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Jorn Barger

Jorn Barger

Mountainair, New Mexico

I read "Robot Wisdom" years before Jorn Barger rebadged his musings as a weblog. He tells Wired magazine that his intent for for weblogs in 1997 (the year I first spotted his blog) 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. Barger considers 1998-1999 as "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.)

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.

3. If you spend a little time searching before you post, you can probably find your idea well articulated elsewhere already.


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.

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.)

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.

10. Re-post your favorite links from time to time, for people who missed them the first time.


From Jorn Barger in Wired. Photo by William Colburn.