What is a blog?

Or, more specifically, what is my blog?

Blog is short for Web log. From the moment I discovered blogging — back in September 2004, I think it was — I’ve always thought of a blog as a sort of online journal. A place to write about the things I think and do. A way of recording them for the future and sharing them with others who might either think or do similar things or find my thoughts and actions interesting.

That’s what my blog is and always has been: an online journal.

Bloggers have been getting a lot of press lately. Especially political bloggers. I just read “Not Just Another Column on Blogging,” by Jack Shafer on Slate.com. In that piece, he discusses several things that have changed the newspaper industry. Blogging, he argues, is one of them.

From his article:

Michael Kinsley made me laugh a decade ago when he argued against Web populists replacing professional writers, saying that when he goes to a restaurant, he wants the chef to cook his entree, not the guy sitting at the next table. I’m not laughing anymore: When there are millions of aspiring chefs in the room willing to make your dinner for free, a least a hundred of them are likely to deal a good meal. Mainstream publishers no longer have a lock on the means of production, making the future of reading and viewing anybody’s game.

The problem, it seems, is finding the 100 capable of making a good meal. Fortunately, I don’t spend enough time surfing the Web to sample the available offerings. (And I hope you don’t, either. There are far better ways to waste time.)

Anyway, this isn’t me that he’s talking about. My blog may state political opinions, but it does not attempt to replace reporters, who I still try to trust to report the truth. Some of my blog entries are rehashings of the “truth” that I’ve heard or read, filtered through my brain, which includes personal experiences and preferences.

Again, from the top: my blog reports the things I think and do. It should not be used as a primary source of information for anything. (Does that sound like a legal disclaimer? Kind of eerie, if you ask me.)

Also, my blog has never been a way to gain popularity with readers or site visitors. In fact, some of my viewpoints are very unpopular with certain subsets of people. But this blog isn’t an entry in some kind of popularity contest. It’s my way to exercise the free speech I’m granted in the U.S. Consitution. (The same Constitution that has been in the news a lot lately.)

I’m also not trying to convince people who don’t agree with me on issues to agree with me. I hope that people will think about the things I write here, even when they don’t agree with me. After all, I think about most things I hear and read. That’s how my opinions come about. I don’t just echo the sentiments of others.

(I also hope that people think. Period. I’m so tired of talking to people who echo the thoughts of others.)

In general, I don’t care if others agree or disagree with me. I’d love to read (and share) rational, well-thought-out arguments from both sides. That’s what the Comments links are for. (Duh.) Just don’t get nasty. Nasty doesn’t get deleted. Nasty remains online to show the world just how immature some people can be.

Anyway, this entry was brought about primarily by reading Mr. Shafer’s article today and thinking about how my blog doesn’t fit into what is quickly becoming the definition of a blog: an amateur’s attempt at serious journalism.

This isn’t journalism. It’s my diary. I just don’t keep it locked up.

And heck, no one is forcing you to read it.

What do you think?