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Hallo again to all.

'Barchester Blog'Anthony Trollope, it seems, wrote an average of 1000 words each day. Word upon methodical word form his vast body of work, which include the endearing Barchester novels — surely known by all who profess and call themselves Anglican. In Trollope's works, diaries and journals often hasten along or complicate the plot. The revealing of the private thoughts of a character, scribbled by candlelight in a thick Victorian leather journal, was delicious. We, the readers, were legal voyeurs into the heart of a character. Journal entries were special, personal, and, above all, private. They weren't, thank God, blogs. 'Barchester Blog' instead of 'Barchester Towers'? Blech.

Blogs blogs blogs. They're everywhere on the web, birthed without much apparent labour through the enabling technology of Live Journal, Movable Type, BlogSpot, and others of equally cute name. Such programmes allow even the a design-insensitive person to produce attractively formatted pages of ... well, what?

To decide whether you want to bother with Bob's Blog, you need either to know Bob, or to read enough Bob prose to make that decision. But we don't want to invest the time to read Bob, knowing nothing of him other than his celery-coloured blog pages with their oh-so-elegantly formatted type. Time is the most precious commodity most of us have; do we want to spend it with Bob's Blog? If, on the other hand, Michael Ramsey of blessed memory had kept a blog, we'd surely have been devoted daily readers. But our interest in that blog would have grown out of interest in the man. We knew who he was and what he wrote, and as a result, could not fail to be interested in his offhand squibs, his quips, his links, and his thoughts on, say, his cat. But how many Michael-Ramsey quality blogs are out there? Kafka diaryNot every blog is written with the goal of reaching a wide audience. But all of them are out there for us to read, and the burden of deciding whether to read a blog falls on you, the reader.

Despite our crankiness, we've tried gamely to get to grips with blogs of the variety that seem to be asking for wide readership. We thought we might develop a section at Anglicans Online devoted to 'Anglican or Anglican-related Blogs' since, we reasoned, there must be countless Anglicans blogging Anglicanisch things. But what is 'an Anglican blog'? Is it a bona fide, semi-famous Anglican writing his night thoughts about peanut butter? Or is it what appears to be a mostly Anglican blog in substance even if it's presided over by, well, a Bob whose religious tendencies are unknown? The more we tried to determine a blog taxonomy, the more we failed. The more blogs we looked at, the more we yawned. There were dull blogs. 404 blogs <Blogs Missing in Action>. There were blogs that hadn't been updated in months. There was a blog that was repeatedly cited as offering the most complete roster of Christian blogs: We thought we'd cut to the chase and have a look at its Top Ten sites. The first we visited — 'Screaming Mute' — was offline. Our visit to another top ten blog— 'Much Afraid of Falling' — began with the blogger's thoughts on her foray into the Atkins diet. No thanks, we murmured, and moved on. The more we moved on, the grumpier we got. There is good writing out there, but blogs seem to make it harder to find.

Good things about blogs: 1) They are interactive; they encourage two-way communication. 2) They are raw prose, unpolished and unrehearsed. 3) They are mostly well designed.

Not-so-good things about blogs: 1) There are too many of them. 2) They are raw prose, unpolished and unrehearsed. 3) They are ephemeral, coming on and going offline, making it difficult to reference them or treat them as a primary source.

We suspect that the fashion for blogs may fade in not so long a time. But we're convinced that good Anglican blogs will survive and grow up to be good Anglican websites. In the meantime, we'll keep looking.

See you next week.

Brian Reid's signature
Cynthia McFarland
Brian Reid

Last updated: 15 February 2004


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