This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to Washington DC for a little getaway vacation with my wife Shelly. While there we happened upon a wonderful museum called "Newseum." It is essentially a museum of news. One of the most compelling exhibits in the museum is one which depicts the rise of radio and TV and the eventual transition to the communication revolution we are currently experiencing. In a fascinating series of exhibits it does a particularly good job of describing the transition from controlled news to, essentially, open source news. That got me thinking about what's going on in the ultrarunning blogoshpere lately.
Since coming to the sport in 1995 I have been struck by the general tech savvy nature of this particular community. From Stan Jensen's website which he began over 19 years ago to the infamous "Ultralist" which was the virtual town commons for all things ultra around the turn of the century to the emergence of blogs and then the growth of social media, this sport has always drawn a particularly interesting and interested group. Anybody else remember Matt Mahoney discussing the merits of barefoot running more than 15 years ago? Or how about Karl King's extensive commentaries on electrolytes as he was in the process of inventing S! Caps? Or the inimitable Lazarus Lake's ability to make Barkley a "viral phenomenon" long before we even knew what the term meant? In short, the sort of banter and online rumination that we've been seeing over the past year or so is really nothing new. What is new, however, is the seemingly massive growth and expansion of the sources of information. And that is where I am going with all this.
At this point there seem to be two basically different types of blog sources out there; One, which is where this started, is the personal running blog. These personal ruminations are the core of the content and often provide great insight into remarkable people. On occasion these personal bloggers spill over into analysis but for the most part they are just that, personal. The second type of blog is more journalistic. While these can be personal they are, more often than not, intended to provide news and information about the sport. It is in this area where the content seems to be expanding exponentially and where occasionally the chatter devolves into personal namecalling and potentially insulting accusations. Don't get me wrong, I think the conversation is good, but when the lines are drawn between the personal and the journalistic problems emerge (as I learned with my dnf post a couple years ago).
So, for all of you reading out there, I would like to pose a three-part challenge,
One, what kind of blogger are you, personal or journalistic? You can, of course, be both but understand that your audience may have blurry vision when it comes to your content.
Two, what kind of blogs do you prefer? "AJW's Blog" will always be a personal blog with the occasional foray into amateur journalism while "iRunfar.com" will likely remain a journalistic blog with the occasional spillover into the personal (who can forget Bryon's heart wrenching should I or shouldn't I debate about running WS this year?).
And three, remember, as my good friend Lord Balls always says, the best parts of blogging are not the posts but the comments!
That's all for now!