A lot of the debate about the Best British Blog comp seems to centre on this word ‘elite’. Maybe I should have said ‘vanguard’ or ‘enlightened’ or ‘pioneers’ or something. Whatever, something unites the first wave of webloggers and it’s probably their general sort of twitchiness and irony and unease about being tagged ‘elite’. This I can understand. It can make you itch, being pointed at, and vanguard-status brings with it obligations.
The way I see it, elites of this sort are useful, important, probably essential. I reckon TBL is a good role model here. He invented the damn thing after all but his chief function now is as conscience or super-ego or ‘dad’. His moral ‘ownership’ of the web keeps those of us who grub around making a living from it humble. There will be someone like this for weblogs. Maybe it will be Tom Coates.
Ravings of a recent convert
When you think about it, everything’s a blog. Blog-form seems to be very basic – large parts of the web can be neatly analysed down to blog-form. It (obviously) took me years to figure this out but the original bloggers understood it instinctively. Once you remember that the web is and was always meant to be a post and publish medium, that TBL’s first web client was a combined editor-browser (who first took the editor out? Was it Andreesen? Microsoft?), you can begin to imagine the whole web refigured as a blog.
My day job (cult favourite another.com) easily decomposes into a dozen or so discrete blogs – Robin even thinks you could present the email itself in blog format (is that stretching it a bit?). I can see a toggle on every page: blog view-standard view. Logging in essentially opens your editing interface. When you’re composing an email you’re just posting to our mailblog. Your inbox becomes a threaded, reverse-chronological web site – a blog. Very few web sites are not amenable to this way of thinking. Very few don’t meet the ‘post and publish, new posts at the top’ entry qualification. Can you imagine the entire web remade in blog-form? Have I lost it entirely?
(Incidentally, TBL’s Weaving the Web is a thrilling read and a useful reminder of the web’s founding principles).