September 5, 2003 22:52 | WebBlogging

Please weblog

I want everyone to blog. More importantly I want people who could be considered as "the crazy ones" to blog.

I have found myself recently trying to explain what blogging is and have come to realise it is a hopelessly silly task. "Online journal" makes most people scrunch up their nose, while "connected intelligence" makes them scratch their heads. Besides, the Content Management Systems which make blogging possible are versatile enough already that a weblog is whatever you want it to be. Or rather, whatever you want to put in it.

So yeah, I want some folks with really important things to say to blog as well. I am not say there aren't any, nor am I saying the "A-list" bloggers and current super stars of blogging aren't saying anything interesting (to the contrary). I am saying we need more. Much more.

Ok we now have two U.S. presidential candidates sort of blogging. Big deal. While a good thing in itself, I can't help but smell hidden agendas and "riding the trend" mind-sets.

No, I want the real deal.

I want , for example, Michael Moore to blog. I want Noam Chomsky to blog. David Suzuki should blog. I want every truly outspoken, vocal and already known "crazy person" to blog.

Why you may ask? These people already publish, appear on TV, make movies, etc. Why blog?

For example, again, let's take folks like Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky. Reading Chomsky or Moore, you get what they are trying to put across (as best you can). They package it up into a nice text and present it to you. Fantastic. Great stuff. Whether you agree with them or not, it is truly a wonder of the 15th century that we can disseminate information like this. ;)

If Chomsky and Moore where active bloggers, we could share in their insights in real time. They could share glimpses of the tons of research they do everyday, filtered through their inimitable styles. Would this hurt book sales? Surely not as we'd all get addicted to their byte-sized blog doses. Many of us would run out and buy copies just to see how they stitch it all together, again in their inimitable styles.

(There are of course issues with this. Comments and Trackbacks would more than likely be turned off due to the unfortunate reality of hate mail, etc. People in the public eye sadly must buffer themselves sometimes.)

A great example is Lawrence Lessig (Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, Founder of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, Author of The Future of Ideas and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, Chair of the Creative Commons project...). An active blogger, his personal coverage of his struggle against such things as Copyright misuse, media conglomeration, etc, has galvanized a huge group of people who'd otherwise never have heard of the issues (as Chomsky would say "thinking they must be alone in thinking something is wrong and thus not acting), into a dedicated and active community, pushing for change.

Are you listening Mr. Chomsky? Your books are great; your tireless lecturing, very important. There are, thankfully, archives on the web of many of your texts and transcripts. But these are all little bits, floating about, separate and labor intensive to acquire and assimilate.

Mr. Moore? Your website is a great resource, and your "Mike's words" is very good - not to mention your films, etc. But it's not enough. They are dispatches, newsletters... the same slow motion dissemination of important information we've had for a long time. We now have much better, faster communication technologies. Use them to your benefit, for our benefit.

That said, I am here. I have the knowledge, the resources and the desire to help set them up.
There are others I'll get to as well.


Totally agree. The dis of the future, "you probably shouldn't blog..." ;-)

Ideally, yes, the Important People should blog. One would hope that their blogs would become hubs for fast-breaking content, well-thought-out essays, etc. Then again, one of the major aspects (and attractions) of blogging is conversation. We all tear our hair out when a well-crafted, thoughtful post garners no comments, or worse, when our commenting systems go down.

Do we then define blogging as 'frequent postings with a conversational mechanism?'

Then again there are lots of blogs that don't use comments: Tom Tomorrow, Mike Daisey, Montreal City Weblog, etc -are they any less 'weblogs' for that reason?

I think it might also be generational. People like Suzuki, Moore, and Chomsky are not Net-nerds glued to the LCD for hours at a time. Their depth and the value of what they contribute to culture comes from Real Life, Books, Research, Thoughts Scribbled In Margins, Face-to-Face Conversations, Seminars, etc.

If they have a Net presence at all it's likely the work of Helper Elves (to use Bruce Sterling's phrase) - the grad students, volunteers, and interns at Their Production Companies. So yes, it would be lovely if these people would blog, but they most likely have neither the aptitude, the skills, or the time to do so. Maybe it's generational - they're from that 'I don't watch TV, I'm above that' media-snubbery age. So it goes.

In the meantime, why wait for these people to become bloggers? Why not seek out the people in the same vein who do blog - journalist Greg Palast for one (

AJ: dude...
Let's not try to define anything. At this point, I want these people to just start dumping stuff into a CMS. Not essays or well thought out pieces.
It's about becoming part of the connected intelligence/experience.
Agreed there are numerous obstacles/issues (lifestyle/computeruseage, etc). It's a question of finding the balance of ease of use and fitting into existing routines. In other words, what I do for a living... Ideally anyways. ;)

And yes, in the meantime, no waiting: get every interesting person you know to blog. If they ain't savvy, set it up for em! Blog now!!

Because of you Boris...thanks.


ok. I agree that every people should publish on the Web. You see the differences on what I have written. My point it has nothing to do with weblogs. Weblogs means in fact tools, software which have helped people to publish and this is great. But put information online is not new.

I have this same wish for years and years... since the Web has started. :)

I remember when I have started the first Web site of Paris-Meudon Observatory in 1994, I have given Talks to researchers to learn them... HTML 2.0 and put their information online.

The first questions were always the same.

- How do I put my word document online ?
- If I put my stuff online, other people will know about it !!! They will steal my work.
- But what will happen if it's not complete ?

The first question is about tools. People needs tools to convert, or put online their text. I remember this old Web page which was very useful at the time, I was reading it often.

The second question is about fears to share. Fears to understand that you publish only what you want. At the same time, make it easier for people to publish should come with learning them what does that mean to publish, the consequences.

The third question is about being shy. People are afraid to say wrong or incomplete things. People are afraid that their voice is not important. It's how to learn to express yourself and it's a progressive task.

I have a fourth question. How do we keep that? Right now Internet looks like a big permanent autodafe, where tremendous resources disappear every day.