Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What is a Blog?

I swear to God, with a straight face she sat there at the dinner table with me, looked me right in the eye, and asked me: What is a blog?
by Charlie Leck

I’m not kidding she really did.

We dined on Monday evening with and at the home of two of the most wonderful people we know – a couple with whom we enjoy sitting and chatting about this and that and everything. They both have incredible educations and experiences to draw upon and they have marvelous, expansive minds. Last night, as usual, the conversations were wonderful.

Part of the joy of being with them is sitting their home. The living room, or drawing room as she calls it, has one solid wall of books and another wall is half covered with books. Their living room/dining room combination has two long walls with books from floor to ceiling. I’m comfortable in a place like that and I'm put immediately at ease. Here, where I now write, I am surrounded by shelves of book on every side, interrupted only occasionally by a door or window. I can hunker-down here and worries, troubles and anxieties leave me and I am in a state of spiritual bliss.

So, last night, she wanted to know how to find my blog and she was prepared to write it (the URL) out. Instead I promised to send along an email with a link to it. She has an email account at the University and a computer to use there. He, though a distinguished business attorney in Minneapolis, doesn’t have or use a computer. I’m not kidding here! He doesn’t! I told you these are special people – out of the ordinary and wonderful to be around.

Then, sitting there at dinner, enjoying a wonderful keish and a fresh, fresh green salad, with a splendid glass of white wine, she asked me a question that knocked me for a loop. Really! It did.

“What is a blog?”

She was straight-faced and serious about it, looking me right in the eye and anticipating a direct, clear reply.

“Well,…” and I babbled on, really at a loss for a clear and technical definition. I could only spin out examples that really didn't answer the question. It was as if someone had asked me to define “mud” and all I could do was cup my hands together and say: “You know, a bunch of yucky dirt that is all wet, but not too wet, and it’s sticky and mucky and stuff.”

So, I came home and sat here in my little, private library, surrounded by my books and I began thinking about it. And, in the quiet calmness, with time, I began remembering.

That’s where the word comes from. It’s a conglomeration! It’s a contraction! It’s a breeding together of the two words – web and blog – to form blog!

“You know, dear, how folks used to write – I mean, by hand, using a pen and ink and all – a journal or diary. Well, a blog is like that. It’s a journal you are willing to share with other folks who might be interested in coming along to read it.”

Now, with that soliloquy, her eyes may have brightened up instead of growing gray with the incoming fog of my failed explanation last night.

"Well, I mean, I began my blog as a journal for my grandchildren. I had no idea it would get out of hand and soon I would be raving and raging like a madman about matters political. Who was to know I would end up screaming about injustice and cruelty and calling elected officials idiots? Who knew?"

The wonder of the web – the deliriously mysterious world wide web – is that any old guy, sitting in his library, surrounded by his books, can now become a social commentator and political opinionator. I can testify to that; for I am one!

“Blogs can be about a million things,” I told her last night. Her eyes were still clouded over.

I mean, now, sitting here, I understand what I wanted to say. There are blogs about photography and needlepoint. A zillion of them are about cooking and food. Some are only about baseball. There are fashion blogs, music blogs, art blogs and education blogs. There are blogs about dreams or home gardening. Some blogs are strictly personal – perhaps written just for one's own family and about family matters. Then, there are corporate blogs, just for members of a company or firm.

Some blogs can be accessed by anyone and some blogs are blocked and open only to specified people.

If you want to find a blog of a particular nature, it’s not difficult – just go ahead and google or bing the topic and specify that you are looking for blogs – like, I mean, ask for “blogs about geckoes.”

There are millions of blogs out there right now – we call it the blogosphere! Some of them have a few readers and some of them have millions of devoted fans.

I’ve heard historians talk about the immense pool of information that will be available for future historians of our own time. There will be billions of pages of information to wade through instead of millions. Some of it will be rich and some kind of yucky – clear as, you know, mud, which I defined for you earlier.

Want to see some wonderful examples of blogging? Here’s a few that you might find entrancing or intriguing:

An intellectual blog: Stanley Fish
Fish is a professor of humanities and law at Florida International University. He formerly taught at the University of Chicago and at the University of California (Berkely). He’s authored more than a dozen books. One of those books I have here in my library (
How to Write a Sentence).

Want to see the other end of the spectrum? Dead Frog!
This purports to be a comedy blog. You can see a lot of yucky stuff here! You know,
real mud!

Or, would you like to see a list of the top 25 business law blogs out there on the web. The LexisNexis Community , a well respected organization, lists these.

Take a look at a tough talking, frank, lay it on the line blog called The Daily Beast
You’d better have some hippy type bones in your old body to go and look at this one.

Or, how about a blog from a just-plain-old-guy from Cleveland who spins out common sense thinking by the barrel… From Tony’s Keyboard
I read every single posting and enjoy his downright sensible way of thinking.

There now!
That’s all I can tell you about blogging. Why have I posted over a thousand blogs? It’s more difficult to answer
that than to define what blogging is. I guess I must just plain enjoy it.


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1 comment:

  1. Just when I'm down in the dumps and wondering whether I'm whisting dixie with this blog stuff and considering calling it quits, along comes your post. Thanks for your perspectve on blogging.