Here Be Dragons Metablogging

I was thinking today (‘oh crap, run! He’s been thinking again!’) about both the neologism weblog (as in the phrase ‘web log’) and the blogthread that AKMA and David Weinberger and others have recently been pursuing about new metaphors for the web. Non-spatial metaphors, verbs rather than nouns.
Well, this one is still spatial, and it’s a noun too, but hell, I’m not all that clever, really. Note that I don’t mean to imply that I’ve actually been reading that blogthread per se, but I’ve read about it, and I’m lazier than a dead beaver, and damn it, I’m not going to pretend otherwise. So, onward.
My thoughts were jinking back and forth between the phrases ‘web log’ and ‘ship’s log’ as I walked to the acupuncturist this afternoon. Years ago, I spent about 6 or 8 madcap months sailing off the Pacific coast of Mexico (a tale for another time perhaps), and one thing that was done, no matter how altered our states might have been by the end of the day, was the Updating of The Log. And the ship’s log, though it may have had a few asides about things not nautical (‘those German girls, oh dear lord’), was primarily about minutiae, about new ports, new anchorages, new sights, new sites.
Sites. Like websites, geddit? (Didn’t telegraph that much, did I?) So, connecting the dots, I’m calling the net the ocean. Big-ass sites like Metafilter or Yahoo are ports, smaller ones are anchorages, bloggers are sailboats, and their web logs are their ship’s logs. We meet, raft up, party down, separate and go on our merry wandering ways. We record where we’ve been. We talk about what those places have meant to us. There are living things swimming around down there, deep in the darkness. There are the IP plankton packets that are the very lifeblood of the sea. A whole ecosystem down there. There are submarines and sailboats, there are ocean liners skirting the Tropic of Cancer, there are freighters plying the trade routes, planes occasionally passing overhead, and the odd dot-com Titanic, lying in pieces on the ocean floor far beneath, slowly decomposing.
I like this metaphor because I love the sea, and sailing on it.
It also resonates pretty damn well with the oft-repeated (at least in the early days of the blog) complaint that a weblog should be about links (those memorable ports and anchorages we visit in our wanderings), and is not, according to some, supposed to be a diary. I personally think the focus-power-grasshopper balance lies in the careful juxtaposition of the pedestrian details of your journeys around the ocean with your thoughts and feelings and all that personal-journally crap. The best ship’s logs I’ve read were ones that had both GPS readings and Wacky Tales. The most interesting weblogs, too.
I am a sailboat. Ride me. So saith the wonderchicken.

Sky of blue and sea of green? comments.


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  1. Hello there,
    I just did a google search on the old Rattan To Go ads and I’m afraid to say that you seem to be the sole authority for info on this on the net. Only four results were found, and I read your comments on I’m glad such a television treasure has not been forgotton!
    I am an ex-pat Vancouverite living in London and working in animation. I saw these ads when I was a kid, but strangely they’ve stuck in my mind. The reason I’m writing is because I remembered this ad a while back and am basing a sitcom character on Blue Mancune, the star of the ad, who I believe lives in Vancouver. Unfortunately I cannot fully remember the lyrics to the tune. I’ve got:
    Malacca for the money
    Wicker for the show
    ——– to get ready baby
    Rattan, to go
    I’m trying to finish a script and this is driving me nuts. Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.
    Many Thanks,
    B. Rai

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