Richard Brenneman of the Berkeley Daily Planet surprised me at work recently with a phone call, wanted to discuss blogging for a piece he was working on. We had a meandering conversation for twenty minutes or so. Talked about blogging as a general phenomenon, about the kinds of sites the J-School is driving out of Movable Type, and about Berkeley blogs in particular. Talked about birdhouse a bit. When the article ran, (mirrored at City of Berkeley) I was amazed to see that he had devoted several column inches (are there such things as column inches on the web? what if you resize the browser window?) to birdhouse.
Hacker runs one the city’s most sophisticated personal blogs …
Whoa! Generous complement, but I’d hardly describe this random, free-for-all braindump style as “sophisticated.” It was weird to see some of the ways that bits of what I thought were casual conversation became factoids in the piece, like my comment on LiveJournal’s largely teen audience still counting as blogging.
My strongest quibble was with definition: I had said that I agree with Rebecca Blood in saying that the only core defining characteristic of the weblog is “reverse chron via automated publishing tools.” Brenneman re-quoted “reverse chron” as “chronological order,” which I felt was a reversal of meaning (he said in a later exchange that he felt that context made the meaning clear).
He did dig up a very nice cross-section of Berkeley Blogs, though one could of course point to lots of great East Bay blogs he missed (and to be accurate, birdhouse isn’t based in Berkeley, despite my workplace).