If E.B. White were alive today, he might have this to say about blogging:
The blogger is a self-liberated man, sustained by the childish belief that everything he thinks about, everything that happens to him, is of general interest. He is a fellow who thoroughly enjoys his work, just as people who take bird walks enjoy theirs. Each new excursion of the blogger, each new "attempt," differs from the last and takes him into new country. This delights him. Only a person who is congenitally self-centered has the effrontery and the stamina to write a blog.
There are as many kinds of blogs as there are human attitudes or poses, as many blog flavors as there are Howard Johnson ice creams. The blogger arises in the morning and, if he has work to do, selects his garb from an unusually extensive wardrobe: he can pull on any sort of shirt, be any sort of person, according to his mood or his subject matter -- philosopher, scold, jester, raconteur, confidant, pundit, devil's advocate, enthusiast.
The blogger, unlike the novelist, the poet, and the playwright, must be content in his self-imposed role of second-class citizen. A writer who has his sights trained on hte Nobel Prize or other earthly triumphs had best write a novel, a poem, or a play, and leave the blogger to ramble about, content with living a free life and enjoying the satisfactions of a somewhat undisciplined existence. (Dr. Johnson called the blog "an irregular, undigested piece"; this happy practitioner has no wish to quarrel with the good doctor's characterization.)
There is one thing the blogger cannot do though--he cannot indulge himself in deceit or in concealment, for he will be found out in no time. Even the blogger's escape from discipline is only a partial escape: the blog, although a relaxed form, imposes its own disciplines, raises its own problems, and these disciplines and problems soon become apparent and (we all hope) act as a deterrent to anyone wielding a keyboard merely because he entertains random thoughts or is in a happy or wandering mood.
I think some people find the blog the last resort of the egoist, a much too self-conscious and self-serving form for their taste; they feel that it is presumptious of a writer to assume that his little excursions or his small observations will interest the reader. There is some justice in their complaint. I have always been aware that I am by nature self-absorbed and egoistical; to write of myself to the extent I have done indicates a too great attention to my own life, not enough to the lives of others.
Funny thing - E.B. White did say most of this - only swap out the words blog and blogger with essay and essayist. Its from E.B. White's Foreword to Essays of E.B. White. I took out a few paragraphs and sentences, but when I read this several weeks ago I couldn't help but to imagine that if this had been written today, he could very well have been talking about blogging. Maybe he would have even had his own blog.
Or perhaps not. He was an awfully private man. Either way, White gives us our word prompt this week, and gets his moment in the blogging spotlight.