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My Ass is a Weblog
Nov 22, 1999 :: Greg Knauss

Say what you want about the Web, it's got its enthusiasms. Twice a year or so, like clock-work, a new technology or paradigm sweeps over the face of the Internet, promising to transform not only the medium, but the very fabric of our lives. "It's revolutionary!" proponents shout. "It's amazing! It's the next New Thing!"

And, instead, it turns out to be, well, nothing. Given a few months in the sun, the next New Thing inevitably sags and wilts, either disappearing altogether or simply fading into the background of niche usage.

Push, personal narrative, virtual communities, technorealism, portals: all have flared into the public consciousness heralded with promises of greatness and all exist today as semi-interesting, semi-useful, semi-forgotten jokes. You can still find examples of most, of course -- it's hard to get away from the "portal" look -- but given the fireworks that accompanied their various births it's tough to approach at any of them without wrinkling your nose at the rank smell of hype gone bad.

Which makes the tumult that currently surrounds weblogs all that much more amusing. It's easy to be cynical, of course, but how can anyone not giggle into their sleeve when lists of links to the iBrator are described in terms that usually accompany the overthrow of a government?

Weblogs are a "revolution." They're "journalism." They're "art." They're, again and again, the next New Thing. To which the only possible response can be: come on, people.

This is not to say that weblogs aren't useful or fun. I read several every day, and have profited from the experience. I just love that Mahir guy.

But how can you not boggle at the level of self-delusion, of self-infatuation, it takes to declare that weblogs are going kill off traditional journalism? That the concept will be alive and well a decade from now? That weblog readership will increase a hundred-fold in that time? That they're an art form?

The only consolation a naysayer can find in all the current hubbub is that, inside of a year, the inevitable winnowing will be complete, and the weblog community will have matured into something efficient, useful and blessedly quiet. The remaining webloggers will go about their business, providing links and commentary, without all the noisy hoo-ha of revolution.

And the current maniacal enthusiasm will be thankfully buried, forgotten and unloved, next to every other next New Thing.

(Hey, 'bloggers! Linking to this piece? Be sure to use the permanent URL: And thanks for the traffic!)



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