I’d read people’s thought about Andrew Sullivan’s “Why I Blog“, an essay for The Atlantic magazine.
If you’re a blogger, or you seriously want to understand more about why some people devote so much time and energy to writing in this format, you must must must read it.
It’s the most elegant and accurate longer-format discussion of why this still evolving medium is so precious and powerful I’ve yet read.
Unlike any single piece of print journalism, its borders are extremely porous and its truth inherently transitory. The consequences of this for the act of writing are still sinking in.
The essay begins by going back to the roots of the word, to the ship’s log and how it was used to progress of a vessel through a voyage. All about the journey you see. He then goes on to explain blogging’s strengths and how it makes him a better writer (and therefore thinker).
Here’re some choice excerpts…
On its revolutionary nature:
It was obvious from the start that it was revolutionary. Every writer since the printing press has longed for a means to publish himself and reach—instantly—any reader on Earth.
On keeping a blog moving (I know how dangerous it is to pause):
…as Matt Drudge told me when I soughtadvice from the master in 2001, the key to understanding a blog is to realize that it’s a broadcast, not a publication. If it stops moving, it dies. If it stops paddling, it sinks.
And more on blocks:
You can’t have blogger’s block. You have to express yourself now, while your emotions roil, while your temper flares, while your humor lasts. You can try to hide yourself from real scrutiny, and the exposure it demands, but it’s hard. And that’s what makes blogging as a form stand out: it is rich in personality.
On writing in networks:
The blogger can get away with less and afford fewer pretensions of authority. He is—more than any writer of the past—a node among other nodes, connected but unfinished without the links and the comments and the track-backs that make the blogosphere, at its best, a conversation, rather than a production.
On the intimacy of reading someone’s blog:
You feel as if you know bloggers as they go through their lives, experience the same things you are experiencing, and share the moment. When readers of my blog bump into me in person, they invariably address me as Andrew. Print readers don’t do that. It’s Mr. Sullivan to them.
And if you like that… Here’s a video where Andrew Sullivan entitled catchily “Your Brain on Blogs”: