Daily Planet on Berkeley Bloggers

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).

Music: Kid Koala :: Drunk Trumpet

4 Replies to “Daily Planet on Berkeley Bloggers”

  1. “Reverse chron” is still chronological order, just like sorting Z-A is still alphabetical order. “Sorted by subject” or “sorted by title” or “sorted by whim” would be true opposites of “reverse chron”.

    There are also a couple of blogs that sort days by reverse chron, but posts by forward chron — so multiple posts in one day sort forwardly, but the days read backward. Can’t remember where I saw this, but I saw it.

  2. I understand Richards need to define the term blog for the sake of newbies, but why so many bloggers feel it is important to create a definition drives me nuts. I think the definitions begin to stiffle what people do with their blogs.

    It seems 99% of blogs are nearly indistinguishable. The 1% that interest me have little resemblance to any blog definition I have ever read.

  3. ah, journalism. A fine example of exhaustive investigative reporting, consisting of one phone call to you, never tracking down Paul, and an hour on the web. Not that I knock your credentials, you know wherof you speak, but you could have fed him just about any line and it would become the BDP gospel, for that day. Guess it’s just good you weren’t misquoted.

    I find it kind of fascinating that the city of Berkeley mirrors so much of the BDP content.
    Not that I’m feeling cynical today.

  4. though it’s true that most weblogs are created via automated publishing tools, you’ll never hear me argue that as a necessary part of the definition: I still update my own site by hand.

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