as a convenient corporate tool to serve different purposes than social or personal presence and voice, are on the other hand not even worth discussing from a social perspective.

    What comes to mind also is that the posts I am referring to above (posted between 2002 and 2004) are from people who certainly have developed a voice but who seem to have not been heard. For some of us blogs seem to be a perfect tool to make tacit knowledge more explicit. But that is only one part of the story. Making this explicit ´knowledge´ the wisdom of crowds needs something more. In that respect I am also very charmed by another series of Lee’s posts. In these posts he compares wiki’s, blogs and a lot of other tools and elaborates on a similarity with the terms stock and flow. Reflecting on these three posts himself he even calls it “a framework that can be used to describe social tools” (

    If we don’t come to a certain understanding on the social function of blogs, wiki’s etc. we can keep blogging about it repeatedly without noticing that although technology advances our understanding of it doesn’t.

  5. Wow Paulo… you certainly need a blog! Consider this a personal invite to

    I agree with almost everything you’re saying, except (and again rather myopically… new favourite word)

    -Personal wikis are not worth the bytes that make them up, I mean, they’re a step towards our online office / repository but really & truly, what’s the point?

    -Yes we use blended tools in the same way that we use different buildings, forms of transport etc. but rarely does someone say “Let’s stop considering the bicycle”… sometimes I feel that this conversation gets trapped under a pile of function rather than form where in a Macluen-esque way here function often dictates form.

    -Finally, and more philosophically, we are all individuals – we are born alone, live alone and die alone… the problem the net has always had is that it tries to focus us on the community, the unreal spaces between people. These exist, of course, and we can describe them but they exist simply because we are individuals. We try to design and imagine the undesignable (and largely unimaginable – see your nearest towerblock for an example) when we have these creamy dreams of community, community can only be facilitated and constructed by individuals… this is where blogs are FAR more than just another element to the mix / pile / stack.

    And yeh, I’ve got a lot of respect for Lee & Lilia, have been reading them both for years, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with them ;)

  6. Dear James,

    Thanks for the invitation for joining but I have already got an account. Remember: I tipped you on the location of xmlrpc.php!

    For as my bloggingactivities are concerned, I`m not that kind of a regular blogger (do some minor blogging in dutch) who feels the need to join the myriad of voices out there. I read a lot of blogs though and whenever I feel the urge react on them. My interest in modern webbased tools for learning and collaborating is purely professional. I`m just trying to get people (educators and staff) in our institution interested in the possibilities of blogging.

    When you say that we are individuals I agree completely. Only the Borg collective would object to this. It are the contributions of individuals that make up viable communities.

    I also object to the idea that we should design or only strive to imagine anything similar to communities on the net. The internet has become a part of society that extends to learning and working as well as just being (creating persona and narrowcasting one’s voice) and socializing (communitybuilding). The possibilities of the internet are endless and should be explored without any bias be it the development of learning networks or personal learning environments. It is all about expressing oneself (ideas, beliefs and values), being part of the wisdom of crowds (understood in the way Dave Pollard wrote about it) and being the sole person that decides about which way to go (understood in the “way of the craftsman” as Jim McGee wrote about it). The power of blogs also lies in the opportunity of exploration and eventually backtracking to a former position, when hindsight comes in. So I don`t judge any myopic argument, because in my opinion hindsight is always better than foresight. The interesting thing of reading blogs and mining blogarchives is the way you can see ideas and opinions, beliefs and values developing and changing over time.

    Maybe it’s time for some real websociologists to enter the discussion.

  7. wot, we’re not real websociologists… bugger, you’ve broken my well-constructed cover ;)

  8. ouch, Paulo & James you make my head hurt with your commentary.

    However the simple fact is you are right James (again) blogging is about personal presence and that is it.

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