Back in August, Jason Kottke was on holiday and he left his blog in the  hands of Tim Carmody, who runs another blog called Snarkmarket. One of the first things Carmody posted to kottke.org was this, on what he called “paleoblogging” (in the title of this post I’m not suggesting that  “paleo” is incorrect, but I just can’t spell it like that. Colour).

The essence of the idea is…

Most popular blogs, like most popular media, regardless of genre, spend 99.9% of their time reacting to and arguing about something that’s just happened, or is about to (maybe) happen. Jason’s aesthetic has always been different, because he’s always been just as excited about older things that have just been uncovered or rediscovered, marvelous objects and ideas in weird corners of the web that nobody’s paid attention to, or that have only just made the transition from analog to digital to become part of the web conversation.

Carmody had previously written about this same subject, when he christened the phenomenon “paleoblogging.”

It’s no accident that kottke.org is the first entry in Other People’s Websites; I like what he’s doing there. The main reason I set up this blog is that I posted about 240 links on Facebook over the past couple of years, referencing various odds and ends around the web , and have also amassed about 300 articles on Instapaper. I figured a) there must be some latent value in that collection of information that would be better realized by putting all the references on a public website and b) I’m tired of Facebook. So what I’m really trying to create here is a well cross-referenced archive that it could be worthwhile to browse at any time, rather than a site where you could expect to find commentary on today’s news (incidentally, in that withering review of Freedom that I posted about a couple of days ago the critic, BR Myers, noted that “Every new book we read in our brief and busy lives means that a classic is left unread.” I’m a fan of classics, I guess). While continuing to add new things that I find, I’ll be trying to populate the archives of this blog with the best of the links that I’ve uncovered over the past couple of years and stored on Facebook or Instapaper or wherever else (many probably lost deep in one of my email archives now). In the meantime I’ll be trying to work out how to get the best archive I can out of the many options on WordPress (which I’m really impressed with so far!).

As a final word of self-justification, this from Clay Shirky, interviewed in The Atlantic Wire and quoted on Lone Gunman:

In general, there’s no real breaking news that matters to me. I don’t have any alerts or notifications on any piece of software I use. My phone is on silent ring, nothing alerts me when I get a Tweet and my e-mail doesn’t tell me when messages arrive.

I also don’t read any of the big tech aggregators. Knowing that, for instance, Google just bought Blogger, isn’t that useful for me to hear today rather than tomorrow. Some of Michael Arrington’s stuff I think is an example of the worst kind of breaking news. The kind of Apple Insider stuff where they publish something every day to satisfy the news cycle. It’s gossip coverage like following movie stars and it distracts me from thinking longer form thoughts.

Actually, reading that again I think it’s only tangentially relevant and it even sounds slightly pompous. What I would want to say is, most stuff that’s interesting stays interesting. Or, as David Brent would say, “A good idea is a good idea forever.”

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