Jorn Barger of Robot Wisdom coined the term "weblog" Dec. 17, 1997 -- 10 years ago Monday -- to describe the daily list of links that "logged" his travels across the web.
In the decade hence, Barger feels that he's gained some wisdom of his own about blogging. Here's Barger's top 10 tips for novice bloggers:
My intent for weblogs in 1997 was to make the web as a whole more transparent, via a sort of "mesh network," where each weblog amplifies just those signals (or links) its author likes best. 1998-1999 was for me the Golden Age of Weblogs, when the following principles were widely understood:
1. A true weblog is a log of all the URLs you want to save or share. (So del.icio.us is actually better for blogging than blogger.com.) [Except it lacks personality: It's like ordering something from a menu into a drive-thru mike, rather than from a waitress or something else real.]
2. You can certainly include links to your original thoughts, posted elsewhere … but if you have more original posts than links, you probably need to learn some humility. [Interesting..seems I'm on the right track. Although this blog certainly started out - in terms of original content - on the wrong track. The first half is almost exclusively all about me and my thoughts...]
3. If you spend a little time searching before you post, you can probably find your idea well articulated elsewhere already. [True. Which starts to beg the question: why blog? The answer is, some people who know you want are interested in your thoughts, your ideas, and want to share in your conversation - not some stranger's. Right?]
4. Being truly yourself is always hipper than suppressing a link just because it's not trendy enough. Your readers need to get to know you. [Aha, see my above comment.]
5. You can always improve on the author's own page title, when describing a link. (At least make sure your description is full enough that readers will recognize any pages they've already visited, without having to visit them again.)
6. Always include some adjective describing your own reaction to the linked page (great, useful, imaginative, clever, etc.) [Makes sense.]
7. Credit the source that led you to it, so your readers have the option of "moving upstream."
8. Warn about "gotchas" -- weird formatting, multipage stories, extra-long files, etc. Don't camouflage the main link among unneeded (or poorly labeled) auxiliary links.
9. Pick some favorite authors or celebrities and create a Google News feed that tracks new mentions of them, so other fans can follow them via your weblog. [Awesome idea.]
10. Re-post your favorite links from time to time, for people who missed them the first time.