Offline problems with online blogs

Earlier this week, one of my buddies told me that two of his friends had also had offline problems with their online blogs (“web Log” to “weblog” to “we blog” to “blog”); or in my case, my Monologue. He said that one of them lost his job and the other had to meet with the human resources department. Seems I’m not alone.

In fact, I found a great Newsweek article called “Living in the Blog-osphere.” It addresses many of the issues that I’m facing with the Peace Corps: intellectual-property complications, privacy implications, global accessibility of personal thoughts and opinions, and the intruding of real life on the Blog-osphere.

Here are the excerpts from the story that I thought were most relevant. If you like to read it in its entirety, click here.

Living in the Blog-osphere
By Steven Levy of Newsweek

Welcome to the world of a half million (and counting) Weblogs, where anyone can instantly publish his passions and favorite Weblinks. And the fun’s just begun.

Indeed, with a new ” ” joining the crowd every 40 seconds, Weblogs are officially the explosion du jour on the Net. Most estimates peg the current number at a half a million Weblogs, depending on how you define the term, but ?my suspicion is that there are even more,” says Cameron Marlow, an MIT graduate student who’s studying the phenomenon.

“It’s a way for anybody with anything to say, to say it,” says Rebecca Blood, author of “The Weblog Handbook.” Often a blog is a way to keep families and friends informed. “In the future, everyone will be famous to 15 people on the Web,” says David Weinberger, author of “Small Pieces Loosely Joined,” an incisive book about the Net.

The blogging boom is more of a realization of unfulfilled promise than a new idea. In the early days of the Web, commentators gushed at the prospect of a billion people’s broadcasting their respective essences on personal Web pages. But Web sites can be difficult to construct, and the tools never became easy enough for the technically challenged to let feelings fly.

But as of 1999, Weblogs were measured by the dozen. The breakthrough came with a small software company called released Blogger on the Web, free. By early 2000, thousands were using the new software. Setting up a Weblog was a no-brainer, a simple walk-through that ended with your blog, live, on the Web. In minutes you could have a site that potentially packed the same wallop as a six-figure, months-in-the-making consultant-created extravaganza.

When high-speed wireless connections become pervasive, we may see bloggers supplementing their daily dispatches with audio and video. The mind boggles at the intellectual-property complications (who owns images snatched from the world at large?). Not to mention the privacy implications.

Privacy worries, in fact, are a lurking presence behind the Weblog explosion. Blogging is an intimate process; the format seduces participants into sharing personal thoughts and opinions. But, of course, when you blog, your words reach not just your trusted cluster, but anyone with a Web browser. With search engines and Internet archives, a bright beam can illuminate the deepest corners of the Net and intimate thoughts suddenly come to the attention of unwanted readers. Real life, sometimes intrudes on the Blog-osphere. One day there may not be a difference.