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Gray. Dorian.

I was at a seminar on public relations and "new media" today. (I'll cover the material on <a href="http://websg.org/">WebSG</a> soon, I promise). While <a href="http://mrbrown.com/">Mr Brown</a> and <a href="http://miyagi.sg/">Mr Miyagi</a> were up there talking about blogs and the other speakers briefly mentioned social bookmarking, I experienced the real life manifestation of hyperlinks.
Aileen, who was sitting someplace else in the conference hall, called me over. "This guy wants to speak to you". Being surrounded by what had to be a sizable portion of Singapore's civil servants, I half expected "this guy" to tell me how bad a job I did updating <a href="http://www.moe.gov.sg/">MOE's website</a>.
But his first line was "You don't know me, but I read your blog". We did the usual blogger introduction. You know, shake hands, exchange names, <a href="http://troubadour42.livejournal.com/" title="his blog address">blog addresses</a>, then I'd proceed to tell him what went on in his life for the past 48 hours and he'd do the same. Standard blogger etiquette.
Then he asked the question I knew was coming, and dreaded.
"Why haven't you updated your blog for so long?"
I smiled and told him I'd blog about why. I didn't answer the question right there; perhaps it was because it was a long story and we didn't have much time, or perhaps I didn't come up with a reason fast enough. I guess the real reason was that I've been blogging for so long it felt a little too invasive answering a personal question face-to-face with a real flesh and blood human being, while feeling perfectly at home (pun intended) answering it to a thousand readers whom I cannot see.The seminar's participants comprised of people from the "old media". Newspaper journalists, people who produced radio programmes, television journalists. And then you had people like me who've been involved in the "new media" space the dichotomy between new and old doesn't exist.
<h4>That which we call a blog</h4>
There's no such thing as a blog. <a href="http://cherian.blogspot.com/">Cherian George</a> pointed out that the technical definition of a blog is a webspace that is easily editable and presents information in a reverse chronological fashion. With the advent of content management systems and FTP facilities provided in web authoring software, almost all sites are easily edited. And if you ever felt compelled to put up the latest press release or news coverage of your organisation on the front page of the corporate website, there you have it: reverse chronological order. So please stop talking about blogs like they're a niche part of the web.
<p class="pullquote">There's a reason why people call diaries journals. And why the word journal is derived from journalism. Because journalism is an act where you bare your heart and soul.</p>
The elitist blogger will tell you not to confuse a blog with an online diary. Some will even go as far as to argue whether blog is short for web log, or weblog. It's all very stupid.
If an online diary is a webspace in which you bare your heart and soul, then by golly, blogs are all meant to be online diaries. You may not choose to blog about what you had for breakfast, or what you bought from the shopping mall, but not everyone writes those things down in a paper diary. There's a reason why people call diaries journals. And why the word journal is derived from journalism. Because journalism is an act where you bare your heart and soul. Profit-driven journalism forgets this. Much of the big name old media organisations forget this. Bloggers too will forget this as the medium matures.
<h4>Why haven't you updated your blog?</h4>
Blogging, for me and for some of you, is a voluntary act that leaves us vulnerable. I had been working some crazy hours and spending the weekends with Faith and Anne. That left me very little time to sit down and think about things beyond wanting to get an Xbox 360. It was constant motion – an endless blur that has been rather detrimental to my health, spiritually, mentally and physically. I didn't blog because I didn't want to pause and look at what I had become. I <del>couldn't</del> didn't want to be vulnerable, either to myself or my readers.
But Hsin Yeow's question, when presented in a flesh and blood manner, really hit home. I knew that the homecoming of the prodigal was inevitable, and I had to touch base once more.
I had to blog.

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