Friday, November 19, 2004

How To Build A Blog

As you read blogs, you'll notice there are different ways of building a blog and they vary greatly. Many of the popular ones are constructed of links to other people's writing, other people's ideas, with less new writing by the person who authors the blog. Nothing wrong with this, but it's inherently a different model from blogs which are "written" with lots of original material by a given author. The difference creates a spectrum of blog styles with personal commentary blogs at one end (they sound more like op-eds) and at the other end, a collection of links, which you could call the "Editor's Choice" style at the other.

For instance, if we look at some of the best known blogs, a blog like www.andrewsullivan.com is more "written" by Andrew Sullivan and has a great deal of his original writing -- new, fresh and daily -- than a blog like Scripting where Dave Winer might simply link to an interesting post and not comment on the link at all. He can also write long personal essays mixed in with the links. As a matter of housekeeping, he tends to put his long essays in a database he'll often link to and this keeps his opinion stuff on one convenient shelf.

Scoble falls into a more commentary category and in fact has a link page, just for the purpose of pointing out links which he doesn't feel the need to comment on, while his main blogpage will tend to have more beefy writing by him on it. Jarvis' Buzzmachine may fall towards the commentary category. A blog like Boing Boing with many authors tends to be more about links, less about commentary. Instapundit ... not sure, but if I remember right, his is a pretty even mix of links with quotes, then his punditry and commentary to match.

I'm going to analyse these sites on a particular day and give you the numbers on how many posts, how many are pure links, how many are links plus commentary, how many are just pure commentary. Be back soon with that.