Indisputably, a large percentage of blogs are not noteworthy in the sense that they provide educational, inspirational, or newsworthy content. There are a percentage of blogs out there that do this, but they are a vast minority as the bulk of blogs seem to be aimed at personal revelation (diaries, travelogues, records of personal relevance), or personal collections (recipes, photographs, songs, and the like). I do not denigrate the worth of these blogs, but as few of us are skilled diarists, much less good writers in a literary sense and few are good photographers, these are, for the purposes of my definition: crap.
Of course, some nit-picker at that point began to rasp away at the definition of blog itself. I don't have access to OED (too cheap to pay the fee) but Wikipedia has served me well since its inception. The Wikipedia definition:
A blog (a contraction of the term "Web log") is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video.
I am content with this "loose" definition and am willing to consider practically any routinely updated web site intended to convey information to a recurring reader a "blog". And I maintain my position that they are mostly crap. But that's OK.
People tend to forget that Sturgeon's Revelation says that 90% of everything is crap. Blogs, automobiles, children's toys, novels, movies, popular songs, you name it, it's mostly crap. And it is. Tune in an oldies station for a particular decade. Do you hear any appreciable proportion of the thousands of songs released in those years? No. You get the same few hundred (or less). Try finding all the books published in the '60s, for instance. Almost all out of print and unavailable save for copies (perhaps) in the Library of Congress.
It seems to me that there is a special, and venal, category of blog: the rant blog. Not unlike this entry, it consists of some individual venting his or her spleen on the blogosphere on a particular topic without their consent or interest. Because such rants go largely disregarded, I don't find the practice all that reprehensible. Well, reprehensible, but not heinous. Like the grounds in your coffee, rant blogs do little or no harm, but may be unpleasant at times.
There is a special sort of blog that I am almost willing to argue is not. The "social networking" site. Because the purpose of the site doesn't seem to (as directly) fit my loose definition of recurring updates intended for personal revelation or collection but rather to come into the category of personal display (read titivation and zhooshing) and exhibition of coolness. I am inclined to think they they should be otherwise be categorized.
In any event, however, I do have one feeling on that subject. However you use your facebook or myspace, we need a fifth monkey. I'm confident most of you've heard of the Three Wise Monkeys, "See No Evil", "Hear No Evil", and "Speak No Evil". Of late, whether seriously or jokingly intended, a Fourth Wise Monkey "Do No Evil" gets frequently included in the group.
I propose the addition of the Fifth Wise Monkey "Blog No Evil" who should be depicted as turning from his monitor and pushing away his keyboard symbolizing resistance to temptation.
I confess this is in response to the Missouri Cyber-bullying Case. I truly wish the miscreant (Lori Drew) in this case could be punished more brutally. Three years (the maximum) seems too little and she is unlikely to receive even that as a sentence. A $300k fine might be levied, but even that seems miniscule. It seems indisputable that this 49-year-old woman hounded a 13-year-old into suicide (Megan Meier). In these here parts (yuk yuk) the sympathy seems to lie with the bully and not with her victim who and I've heard this more than once must have had something wrong with her. The yokels herabouts (did I mention yuk yuk?) seem to think that it would be hard to drive a 13-year-old girl to suicide. I could do it. Introduce me to an awkward 13-year-old within a month of the prom or the local pumpkin festival and I'll have her dressing goth in a week, pierced in a fortnight, and swinging from a rafter before Jim-Bob and the boys play Buffalo Gals.
Having been the victim of any number of cruel jokes or dirty tricks in my salad days my sympathies are entirely with Megan Meier and her family.
To sum up, I like blogs and blogging, but let's not kid ourselves that they are more than outlets for ourselves and the occasional postcard to our friends.