hypocritical : talking the talk without walking the walk

September 14, 2005

Blogs : Kerouac :: Wikis : Hemingway

Blog or Wiki? Wiki or Blog? Good question. Both would be the answer. How nice.

See, I had the opportunity, ever so recently, to attend a seminar on blogs and RSS feeds, right here in my hometown. Hosted by the Software Association of Oregon, the event was designed to provide some context on these newfangled tools for the local community.

The discussion gravitated more toward blogs. They're more tangible than RSS. They've got the spotlight and the hype. And with Google releasing its blogsearch, no doubt they'll stay that way for awhile. Those blogs, they're cute little critters. And so abundant.

Anyway, the event was well attended and informative. No real revelations. Still, I was quite impressed by Stephen King of Marqui. Delightfully impressed. Smart guy.

But I digress. Because that's not our focus here, is it? No, my friend. You come here for my overly self-involved opinions, don't you?

Give me a second to blush.

Okay. The most thought provoking part of the event was formulating my own answers for the questions. And one such question got me thinking, which got me writing, which got you reading, um, this. That question was this: Wikis versus blogs. How did they differ? What were they for?

Which, as I said, got me to thinking...

So here's my kernel of something-or-other for you on which to mentally masticate: Blogs are Kerouac. Wikis are Hemingway.

(I picked Kerouac as my Beat. Not creative I realize. But still. If I'd picked Kenneth Patchen would that have made you feel any better? It would? Oh you cultured devil you.)

"So, yet again, what are you talking about?" I hear you asking. Well, it's all about how you use these easy-to-edit tools. So noodle on this a bit:

Blogs are Kerouac. They're written and they keep going. No turning back. No big edits. Stream of consciousness. Go go go. Sure, you can edit. Or correct. But the flavor, the vibe, the beat remains. You don't revise. You may re-approach a topic. You may completely contradict. But you don't erase. Blogs are written on a sheet of butcher paper with a golf pencil.

And their value is derived from the very fact that they are a dynamic and representative stream of consciousness. Use them as such and understand the power of that technique.

Wikis, on the other hand, are very much Hemingway. Go back. Go back again. Simplify. Revise. Rebuild. Edit and edit again. Take one topic and continue to revise it until the true nature of that topic is revealed. Use language sparingly and with purpose. Avoid conversational triviality. Strive to contain the topic and expose it for what it is.

And there is a great deal of value there too. Understand the power of that constantly edited copy. And use it accordingly.

So there's Kerouac and Hemingway. And like any American Lit 101 class, they both have their place. They both have their use. They're both contemporaries of one another. And they both suffer from an overly macho-fueled hubris. Oh wait. Scratch that last part.

So, feel free to use both. Just use them wisely. They each have different advantages and drawbacks. And it's important to think about their application before you dive into using them, all willy nilly.

Got on opinion on blogs or wikis or the combo of the two? I'd love to hear it. Even if you don't, feel free to comment. Or remain anonymous and just return. And no, there are no extensions on your term paper.


Blogs : Kerouac :: Wikis : Hemingway
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