Blogs as Writing Containers

Posted on November 6, 2005

Blog cover by David Kline and Dan BursteinThe Philadelphia Inquirer has a review of blog!, a new book about blogging by David Kline and Dan Burstein. The Inquirer's book critic gives the book a good review:
Kline and Burstein dub their approach "real-world futurism." They're excited by blogging, but alert to market-driven puff. As a result, blog! -- an anthology that mixes smart previously published pieces with interviews on its subject and guiding essays by the pair -- provides a sophisticated intro to a new container of writing that resembles its predecessors, but also counts as an advance.
Then the Philadelphia Inquirer book critic ends with this paragraph which includes more about writing containers.
Quality matters. Lazy bloggers lack audience. Navel-gazing doesn't sell. Flat writers blog to themselves. Bores continue to bore when blogging. Ephemera in pixels remains ephemera. Shoot back two months on most blogs, and see what you can bear to read.

A hot blog provides what top writing always offers-voice, information, insight. Content trumps form.

The good news? Our limited choice of what to read keeps growing.

The old news? The more writing containers change, the more they stay the same.
Blogs are "writing containers" in that they do contain writing but the phrase makes them sound like a writing bucket or a writing jar. Blogs are not as restrained as prior publishing tools. Unlike past writing containers like diaries, journals and zines, blogs -- especially when used with Atom and RSS feeds -- are unique because they can be searched, sorted, aggregated and combined in ways that give smaller voices a larger one. And blog entries are published immediately -- there is no printing delay that holds up distribution. And then there is the obvious linking ability that comes with blogs thanks to HTML. However, some blogs are more interesting and better written than others so in that way perhaps the phrase "the more things change the more they stay the same" also applies to blogging.

The authors of Blog! believe blogs will have a huge impact but disagree with the more extreme blog evangelists according to the book's flap. Blog! also contains interviews with some a-list bloggers including Robert Scoble, Wil Wheaton, Joi Ito and Ana Marie Cox. The book's author David Kline has a blog at and you can find more information the book there as well.