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January 03, 2003

here a blog, there a blog

Time, I think, to draw your attention to Snail Musings, which has been on my blogroll for a few weeks. I can't succintly describe the theme of this careful pan through the web in search of occasional tiny particles of the philosophically transcendant. And the author appears to wish to remain anonymous, which inhibits me from writing about my personal reaction to the blog.

The other exciting new blog is of course that of Samuel Pepys. "If the diarist Samuel Pepys were alive today, he may well have used the web to record his thoughts", explained the BBC. Well, indeed, and we would have been much the poorer for it. Most political diarists do write with a view to the possibility of eventual publication, but I think it's safe to say that if Pepys had known his diary was being published instantly, it would have been very different.

Just as Pepys was publishing his first online diary entry, so Lucy Huntzinger was writing her last. The archive is still there, though. Although Lucy's diary was always intended for publication, she started it at a time when writing online was scarcely more public than writing in a fanzine. There was no particular reason to suspect, for example, that your future employers would investigate your online persona as part of any recruitment process, that your ex-partner might seek out your fan fiction, or that grubbing through the personal detritus of your colleagues would be a standard Friday afternoon trope.

The last of my houseguests, Green Amber, explained cheerfully that privacy was dead, and complained that nobody ever linked to individual LiveJournals. This was all during a chill out and detox day on which we didn't quite drink our own weight in half-price Tesco Vina Mara Rioja Reserva. She also gave me the first book I've read in 2003, Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson. Of course, cookbooks scarcely count as reading 'cos you don't really do it cover to cover, and you've not properly read a cookbook till you've cooked out of it, and despite Nigella's cheerful protestations, I'm buggered if I'm going to cook seared tuna salads in the darkest days of winter. Nevertheless, I'm counting that as 1.

My New Year's Resolution, you see, is that I'm going to borrow Maureen Kincaid Speller's practice of keeping not just a note of which books she's read, but also which she's started. Do I really leave so many books half-finished? I have two on the go at present; Daniel Deronda, and The Lord of the Rings. Just call me media-tie-in girl. The Eliot is my current e-text; much more compact on the Clié than in a book. And I do not intend to become one of these people who reads LOTR every year. But having seen The Two Towers, I am struck by a desire to read about nobility.

Posted by Alison Scott at January 3, 2003 08:05 PM

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Oh yes and it's SO difficult to work out who Snail Ramblings is... Wel at least we know why he doesn't write much on LJ now..

Posted by: green amber at January 7, 2003 08:56 PM

Hmm, yus, I think I too have nutted it out. With my cosmic brane.

Certainly one to add to the look-at-regular-like list.

Maybe your reactions could be disguised in a fmz article?

Posted by: Damien Warman at January 7, 2003 08:56 PM

Aren't weblogs and online diaries very different animals? Admittedly I've never looked at large numbers of either but my impression is the latter are self-written while the former are quoting others. If this is true then lumping the apples and oranges together and labelling them oranges seems a trifle careless.

Privacy is dead? it might be more accurate to say people love to parrot soundbites.

Posted by: Kim Huett at January 7, 2003 08:57 PM

I don't believe that weblogs and online diaries are so very different, in fact. Most of the best of both seem to blur the boundaries in any case.

Posted by: Alison Scott at January 7, 2003 08:58 PM

Well, I'd always thought weblogs and online diaries were different -- even though, like Kim Huett, I don't look at them very often. But do you perhaps mean that while they were once very different in their approaches, the distinction is blurring because the old definitions are breaking down with the passage of the ages? (Bearing in mind that an internet age is about as long as a month, if that.)

Posted by: Joseph Nicholas at January 14, 2003 05:01 PM

I think people mean different things by them. But many online journals link to stuff, and many weblogs include some personal diarising. So yes, the distinctions are blurred, but not because of the passing of ages, more because people don't fit neatly into categories.

Posted by: Alison Scott at January 14, 2003 11:29 PM

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