Frequently asked questions

about SAY EVERYTHING and blogging


A history of blogging? But it’s so new!

Yeah, it’s not, like, the Norman Conquest. But blogging has existed under that name for ten years now, and people have been writing on the Web in ways that we can recognize as blog-like for at least five years longer than that. So there are plenty of stories to tell.

Who was the first blogger? Did anyone “invent” blogging?

There was no first blogger. Blogging is a set of tools and practices that evolved together over time. There are a handful of people who were especially influential and instrumental in that process, and Say Everything aims to tell many of their stories.

Isn’t blogging old hat? Today, all that matters is social networking, Facebook and Twitter!

Pretty much everything that has ever happened to people on Facebook happened to bloggers before Facebook ever existed.

Blogging was the original tool for sharing self-expression on the Web. While multitudes have swarmed to newer services and technologies, millions of people still blog, and no other style of online interaction so perfectly balances individual autonomy with group dynamics.

For most of us, today’s social Web alternates between feeling like a garden of delights and a minefield. Anyone trying to make their way across this landscape can benefit from hearing about the experiences early bloggers had — experiences with the consequences of oversharing, the difficulty of separating different realms of their lives online, the seductive allure of anonymity, the slippery new nature of authority, and the conflict between the pursuit of authenticity and the hunger for fame.

How could you tell the story of blogs without mentioning X? You left Y out. You left ME out!

Sorry about that. Say Everything is a book, not an encyclopedia, and necessarily selective. Some of the pioneers and innovators whose stories the book tells would have a place in any chronicle of the rise of blogging. I picked other stories because they hadn’t been fully told elsewhere and they seemed to have something to teach us. But there are many, many other blogs, bloggers and companies that could easily have been part of the tale.

Aren’t there just too many blogs?


But how can anyone keep up with all of them?

No one can. Who says you have to?

It’s undeniable that blogging has increased the sheer volume of published matter available to each of us. It’s easy to feel overloaded by that. But is there anyone who worries about not being able to read all the books published each year, or see all the movies released each season?

Why do all these bloggers think anyone cares what they write?

Some bloggers approach their writing the way journalists and public figures always have: they aim to rope in a wide audience, and adopt strategies and techniques to achieve that. Many more bloggers are writing for a handful of family, friends or associates. They don’t expect you to care, any more than they would expect you to care about the contents of their phone conversations.

If blogs are so great, what’s with the dead trees? How come you couldn’t say everything you have to say about them in a blog?

I love blogs and books. They’re entirely different forms. When you have a big tale to tell with lots of characters and themes, or when you want to take in the long arc of a grand story, there’s nothing like a book.