Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Just like geeks have a geek code, bloggers now have a blogger code. Mine is: B9 d+ t+ k++ s u f++ i++ o+ x-- e+ l c--

Here is is a site to generate your code and here is a site to decode it.

The only question that was a bit difficult to answer was, "Does longevity equal respect in the blogging world? How long have you been regularly maintaining a personal web log or online journal?"

I have been posting journal-like entries on my web page since 1994, but I moved my site to and started using Movable Type last June... I answered the question "Over 3 Years." but that might be wrong since I wouldn't tell people I've been blogging for more than three years. I guess this is the whole "what is a blog?" question. What do you think?

UPDATE: here's another decoder


Haha! I totally forgot I wrote that decoder. Blast from the past!

You know my comment will sound negative (If you want me to just shut the heck up already, just say so ;-)) I'm just plagued with urge to voice the opposite, no matter how poorly thought out, if I think no one else will say it. It doesn't matter if I identify more with the majority or not (because someone's gotta keep all you glass-half-fullers in line).

Anyway. I think this blog-code is really fun. Everyone wants to feel like they are a part of a group, and shared jokes and what not help us do that. This does too. Just like the facerolling does. It creates an in-group that makes members feel good.

But... it also, by default, creates an out-group. I am not saying that bloggers are exclusive, but people who look at the blog might think so. I know I first did. There are some places that creating in-groups is actually good. For example a professional association doesn't want any old Jane to be in the in-group unless she is really a professional. But if we want blogs to be more of a tool for democracy, it makes sense to break down as many in-group / out-group barriers (in this case purely mental) as possible. Would we want people to feel hesitant to vote, or that their vote is not as important because they don't have a "politics-code"? I know it is taking it to extremes, but bear with me.

On the other hand, people may be encouraged to joing the in-group if they see that a lot of the sites they read have facerolling and blog-codes.

Ideally people wouldn't be discouraged if they feel "out-of-it" and people would say "fudge everyone else! I'm gonna do what I want to do! I'm not gonna worry about what other people think!" But we all know that doesn't happen.

To show that I am not just a bitter old-fart, here is my blog-code. B4 d+ t+ k- s u- f i- o++ x-- e+ l- c-. And I think that the negative points I raised are very herikutsu or "nit-picky" --but then I am able to work my brain more when I try to nit-pick. I also think that the barrier created would (hopefully) be quite small, but I mention it because you yourself were not to long ago facing the dilemma of how not to alienate non-bloggers from your site, and it is just something to think about.

Oh yeah... One thing negative thing I found to nit-pick about the code itself... I don't like that the "lemming" goes from

I've taken a few surveys or participated in a few memes, but there seem to be so many of them I have to pick and choose.

Memes and web surveys are, for the most part, pretty stupid. Like this survey.

What about people who don't think it's stupid, just don't participate because their readership is different than that of most blog folk, and for the well-blogged readers, just figure they'll find it on someone else's page?

Kevin. I've thought a bit about it since our faceroll discussion. I thought a bit about my own behavior as well. Where I came out was this. I'll blog everything that I think is interesting/funny. It will end up self-selecting a group of people who have similar interests. I'm not the New York Times. If we want to create a more inclusive site for a specific democratic process, I won't do it here. I think that if I start worrying about what people think, I will lose focus. I'm currently focused on what I think is interesting, which is easy.

I think the geeky stuff and the blogging about blogging stuff can be easily skipped over by those folks who are reading my blog for the other content.

I think your point is a good one and very relevant for someone who is trying to reach a broad audience, but my blog is for me and I do it because it is fun. Everything else is secondary.

Which is not the say that the secondary effects are trivial. The google rankings and all of the interactions are great, but the foundation upon which this is built is that it is fun for me to write and I do it every day because of that. Even if it is uber-geeky, if it is interesting, I will blog it. ;-)

As for inclusive/exclusive... I think I am making it as technically inclusive as possible. Making it any more inclusive will attract more people, but it will also probably attract more noise... Just a theory.

No arguments from me there.

I wasn't trying to say anything about your blog in particular, I think it is great because it focuses on technology and blogging which I have an interest in too. I would like to see more (other people's) blogs about non-tech topics that I am interested in as well, but what I find is that when I try to get some of the people I know who don't use the web so much as I do interested, they have this idea that it is difficult and you have to be a web-guru to do it. A lot of it is left over from when it was a pain in the ass, but when I show them some of the other blogs, they always get frightened by "tech talk" and words like "template" and what not.

I think sometimes when talking about blogging, we focus too much on the fact that the technology is coming a long way to make it easier, but we don't look at the psychological barriers. Peoples fears and anxiety about using the adminitedly great tools is probably the biggest obstacle. I'm personnaly interested in that probably because my friends are still at the psychologically blocked stage... I can't even get excited about the tools with them if I want to.

And that's all I was trying to say. I wouldn't say it on a site about cooking if the author used faceroll and blogcode, but your site is about blogging and I see it as a relevant issue under the topic of blogging about blogging... and maybe also when discussing how blogging can effect democracy. So I added to the noise. (I do feel guilty about that... I know you are busy and sometimes I hate to see you take time answering my kudaranai comments. ;-))

Kevin, no problem. You raise valid points and appreciate your comments. When you're making the rules, the issue of exclusion is always one of the easiest to overlook.

A few years back, say around 1995, when the web took off, we had many, mostly ugly personal homepages (so-called vanity-pages); and free homepage services like tripod and geocities sprung up. People tried to get into DreamWeaver, CyberStudio, HoTMetaL Pro and all those tools. It was just so exciting, you too can now be a publisher, all that power in your hands.

It was too difficult to create pages and when it all cooled off they where ignored (remember the advice from the savvy: "update your page frequently to make people return!"?). There was simply no interest for the content of those.

Now we have blogging, which strictly seen are the home pages from the past, albeit in a glorified form. Arguably they contain even more vanity than before, but at least they look a lot better because we can leave the hard work to better tools. And we follow the update credo.

Blogs are possibly the first revival within Internet culture, which makes an interesting phenomenon in itself.

However, times have changed since the mid-nineties, the net or web has a lot of new dynamics and has gotten a lot richer overall. We all know that. But if the same mistakes are made, blogging will go down in history the same way as vanity pags did. Thus it is necessary to think beyond the technology. I often refer to blogging tools as home page creation tools; let's face it, they are the same thing. But let's note that the circumstances in which they are created have changed, and to be successful you have to take this into consideration.


I've been following the recent entries about your trip to the states and the party with other high-profile bloggers. I couldn't help ponder how much of an impact these technologies are making but at the same time did experience what Kevin was talking about which was a pseudo-not-in-the-incrowd feel. While showing others in a different forum one of my many posts on the war, someone sarcastically said "hey everyone ooh look at me I blog about the war." I thought about it long and hard and did realize that personally I don't blog for others (although I love it when they read) but I do it for myself. Of course naturally the things I blog about and people that I share links with end up becoming that self-forming circle based purely on individual interests.

When talking about how blogging in itself is democratizing, it has exclusivity to it and that seems to be the nature of peoples beliefs in general. The circle of exclusivity despite all attempts to make it inclusive forms by itself.

Re. blogging for others: The bottom line is that expectation-blogging® is bad for you.

As for inclusiveness/exclusiveness: Look at it, socially speaking the same is already happening IRL. Do you consciously select your friends etc. as some sort of "target audience", considering who can and who cannot be in it? Sounds ridiculous.

If you run a business or organisation with an agenda it's a different story. As far as individuals are concerned, it is invalid.



That's exactly what I was getting at in terms of exclusivity happening naturally.

Regarding blogging going down the same way as vanity pages, well they are easier to use and easier to update exposing it to the masses even more. As with all content though, if not maintained, it decays. Even if blogging were to go the way of the "vanity page", I'm firmly believe it would be recycled just as quickly because the need for people to be heard will always exist.

I found it rather annoying that the decoder only worked via POST thus I couldn't just put the blog code in my About page with an anchor tag direct linked to the decoded version, and I don't like PHP (like I need -more- security worries) so I ported it to JSP and made it available via GET method so you can use a URL like
index.jsp?code=B8+d%2B%2B+t%2B+k%2B+s+u-+f+i%2B%2B+o+x-+e%2B%2B+l-+c-. Ugly URL? Maybe, but it's hidden away in your HTML and it makes it easier on the user (eliminating the annoying need to cut and paste). To get the URL just go to my form and submit the code, the resultant page will put the direct URL in your browser location bar.

This probably isn't the best place to announce this, but I didn't notice a definite homepage for the bloggercode thing, and this is where I found it :)

I got tonight just because I think there should be a permanent home for good memes. Also I think the bloggercode that leather egg wrote could really use some updating. It was written quite a while ago...

Is there a 12-step program for domain purchasing? You might want to look into that.

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