When I asked Brent Simmons whether he thought there was any way for people to making money via weblogs other than providing software or services, he actually answered a much bigger question when he responded:
“… I probably wouldn’t hire anybody for anything unless they had a weblog.”
… The main thing is: if you don’t have a weblog, I probably don’t know you, and I don’t have an easy way to get to know you. If you have a weblog, I’m either reading it already or I can read it and look in the archives a bit to get a sense of who you are. “
After sitting staring at the ceiling thinking about this comment, I realize it crystallized, for me, a very basic question about how to think about weblogs. The painfully simple question is, “What is a weblog?” The painfully simple answer is, “A weblog is the representation of a person on the Internet.”
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I am so happy to clear this up.
The “what is a weblog” debate festers on the Net like the PC versus Mac debate and my simple observation will do nothing to allieve that problem. Folks are still going to have deeply philosophical debates on this topic when they really should be saying, “Who the hell cares?”
Weblogs are Net_People. Just like your circle of friends, some are particularly good at original content, some are just great at relaying links to other information. Some say too much, some say too little, but a weblog is the singular voice of a person.
This explains why I get the heebie-jeebies when I read the AlwaysOn site or even the Corante blog pieces. I stare at the masthead wondering, “Hey, are these people speaking for themselves or for the corporation?” Their association with a faceless corporate entity, in my opinion, decreases their credibility. Even Gillmor bugs me because I don’t know if his weblog is his voice or his voice translated by the mothership.