May 09, 2005
I was right
Seth Godin admits he is a "massive egomaniac".
Of course this should be obvious since his name gets top-billing on his graphic. You will note that he has conveniently removed his hair so you can more easily see that big brain of his.
But what can I say? I think he is right in the specific and in the general. But with a condition...
When I was studying architecture one of the recurring rituals was having critiques of your assignment. The general process is to prepare your design including drawings, models or whatever else is necessary to demonstrate your conception. Then on the appointed day a panel is assembled (usually made of instructors and invited guests). Each person then presents their design and the guests critique it, sometimes praising what is not there, sometimes damning it, other times giving constructive criticism. It really just depends on the mood or temperament of the juror.
Another aspect of this process that bears explanation is that it usually occurs after a period of extreme activity, activity which does not include sleep and may involve consumption of a great deal of caffinated beverages. The end result of which is a fragile grip on reality by those being critiqued. Emotions were quite often close to the surface.
So what does this have to do with ego? Well, in the case that your project is loved it should be obvious that the flames of ego are flamed white hot. What is not obvious at first is that when the project is not loved, or even despised a remarkably a similar thing happens. As a protection tactic people dissociate their self from their work. It doesn't happen immediately, but it is clear that advanced students are crying far less often than those in their first year. People also learn that the criticism may in fact be bogus and that their own ideas are just as valid as anyone's.
The end result is a group of people who are secure in their own opinions. They may not fall into the classical definition of the egomanic who thinks they are great, but they may fit into a definition where an egomaniac is one who thinks everyone else is inferior or more charitably (and perhaps more accurately) where an egomanic is one who makes no connection between the quality of one's work and the quality of one's self.
So here is where it gets tied back together. Blogging is similar to standing up for one of those reviews. There are no doubt those who do it to show themselves (and I think in the case of Seth's blog - to brand themselves) but there are others who could care less. People who are secure enough that they do not use the blog to feed their ego, but instead keep things entirely separate. It is these people I think that Seth misses in his characterization.
April 25, 2005
No time to get into a full discussion, but check out the product placement on Dave Winer's blog. Now all he needs is a Budweiser ad.
April 22, 2005
I've been going through personal influences so far so Robert Scoble is next on the list. His blog "Scobleizer" was not one of my influences. In fact I hardly read any of his blogs, but I couldn't help but see his newsgroup postings encouraging and cajoling people into blogging. He is tireless. Amazingly tireless. At first I thought it was sort of self promotional when he got a job at Radio Userland and was always making proclamations like "I wish I could convince every MVP to start a weblog". It was kind of hard to ignore him.
But after a while I found out he was actually genuine about this stuff and his comments like "That's OK. But, I gotta tell you, the mainstream press has the weblogging thing all wrong. It's all a fad. Like most things that the press reports, they blow it out of porportion (and they miss the real story). What is the real story? Web sites are finally easy and low-cost enough that everyone can do one, not just the folks who like writing stupid HTML tags." started working on me. Finally a few years later I understand. He was right.
But what is he doing now? Well, he is talking this and evangelizing that. But it is OK. It isn't all just shilling for Microsoft. Last time I met him he walked up to a table where I was talking to some other people and asked us what we were doing and then launched into giving us the details of that Channel 9 thing he is doing. And we all thought "huh?" but were hardly offended. He just can't help himself. He can't keep from talking about things he thinks are great. 5 stars for being inspirational.
April 21, 2005
Dead Can Blog
Sam P spends a lot of time writing about food, politics and going to bed. But all this is made more remarkable by the fact that he has been dead for several hundred years. Read it before your next trip to London.
Score: 4 stars
The Joy of Ito
The Blog: Joi Ito's Web
I'm starting here because Joi's blog is the pinnacle of blogs about blogging. I read it and I just start growling about how self-congratulatory and self-referential it is. It almost appears to me that his blog IS his existence rather than the other way around.
I'm not sure of the characters which make up Joi's last name, but one meaning of Ito in Japanese is thread. Even if it doesn't match the actual character of his family name it seems quite appropriate for his activities on the web. It also appears that sometimes he has a backbone made of thread as shown in this post where he discusses being two sided and compromising in his remarks.
I am mixed in rating it. I'd give it 1 star for the recursive nature of the content, but 5 stars for artistic achievement as Joi has managed to write a life for himself. Technically, there is no doubt that he will try any sort of blogging innovation and creates buzz about them so that also rates a 5. I'll settle on an overall score of 4.
On a related note, his sister Mizuko writes some interesting (and less self-absorbed pieces here.