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Weblogs as revolution

By Adam Gaffin,, 06/09/03

David Weinberger, author of Small Pieces Loosely Joined and co-author of the The Cluetrain Manifesto on what Weblogs (such as his) are:

Blogs enable "multi-subjectivity," i.e., multiple viewpoints, and now we have a blogosphere to bring them all together, and we can find them. "Objectivity and newspapers begin to lose some of their regalness."

WeinbergerSome people don't like this, such as "businesses that have confused themselves with forts. ... They've been able to control their environment and their marketing and their own employees by selectively releasing information. ... Weblogs are a way that cannot be stopped of providing insight, of punching holes in the wall. ... It's gonna happen."

"Every time you put in a link, you are sticking it to the man," he joked.

About 18 months ago, Weinberger and his wife needed to buy a washer and dryer. The choice came down to Kenmore and Maytag. Instead of going to the company sites, he did a Google search and found a forum where people discuss washers and dryers - and brought up issues he would never have thought about, such as how loud the "load done" buzzer is. "This is what knowledge looks like on the Web."

This sort of expert, globally available advice "is amazing, because it's everywhere."

But even more, "they're allowing us to have persistence in this place. ... We have never, ever had a second public place. That is a really big deal, we've never had anything like that before, and now we do."

"The scary bubble thing that went away, it was the right bubble to go away. It was never what the Internet was about." It is not primarily a commercial space or even an information space: "It is not as if 630 million people woke up and decided they wanted to be research librarians. ... It's a place, with some persistence." It's not Usenet; it's a place.

Key characteristics of a Weblog:
a few paragraphs per item
reverse chronological order
lots of links
they have a voice

It is not the technology behind them. In most cases, you assume you're reading a first draft. So Weblog readers tend to be more forgiving. "That's not a bad social characteristic to be knitting the world together with."

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