Good writing. Personal viewpoints. That’s what its all about. Tom Caotes’ A Horseless Carriage provides a well written, personal perspective on the evolution of weblogs, but he writes not strictly about the history, and more on a broader definition
This means that whatever you’re planning to use weblogs for, then you’ll fid them most naturally useful if you keep the individual at the heart of the enterprise. That means if you’re interested in knowledge management, or in community generation or in using them for publishing or whatever, then you should keep that idea of an individual voice at the centre of your thinking…
But it’s all got to be about the individual. And my preferred way of expressing that is that a weblog is a representation of a person. I think that’s behind all of the definitions that people came up with before. I think that’s the core principle that stands behind the idea that a weblog is a journal, or that they’re collections of links that I’ve seen on the web or that they’re space for an individual to undertake a new form of journalism, etc. etc…
And my contention – to bring us right back to the beginning – is that all of those statements (“A weblog is a kind of diary”) are kind of like saying that “A car is a horseless carriage”. For years we had to descrive cars by reference only to things that had come before, but we don’t need to do that any more. Enough time has passed that we can describe a car without talking about its origins or its analogues – without talking about things that are kind of like it. Now we can start to conceive of a car without thinking of horses and suspension and traps and carriages.
So the point (I surmise) is that at some point soon, we will not have to describe weblogs by referring to something similar, because there will be enough experience and familiarity with them to just refer to a “blog” and people have a built in definition (personal one).
It’s similar to the transition where in the mid 1990s we had to refer to this as the “World Wide Web” and we had notions of “Information Highways” (see my early sarcasm) and or “Networked Encyclopedias”… now we can just say “the web” (without quotes) and people know what it is.
By way of serendipity.. I came here from RSs reader to Ben Hammersley’s Simple is the New Black… citing how he and Coates’ Plastic Bag are retro-designing their web sites to simplicity. Maybe it will go as far as grey pages and blue links only?