This Online Life (Friday Ramblings)

I desperately wanted to write something deeply theological today. I found myself pacing up and down my office racking my brain trying to think of something to write. Over the past few days I have put a lot more time into the look of this site than the content and I feel guilty about that. Even today I have been chipping away, adding a word count feature to each archive page (I have no idea what possible use it can serve but I thought it was neat) and adding an About Me page to the main menu. I installed a couple of great Movabletype plugins to the What I’m Reading page that track my reading list and Amazon wishlist.

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But back to my point: I love learning and then writing about what I have learned, but over the past week or so have been deeply immersed in this new design. This has caused other things to suffer. But this weekend that all changes. I am going to spend most of the weekend reading. Or that’s the plan, anyways.

Allow me a quick rant. It seems there is quite a common problem with blogs in general and web sites in particular – many people put too much emphasis on the external and very little emphasis on the content. You can take a look through any of the sites that hand out awards for design – sites such as Plastic Pilots and Cool Home Pages – and see that this is true. Where some of these sites used to focus on sites that were effective, lately the emphasis has been almost entirely on bells and whistles. If the site wasn’t designed in Flash you are reducing your chances of winning by at least 80%.

Today I wanted to write something theological but just couldn’t find anything to say. What this did, though, was cause me to think about my online life. I spend my entire day on the internet or somehow involved with the internet. If I am not accessing, reading or evaluating a web page, I am probably designing one. If none of those are happening it probably means that I am on the phone talking to someone about a web page. Truth be told I kind of like it. I am a bit of a recluse and interacting with the world through the medium of the Internet suits me quite well.

So instead of anything deeply theological, I want to make a few observations about blogging.

  1. Blogging is Addictive – Blogging is very addictive. It seems that most people who begin a blog either post three times and walk away (right, Dan?) or get addicted to it and make it a hobby they are passionate about.
  2. Bloggers Have No Accountability – There is no real accountability in blogging. God has built the church so that each person has some degree of accountability. We are accountable to our peers, parents and pastors and before God they have the responsibility to ensure that we are walking with the Lord. This type of accountability rarely works on the net. This can be a good thing in that it allows free expression of ideas, but it can also be a bad thing. More often than not it is probably a bad thing.
  3. They Will Come – One amazing thing about the web is that it seems that “if you write it, they will come.” Some of the most boring blogs, devoid of any real content, still seem to attract significant readership. I just don’t understand that. If I am going to take time to read a blog on an ongoing basis, it is going to have to contain some good and changing content.
  4. Blogging is Difficult – I suppose it would be more correct to say that blogging well is difficult. Anyone can write something every day, but to write something that people will actually care about is quite a challenge. Most of us fail at that most of the time!

The weekend is fast approaching and I have much to do before 5 PM, so I am signing off for now. I wish you a blessed weekend.