The Null Device

2003/5/31

A survey claims that most bloggers are teenaged girls; well, in Poland, anyway; elsewhere, they may well be middle-aged men who write like teenaged girls. Though the survey may be confusing blogs with LiveJournal.

The article then goes on about the sorts of people who keep blogs; claiming that "interesting people run interesting blogs, but it's remarkable how few of them there are". (Something quite possibly true, though isn't it just a restatement of Sturgeon's Law?)

Weblog software provides a wonderful tool that makes it easy to publish your thoughts and pictures to the world - should you lack immediate friends or family to whom you might want to mail these thoughts and pictures to first. The nutty blog hype, such as it is, has been inflated by a handful of weblog tools vendors and exhibitionists who desperately see this as their big moment. By promoting the humble blog as a social tool that heralds an "Emergent Democracy", or a fabulous network that can overthrow Big Brother, they're crowning themselves with the mantle of populist heroes.
Maybe we're all safer this way - thanks to weblogs. Maybe blogs are a way of keeping the truly antisocial out of harm's way. So if you know a middle-aged sociopath, for heaven's sake, point him to a computer and show him how to start a weblog.

Btw, I wonder what proportion of blogs are actually blogs (i.e., consist predominantly of linkage to things on the web), as opposed to news pages, journals, review sites and such.

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A short article on trainspotting in the Graun. Interesting to see that American trainspotters call themselves "trainfans"; apparently the ones in Australia call themselves "gunzels", for some reason.

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A Grauniad reporter tracks down Salam Pax, the mysterious Baghdad blogger. It turns out that by day he is 29 years old, an architect by profession, and spent much of his formative years in Vienna.

Soon, however, he began to search out other "bloggers" posting on the internet. Few were writing in English from the Arab world, and those that did wrote in heavily religious overtones. That was enough to encourage Salam to put his head above the parapet and one day he identified himself on a bloggers' website as an Iraqi. "I was saying, 'Come on, look, the Arabs here: sex, alcohol, belly dancers, TV shows, where are they?' All you saw was people talking about God and Allah. There was nothing about what was happening here."
Screens cover the windows to keep the midday sun away from his three computers, each of which has been opened up into a sprawling tangle of wires and circuit boards. A poster from the film The Matrix hangs on the wall, looking down on a jumble of computer books and CDs strewn over the floor. Pages of website addresses and computer commands are tacked to the wall above his screen. It was here that Salam would sit and talk endlessly about the impending war with Raed, who returned to Baghdad before the war, and the friend he describes only as G - Ghaith, another young, intelligent, eloquent architectural graduate who spent much of his adult life dodging military service.

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I just came back from the Ninetynine gig at the Rob Roy. There's some good news: they're playing again in late June before Laura moves back to Perth. Oh, and they're touring Europe (again) in October.

The gig was brilliant, btw. The Ninetynine set included the 3 new songs they have been playing the last few gigs, and rocked. The Grey Daturas were also pretty cool, in a Mogwaiesque sort of way. Though I must admit I'm not a huge fan of the Bird Blobs; they're a bit too pub/blues-rock for my taste.

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