a conversation with Maria on what makes a good blog

a discussion about what makes a good blog

that turns on the idea that good blogs might come from a single, consistent persona on the part of the blogger OR from the multiplicity of the blogger, OR possibly from both.

Thanks to Maria for giving me permission to quote her.

I came across a great comment on blogs by Maria Benet (see blog link in links list). Here’s what she said:


It occurs to me, as I try one fancy blogging tool after another, that maintaining a successful blog — however simple or complex in design, however frequently or infrequently the posts go up, however fragmented or carefully wrought the prose may be — requires something that the Web is not very good at supplying, and which has little to do with technology. Maintaining a successful blog requires a solid sense of identity.

A blog’s stickiness, or that quality that turns us into its regular readers — comes not so much from the blog’s informative value in content or through the network of links it provides as it comes from the blogger’s authority.

I replied:

I thought you put your finger on an important issue when you treated a consistent identity as the guarantor of a blog’s interest and continuity. But I wonder if it isn’t also true that many websites are animated by the multiplicity of the maker’s persona and that all sites must finally depend on this if they are not finally to be exhausted of interest, theirs and ours. Then, I guess, the issue becomes how we use the website to mark which voice is speaking and allow the visitor to find just the voices s/he cares about. Thoughts only.

She replied:

Having thought about what you said, and having glanced at what I wrote before on this issue, I would like to put the emphasis on “authority” again, rather than identity. I believe that the term “authority” is more forgiving — or more elastic — than that traditional concept of identity. I don’t consider “authority” to be some static given, etched in the ten commandments of the stone of discourse. I think of authority more in terms of an “authenticity,” a bit like what you referred to as the “animation” of web sites from the “multiplicity of the maker’s persona.” Given this view of authority, much of the content (and other communicative elements) on a web site or a blog is a process, and not a pronouncement — as it may well appear to be in a traditional book.

And I replied:

I like “authority” or authoring. It helps create the distinction I was looking for last time. There is the author is creating lots of things including, possibly, several personae but remains, perhaps, distinct from them. In this event, what would bring us back to the blog would be both the continuities of the author(ity) and the variety of the things authored. Maybe.