a little background on me and weblogs

Since I’ve already started to get a good number of people emailing and asking questions in regards to the Media Matters segment on weblogs, I thought I should take some time to give some background about me, this website, and weblogs in general.

First, I wrote a page a while back explaining a bit about me. It links to a list of frequently-asked questions that are a bit out of date, but still valid for the most part. I also recently was interviewed about this site, so that’s a good source of information, too.

In general, though, the reason I have a weblog, and the reason I advocate to others that they ought to maintain weblogs themselves, is because I think it’s important for people to have a place to express their opinions and thoughts, and to get feedback on those ideas. The interchange I’ve had over the past three and a half years with my readers, and with the authors of other sites I enjoy, has had profound effects on my personal and professional life. The biggest single moment that has occurred to everyone I know who actively maintains a weblog is the first time a stranger contacts you or leaves a comment where they indicate that something you wrote about touched them, or discussed a topic that they didn’t think anyone else had an interest in, or informed them about a subject that they didn’t even know they were interested in.

In short, it’s making connections between people in the same way that we make links between pages on the web. I’ve been fortunate to be friends or acquaintances with many the people who shaped weblogging from its earliest days, especially the people who make the tools that let people communicate with each other. While I’ve always been interested in computers and technology and software, this is the first time that I’ve had a chance to watch tools that really can change the world. Just as importantly, weblogs can be profoundly mundane affairs, filled with the stuff that’s not unique or noteworthy. In other words, filled with the stuff that fills our lives, and all of the significance that those events and people carry with them.

While the Media Matters website makes reference to my recent post about TiVo lobbying the FCC, I discussed two different posts with the folks who taped the actual show. The first was one about the reunification of India and Pakistan, an idea that I championed in response to the conversation begun by Dialog Now, a group weblog focused on opening lines of communication between the residents and diaspora of the two countries. The second entry was about my chagrin when I realized that I had wrongly accused the Wall Street Journal’s technology columnist Walt Mossberg of being incorrect about a technology article, and then had the experience of getting an email from Mr. Mossberg where he called me out for it.

The experience with Mossberg was useful not just from the standpoint of learning to think through my ideas completely before publicly publishing them, but because it reinforced the idea that weblogs can be a useful mechanism for ordinary people to get their ideas and opinions before members of the media, an idea reinforced by the role that webloggers had in Trent Lott’s resignation. Of course, it also demonstrates the challenges that remain, as the reason I was wrong in my disagreement with Mossberg was due to the fact that he, as a member of the "established" technology media, had access to new information from Microsoft that wasn’t known by the general public.

If you’re new to weblogs and just checking in on the examples you found from the show, you might want to check out the list of recommended personal websites that I made a few months ago. If you’re looking for a "greatest hits" of this site, then you’ll probably enjoy Pardon Me For Being Forward, which was a little rant about junk emails from friends that is still, to my chagrin, the most popular thing I’ve ever published on this site. That article is now part of my magazine, where I publish longer pieces when time permits.

One of the other things about weblogging of which I’m very proud is the fact that I’m widely considered to be the sexiest male weblogger in the world. Since starting this site about three and a half years ago, about half a million new weblogs have sprung up. And despite the presence of all those thousands of new sites, fully 60% of all weblog authors would like to have sex with me, according to a recent survey. That’s one of those statistics that leaves me humbled, yet thankful. Doing the filming for the TV show was entertaining and certainly novel, but I’m really not certain how much screen time I’ll have in the final edit. Still, getting a chance to try to evangelize personal publishing to all the people who aren’t yet familiar with it means that even that brief time on Media Matters will likely be the best 30 seconds of my life since I lost my virginity. Especially since more people weblogging means more people who are desperately in lust with me.

Thanks for reading!