Ed Bilodeau

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This weblog had moved: http://www.coolweblog.com/bilodeau/

# Notice (Oct 19/05): So ends my stay here on Blogger. This morning Google implemented an anti-spam 'feature' that forces me to answer a challenge phrase when I want to post to my own blog. No notice of the change, nothing. Worse is that it doesn't even work! I type the phrase, submit, "An error occured", post deleted. Damn you, Google. Chances are I will revive my blog somewhere else, sometime soon. I'll post the new coordinates here as soon as they become available. (BTW, I'm unable to post anything to my RSS stream, so I'd appreciate it if readers could spread the word and ask people to take a look at this notice)

Update (Oct 19/05, ~noon): After a frustrating few hours (and not just trying out alternatives to Blogger), I've decided that this is a good time to take a break from all this. A day? A week? Who knows. But I need to step away from it before I pass a heavy magnet over the whole mess.

Update 2: According to this post, the reason I'm seeing the CAPTCHA (challenge phrase) is that Blogger has classified my blog as spam. Thanks. User for five years and now I'm spam. I searched the Blogger site, but there is no mention of how to get the spam flag turned off. There is also no way of contacting anyone at Blogger. Wow. Spam they say I am, so spam I must be. Maybe it is time to take a break.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Most weblogs are public forms of self-expression. It is important to keep this in mind, both as an author and as a reader, when trying to evaluate the quality and value of any given weblog.
Conceptually, the weblog is a format, a form of media. There is nothing about a weblog that constrains the content in any meaningful way. People are free to publish more or less whatever they like. So trying to talk collectively about weblogs is a bit like trying to generalize about books: it doesn't make much sense.

It does happen often, however, mostly because weblogs today have, overall, a certain character. The majority of weblogs are created by people who are taking advantage of inexpensive/free tools to express themselves in a public or semi-public way. They are not thinking about audience, in that they are not writing their content to meet the needs of a specific audience. They may want readers, but not people who are looking for useful information or a useful service. Rather, they are interested in people who are interested in them for what they have to say, for who they are.

Family and friends are the most natural audience, and I'm guessing, for the majority of weblogs, the primary audience. Having a weblog can also help you to meet people online, to make new acquaintances, new friends. Maybe it was because of something you wrote, a picture you posted. Maybe it was something you did on another site, in a discussion forum for example, and the person linked back to your weblog and found it interesting. Or maybe it was someone you met offline, and who googled you and liked what they saw. However it happens, your weblog connects you to others.

A lot of what you read about weblogs, about finding an audience, developing a readership, generating revenue, etc applies only to a very, very small number of people. Most of us should really be spending our time elsewhere, living our lives and perhaps, occasionally, reflecting on and sharing our thoughts and experiences with others through the words and images we post to our blogs.