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AOL pushes blogging

AOL pushes their blogging tools and space in our face. Is this not all familiar?

Create Your Journal

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Set Up the Structure

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Invite Your Friends

Add your first entry and create a list of people you want to share it with. Save it in your Favourites so you can update it easily.

Develop a Writing Habit

Update your journal regularly, to avoid disappointing your fans. You can IM an entry to your Journal and set up an Alert so you know when someone’s left a comment.

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Was all of this not pioneered by the likes of Diaryland?

Isn’t ‘Diaryland’ a far more meaningful and powerful ‘brand’ for this kind of thing? So you ever feel like the guy who bought Betamax when everyone else has VHS, the guy who ran Netscape against all others, had a MAC well before PCs created Windows? Used ‘Ask Jeeves’ before Google got a hold?

Is it always the case that the little guy trail blazes only to be bounced out of existence by others with clout and capital?

Has Diaryland never developed a suitably healthy revenue stream?

Are others innovating fasting than them (or should I say him?)

Should Diaryland have sold up a year ago before the inevitable like the creators of Tripod before them?

With difficulty I am ‘playing away’ in Live Journals and Myspace

It pains me when Celebs in the UK get excited about either one of these having just discovered the pleasure of writing online.

Do I have a choice though?

Do we have a choice?

Do we want to be read or ignored?

My favourite writers, those who have kept a dairy online for several years, long ago went elsewhere.

Diaryland is becoming like a retired film star in their 70s or 80s. You can’t believe they are still alive. When they finally die in the 90s, like Bob Hope, those still around have little recollection of what it was all about.

If I’m still here it is only because I can’t be bothered to learn a new set-up, even if it replicates all the best ideas from Diaryland. I feel just as I did when I gave up my SLR camera for a digital camera. I gave the new technology a go early, ran both simultaneously, then switched allegiance when I found the old system couldn’t or wouldn’t keep up.


“Writing that is undertaken simply for the writer’s own satisfaction is often self-indulgent and rarely successful”.

Clocks Back, a Baby Boy and Web Power

1st November 1999

Slept fitfully. Stumbled towards bed at midnight to find the bed occupied by Darlingest and TBT. He wouldn’t be parted from Darlingest even to let her undress. I slept fitfully. Possibly because I’m worried about sleeping in, even though the clocks have gone BACK not FORWARDS.

It leaves me feeling drained and dreading a long long day. Reflecting on the weekend I think we packed in a reasonable amount. I wish I was still swimming regularly at the Moreton Firestation Training Centre. Had I known we’d be around in Long Compton for this long I’d have renewed our membership in June. That is how long it’s been. There was a time when I took Zozo swimming EVERY Sunday morning. A habit I want to get back into, which is why access to a swimming pool has so often been on our list of needs for any new home.

For all the delay I was in the office at 9.10.

The Media Training Video has become an irritant because of our failure to get this interview in Zurich last week. Meanwhile a new freelance editor is faced with pulling my PowerPoint slide together. I imagine the worst from Zurich when they look at it. On the contrary the client is delighted. It does all he needs it to do. Clear, simple, video expression of a PowerPoint Presentation he made. It is after all going to an international audience, few of whom understand English well, so getting it in this form is about as clear as it gets.

As I’m being paid to stick my head in books I should make the most of it. The proposal I’m putting together on a web content creation best practice as a distance learning site necessitates that I take a step back to understand the medium better.

I’ve currently got my head buried in “Creative Content for the Web,” by Marc Millon. Most of the notes are elsewhere, but I wanted to pick this quotation out here.

“Writing that is undertaken simply for the writer’s own satisfaction is often self-indulgent and rarely successful.”

This is what most diary writers are guilty of.

Though I dedicated my first diary to my Mother it was never written in a way that supposed she would read it (though I now think I should revisit it on exactly this basis). Some of my most readable entries are those which for a v. short period were meant to be read by someone close. There are entries I wrote in the early 1990’s addressed to Darlingest.

As a professional communicator who constantly tells himself and clients to understand then address the audience, am I not guilty of farting in the wind too? Earlier today I thought these entries should be addressed to Darlingest and I, ten years and twenty years hence, when we’ll derive greatest pleasure from remembering how we were coping with Zozo and TBT.

More from “Creative Content for the Web.

I learn that there are over 1 million homepages.

The author asks why and imagines the reason, “like Everest, because it is there. Because, quite simply it has become possible to do so. The medium itself has become an extension of our very selves and we have been changed in the process. Indeed, we probably need look no further for the raison d’être of the rise of the Homepage than the fundamental human desire to leave a mark, somewhere, anywhere, to be noticed, indeed to be an individual, not in this age of alienation, a faceless number, an employee, a nobody.

I think back to carving our names on a huge tree at prep school, Mowden Hall in Northumberland, NE England, or on desks at Sedbergh, Cumbria. Graffiti and vandalism no better than painting names on street walls, but in a rural, privileged school setting.

The author goes on to talk about diaries, what now (a few months later) we call online journals. He imagines there could be thousands. There are!

“Web Litter” is an interesting concept.

Where sites have been left on servers, hopelessly out of date (or unfinished) eating up valuable bandwidth and attracting the attention of robot search engines.

There is a better way to do it.

The keen online writer who is getting feedback will discover the techniques put forward here. Corporate users, limited to sharing corporate speak should follow these guidelines. Indeed this site and one or two books could be all the Iwona needs.www.useit.com concludes that web content needs to be ’concise, scannable and objective.’ Jakob Neilsen.

So do I feel enlightened? A bit. I’m more concerned by the fatty heaviness which is overcoming me.

I walked passed a “Swim for Fun” poster on the side of a Bristol bus and think … if only. Stuff what other’s think. (Not that they think much) but a house next to the swimming pool in Shirehampton might be the answer. If I’m successful we move on, if not where we stay is affordable.

I have to resist the temptation to stay up late vegging in front of the TV.

There was once a time I’d need to read, or write my diary before I fall asleep.

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