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April 25, 2003

Missing Link

I know my postings here have been pretty sporadic lately. I've been wrestling with how to change that.

I really like the weblog form of expression. I think that its "discovery", and ongoing evolution, is the most powerful concept that's appeared on net since the it became a mass medium in the mid 90s.

I read about a dozen weblogs on a more-or-less daily basis. They are a valuable resource for me for news, tech insights, social commentary, and entertainment.

I think that I have something to offer in at least some of these areas. But for some reason, I've been unable to be consistent.

I think that the main problem is that I've never managed to develop a "voice" for the blog. Good examples of ongoing communications -- and blogs are a new example of this -- have a consistent theme and tone.

"Theme" would be some subject or crusade that is central to the site. Scripting, technology, gardening, country music, child-rearing; the list is infinite, but a good weblog needs a theme that it regularly returns to, and attracts its core readership.

"Tone" is the attitude or manner in which it is written. It might be serious like Walter Cronkte, or bad boy like Dennis Miller. It might be Bobcat Goldthwait, Ellen Degeneris, Jon Stewart, Dan Gilmor, Rageboy, or Ihnatko. Twisted, Chagrined, Cynical, Outspoken, Profane, or Mischievous.

Gone East has no consistent theme or tone. And I think that makes it hard for me to find daily subjects to write about. And it gives all but the most devoted readers, little reason to return on a daily basis.

So I'm considering what they might be.

Possible themes: Tech stuff... Macintosh... Geekdom... Helping beginners... Living in NH... Living in the country... Return to family... Being an uncle... Sailing... Shared experience development... Older than I ever intended to be... something else...

There seem to be fewer possible choices for tones: The tactful, diplomatic wimp (which is the most common up to now)... edgy/mischievous is appealing, but I don't know if I can pull it off consistently... "Plainspoken, jerk" works for alot of people, but probably not for me... Tone is tougher, I'll need to think about it some more.

Your advice is welcome.

Posted by jghiii at April 25, 2003 11:12 AM
Posted by: Mr Peabody on April 25, 2003 12:49 PM

Hmmm, this seems to be a pattern. I understand that you are often perplexed when the fushia text (I know you like to call it pink, but it isn't) shifts from funny stories to informative discourse, but that is only you trying to enforce a "tone" to the colored text. (For the 3 other people who read these comments, I process an Email undergrad newsletter for students at UC Berkeley, and to separate official notices from my own personal ramblings, the ramblings are set apart by placing them in fushia (sp?) color.)

So don't worry about consistency in tone -- just write. The only consistency needs to be that it's your voice and your thought for the day. Some days you will be humorous, some days you will sound sad (trying to hide the fact that your roommates are siblings, for instance), and some days you will be informative. As long as the words come from you -- that is all the consistency necessary.

As for subjects, well you could write about how you left your friends in California without a traditional XmasEve Chinese Food Dinner. Or how you are now 2 years older than one of your friends. Or you could write about how you are concerned that your mother might misinterpert the word "hand-job" (it means wash your hands, Mrs. Hodgson) in the comments section. Or how about writing about any interesting mail you've gotten lately? Or how none of the three Hodgson siblings seemed to be working yesterday. Or how Beth's version of babysitting is to stick a kid in front of a television like Deb Barrone. How about how West Wing sucked this week and it would have been much better if Chandler turned out to be a terrorist and they had to shoot him and his head would have exploded on camera -- could there have BEEEEEN a better scene than that?

There's so much you could be discoursing on.

Posted by: Jack's Mother on April 25, 2003 06:49 PM

I think you should write more about how much you love your family and how you never should have left the east coast for that evil California but we still welcomed you back with open arms. You know, a prodigal son kind of story.

And PS, I know it doesn't mean washing your hands.

Posted by: bjhodg on April 25, 2003 07:51 PM

You can't "stick" a 12 almost 13 yr old anywhere. She has a will of her own. Also she doesn't need a babysitter.

Posted by: Jack on April 25, 2003 08:31 PM

Play nice now kids.

Posted by: Sherman on April 25, 2003 08:40 PM

Does playing nice mean I can't make lewd references to Beth's initials in her email address?

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