Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Cat Blogging

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Apr 29, 2007

Doug Johnson quotes Kathy Sierra and says, "Don't blog the cat. It's not about you."

Cat in Madrid

I don't think I agree with the "don't blog the cat" point. I have run posts about my cats in the past, and I will in the future. There's a reason for that.

Sierra writes, "It's not about you." In this, she is at least partially wrong. It is about you. Not completely, of course. But the personal point of view is important.

What distinguishes the blog media from the traditional media is the idea that each expression has a point of view. Our knowledge of a concept or an event is obtained from combining these points of view.

Knowing about the blog author helps us understand that point of view. When I say "I saw a cat on the streets of Madrid" the meaning is different when you know that I am a cat person and love cats.

Suppose you knew that I was one of those people who hates cats and calls then "house rats" (yeah, I've actually heard the phrase). Then my observation of a cat on the streets of Madrid conveys very different information about the city.

The blog is an expression of a relation between myself and whatever I am talking about. As such, the personal part of a blog is essential. You'll find in her archives that even Kathy Sierra includes a lot about the personal. Her experience of climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge, for example.

Writers who do not reveal something of themselves (and their pets, if their pets are important to them) are giving us only half the equation. They are presenting statements and asking us to accept them as objective fact. There is no reason why we should do this, and indeed, even some reason to be suspicious of such an approach.

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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