Blogs

I make decisions by following these highly generalized steps:
• Gather data about the choices that I can choose between.
• Gather data about each of the choices.
• Tally up the Value of each choice and choose the choice that has the greatest Value.
• Save the Value for future decisions that may need it.
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Well I talked to him today … he has such a sexy voice …. and he is cute …. and omg … and talking to him is something I so want to do again…. I really enjoyed myself ….. and not only that it was kind of a turn on…..

current mood: giggly
current music: happy stuff
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Apparently the Taco Bell dog is dead. Maybe my wife’s two stupid beagles can replace him.
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im not much to anyone. nothin special, just another annoyance in life. boy i feel special. *goes outside and stares at the stars*
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The above are all excerpts from blogs. Yet another computer-related newcomer to the English language, “Blog” is a contraction of “Web log.” It’s a noun: welcome to my blog. It’s a verb: I started blogging two years ago. It’s a cultural phenomenon.
Blogs are your friendly neighborhood websites. They are witty, presenting information with a sassy editorial spin. They are updated often, usually a few times a week but sometimes a few times a day. They look a lot like paper journals. Unlike journals, however, some have archives cross-referenced by subject, category, and date. Most have brief, dated entries. Perhaps most noticeably, each blog bears the personality of its host, be it teenybopper bubbly, self-important, or sardonically humorous. Their entries range from the technical (you may notice some design changes to this site) to the mundane (today at work…) to the melodramatic (I love him sooooo much!!!). Entries frequently consist of a link to another website or a news story and pithy commentary by the host. Readers can post responses to each entry, or responses to comments already left by other readers. Sometimes these threads of comments take on lives of their own and drift far away from the original topic of the entry. You have to play “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” to find your way back home.
Blogs are not to be confused with personal websites. Although both are read primarily by friends and family of the host (very few people read the blogs of people they have never met), the latter are updated much less frequently and often focus on one particular topic, such as “The Unofficial Simpsons Webpage,” or “Randy Peterson: architect.” On the other hand, personal websites are usually the product of curiosity. A person sets up a website and declares, “there I am!” but the novelty quickly wears off and the untended website waits quietly in a dusty corner of the World Wide Web for the occasional visitor. Blogs are the high-maintenance cousins of personal websites. They assume that everything they have to say, no matter on what topic, is of paramount importance, and they won’t rest until someone comments on each and every entry. The essence of the blog is egoism, an egoism so strong that it demands not only space on a web server and twenty four hour worldwide access but constant tending and activity.
There are two main categories of Blogs. The first kind, which I call the “true blog,” has been around as long as the internet itself. True blogs are self-contained sites. They have their own domain names, sometimes the name of their host, such as www.erikbenson.com, or sometimes a laboriously thought-out and terribly clever pseudonym such as “ambivalent imbroglio” or “diversionz.” True blogs have the advantage of self-design. The host can tailor the site to suit his own needs, posting art, photographs, writing, music, or anything his internet skills support. However, true blogs remain the realm of the internet elite—those who have taught themselves HTML in their spare time, web developers by day who are bloggers by night, and bored hacker teenagers who feel the need to thrust their opinions upon the world.
The alternative to having a true blog is keeping a “web journal.” Web journals are the internet elite’s attempt at outreach to those mere mortals whose knowledge of the internet consists of some idea of where to click and where not to click. Several host sites let you create web journals without any knowledge of HTML or other mysterious computer tongues. Web journals don’t allow for the freedom of design that true blogs do, but they do provide an instant community of bloggers who use the same web journaling service. On www.livejournal.com, for instance, users can create a page displaying all their friends’ journal entries, and search for new friends with similar interests or location. They can also join a community of users who profess interest in the same topic. Then, they post whatever entries pertain to that topic to the community bulletin board. There are topics for all tastes—the domestic (chicken recipes), the disgruntled (stupid drivers, beware!), and the lonely, yet gullible (astrologyinlove). Because of the community aspect of web journal services, web journal users are more likely to read the journals of complete strangers.
Bloggers tend to be in their teens and twenties, like most internet users. Older users can establish blogs with no more difficulty than their younger peers, but they have trouble integrating themselves into youth-dominated web journal communities. Some of the older users are people who have had blogs for decades. If you follow one blogger’s posting activity for a long period of time, you will often notice a transition from adolescent angst to prematurely jaded ennui. Blog characteristics fall along gender lines as well. Men gravitate towards true blogs, where they can immerse themselves in programming language and take up lots of server space, whereas women prefer the gregarious community of a web journaling service.
One of the strangest aspects of blogging is the relationship between the public and the private. Blogs are inherently public forums—in most cases, anyone who stumbles upon it can read to his heart’s content. At the same time, people tend to post things that they wouldn’t feel comfortable saying at a cocktail party—the secret grumblings that rot in the backs of their minds, the end-snatches of last night’s dreams, the lingering detail of a first kiss. Why this candid presentation of life’s private moments? Perhaps it’s the illusion of anonymity created by an internet persona. When I post in my blog, I cease to be Ramie and become Indecisiongirl, blogger extraordinaire! Invulnerable to the mockeries and taboos of society, able to speak, or at least type, my mind. Surely I am not alone in my perception. The internet links bloggers, but it also obscures their identities. In this way, a blogging community is like a Masquerade in which guests can constantly groom and tweak their masks. You can create a persona with selectively chosen, selectively represented details of your life. You can exaggerate. You can lie. You can look at the blog of someone you’ve never met and feel like their best friend—but it’s still just the mask. Blogs are rubbings of personalities, capturing the most obvious surface features but none of the subtleties—but at least you feel like you’ve made a mark.
So why do people get blogs? In the case of web journal users, it’s often to keep in touch. This is especially common among friends who must cultivate long-distance relationships, such as recent high school or college graduates. Groups of friends sign up for the same service so they can easily keep up with each others’ lives. In the case of true blogs, maintaining a blog is sometimes an exercise in web development. The whole point is to learn to design a webpage, to enter commands and watch them work. Content is merely incidental. In other cases, it’s purely an ego trip, a chance to see one’s name and thoughts in print. Just like www.livejournal.com says, “Let the world know the story of your life, as it happens! (Whether they want to or not!)”Blogs are a cry for the world’s validation. A way to measure one’s importance in it through the number of hits (the viewings of a website) or comments. A verification of a person’s existence in some place, at some point in time.

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