My colleague Suresh (of Geomblog) likes to say that blogging is passé. The first time I heard this it annoyed me because — dammit — I’ve been blogging for only about six months. It took me a while to figure out that blogs are irrelevant and I could care less if they’re passé. The important thing is reading and writing essays, and blogs are a perfectly good way to do this. This realization also explains my gut reaction that Twitter is stupid; you can’t write much of an essay in 140 characters. (I realize that my gut reaction is probably wrong… it’s just going to take me a while to come to terms with Twitter.)
Most of us, when we hear “essay,” experience flashbacks to those awful essay-writing exercises from secondary school where teachers forced us to use note cards and all that nonsense. I’d argue that it’s best to get over these feelings and embrace the essay. I was forced to do this around 1997 when I started my (no longer maintained) book pages, and realized that any piece of writing that doesn’t fulfill the requirements for being an essay also is not a real book review. On a blog, pretty much any kind of essay — persuasive, narrative, photo, etc. — can make a good post. When reading others’ blogs, I usually skip any entry that isn’t at least roughly in the form of an essay.