Saturday, October 27, 2007

Top 4 ways blogs are cool.

In my recent experimentation with bloggin (here, here, and right here), I've noticed a few things while doing research and reading other blogs.

First, a lot are just like magazines in that they offer "The 10 best ways" to do something. ZenHabits does this on a daily basis, and it seems only the digit changes. From "5 best ways to prepare for retirement" to "10 worst Macs in history," blogs remind me of the covers of Cosmo and Glamour - only without the dirty sex positions. This takes complex issues - running, cleaning - and breaks them down for the average surfer, but it's definitely not a new idea.

Second, a lot of blogs are just aggregators of other blogs or news sites. The formula goes: (a) find some interesting news or advice, (b) repost it on your site, and (c) offer your own opinion on the matter. The Simple Dollar, a good site for financial and budgeting tips, does this every morning. I'm just as guilty of this as anyone, because I come from a long line of newspaper article clippers. It's in my genes. And if I find something interesting, I would hope you'd like it, too. But some blogs do nothing but this gather-and-share stuff.

Third, the best blogs have engaged and talkative commentors. Lifehacker and The Consumerist - two of my all-times favorites - are fun to read because the comment sections are full of insight, snark, and opinions. It's almost like the blog writers throw a ball in the circle and let the commentors start their own game of rhetorical dodgeball.

Finally, there's a blog for damn. Near. Everything. Again, just like magazines, there's a blog out there for everyone. The ones I read daily mostly concern Apple, tech, money, and politics (with a few randoms thrown in for good measure). But if you like to run, drink, compute, fiddle, meditate, laugh, sing, design, revolt, or simply breathe, there's a blog out there for you.

It's a crazy world out there, and everyone seems to have their own, gathered together with friends to start one (as my bro Driver did on this great blog), and/or are making some extra money with nothing but a keyboard and an internet connection. It's the American Dream in action, and all the better that it involves reading and improving and democratic discussion.

I like it because the journalist gland in me cries out for an outlet and an audience, and I love the fact that my friends can chime in and share back and forth. In some ways, its the main way we keep connected and informed.

But you can have some fun, too, and that's just as important as all the rest.

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