180px-essays_montaigne

When speaking with smart, hip, literate and esthetically-attuned folks such as yourself… I sometimes hear of a lingering resistance to blogs and blogging that has alot to do with the words “blog” and “blogging.”

Yes, I know that “blog” was born of “web” plus “log.”  But that doesn’t make it right.  It just makes it the ungainly child of two rather plain parents.

A brief historical digression: the 16th century French writer Michel de Montaigne created the modern essay (or Essai, as you can see in his title page above) from the French verb meaning “to try, attempt, have a go at something.” But what if instead of Essai, he had chosen to call it a Schtrumpfwaffel or Shplaff or Dreck? Maybe high school students across the world today wouldn’t be writing essays in order to get into college.  They’d be procrastinating on their shplaffs, or else inscribing magical spells on birch bark.

So, in the dubious name of progress, I’d like to propose some alternatives.  Hopefully you’ll have some even better ideas.

Yes, you.

Combining…

Yields…

Sounds Like…

web + log blog blob, slog, slob, frog, bog, slug
live + journal vejournal vegernal, something either anatomical or vegan-related, or both.
journal + vif journavi journey, bonjovi, other rock bands from the ’70s and ’80s.

bits_gore480

Al Gore was keynote speaker at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco on November 7th.  His theme was that web 2.0 has to have a purpose, and that purpose is climate change awareness.

Now it’s easy to be cynical about such a statement.  Every politician and activist believes that technology, which for the most part is value-neutral, should be harnessed to promote his or her own agenda.  And maybe it’s because I agree with Al Gore’s values that I think social media has a lot to offer their spread and advancement.  Or maybe there really is something inherent in this new medium that promotes openness, constructive change, intelligent optimism, spontaneous organization and a kind of instinct toward altruism.

I couldn’t find a transcript of Gore’s entire speech, and though the language is very unpolished, here’s a video link and my very partial transcription below it.

http://blip.tv/file/1461701


interactivity, social networking, user-generated content…. the ‘gee whiz’ factor.. we need to move past that to a time where all of that is taken for granted, just like the water the fish doesn’t know it’s swimming in.  The incredible explosion of new ways of collaborating, securing information, of introducing new levels of creativity and quality…  Web 2.0 has to have a purpose… I would urge all of you… to bring about a higher level of consciousness about our relationship to the planet and the imminent danger and opportunity that we face, because of the radical transformation of the relationship between human beings and the earth…  We have to take this issue, and raise it in the awareness of everyone.


We have to not only raise awareness, we have to empower widespread, collective action at many levels, from what students study to what consumers buy and who you vote for in between.

That’s why I happen to agree with Al Gore, and I look forward to mending the effects of our 8 year hiatus from democracy.