Ask Zompist: Blogs vs. non-blogs

The days of creating personal Web sites with static HTML are over. Instead, people blog. As the creator of, what do you think of this change?

[To consider: ease of use for creators and readers, juxtapose each’s methods for organizing content, does old blog content get “lost” in deep time, blog interlinking creates a “vast but shallow” present, how does each technology facilitate stumbling upon the unexpected]

Mark Irons

Blogs are a neat example of the power of an incremental improvement in UI.  I used to write my rants pages in raw HTML— not a huge task, but coupled with having to update the change page and RSS feed and upload the files, and being limited to one computer, it was just enough of a hassle that I’d normally skip it.  WordPress makes it just easy enough.  (Except when it messes up paragraphs.  I hate that.)

Similarly, though I have my doubts about Wikipedia, I love MediaWiki.  It makes it much much easier to provide a lot of background information on Almea.

But there’s plenty of things on that don’t fit into either format: the culture tests, the LCK, the comics and stories, references like the numbers list, the longer articles and editorials. 

As for the content considerations you mention, I think blogs work best for short thoughts and reactions that don’t build on each other (except in a narrative way).  It’s a little too early to play curmudgeon and complain that the kids today don’t have the patience to read long web pages.  Longer articles are still better for treating a subject in more depth, and for that matter there are still uses for dead trees.