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Online Journals 96

Foxxz writes "MSNBC has a story on online journals. personally, ive been writing in an online journal for almost a year using a perl script i whipped up. It can be a great outlet for a bitchfest." This is a great example of the whole "peer to peer" journalism that everyone wets their pants over about the Internet. Call it what you will, but the ease of accessibility to the materials is, IMHO, one of the most compelling reasons for web surfing.
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Online Journals

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  • In addition i met an old friend who found her name in my journal while doing a web search. we had lost contact after high school. too bad shes dating now ;P


  • You know, the grisled old man walking around in a trench coat "flashing" people for... whatever reason.

    This seems similar to JenniCam and I just don't understand why someone would do this. Not that I don't visit JenniCam occasionally. Not that I can't imagine an interesting online journal. And I suppose an online journal is somewhat better in that you can choose what to reveal to everyone, but you still are revealing intimate details of your life.

    It seems like normal human relationships involve a kind of progressive disclosure. A forming of intimacy where you reveal progressively more as your comfort level grows... and all or most relationships reach a plateau based on mutual comfort level and societal norms for the type of relationship you are having.

    Not that JenniCam and web journals aren't good or, at least, entertaining for me, but is it good, healthy and normal for the people doing it?

    Ok, that's my deep thought for the day...
  • Mainstream [stileproject.com] news [rotten.com] companies [somethingawful.com] don't [portalofevil.com] need [pettipond.com] to [netcom.com] try [tripod.com] very [pixyland.org] hard [bmezine.com], now [welcome.to] do [aol.com] they [happydrunk.com]?
  • "6 billion weblogs, now that would be a nightmare. Can you imagine all the server space??"

    Probably about the same as a few porn sites (but not as usefull... heheh).

  • I'm using PHPSlash [phpslash.org] for my Developer's Diaries section of MidnightRyder.Com [midnightryder.com]. Actually, it runs the entire site :-) Anyway - it makes life simple to do something like a quick entry - just type it up in plain text or HTML, and hit submit - and your page is updated. I like it, you might want to check it out.

    There are, however, some downsides - requires PHP4 (no big deal) and a MySQL database to power it (which might be a bigger deal for ya, depending on your ISP / Host). And it's probably a little over powered for just running an online-diary. But it sure saves you tons of time on updating pages!

    And, of course, there are tons of other alternatives to that - /.'s engine can be used for the same thing (PHPSlash is a somewhat direvitive of the Slashcode - not much anymore, but, still the same idea). Look around a little bit at those two sites, and if they just look like too much effort, search for 'Blog' or 'Online Diary' in google or yahoo, and find all the rest of the cool little scripts for doing this out there!

  • If you use PHP I have something pre-written that you can have... just email me at jeff@jeffwilhelm.com.
  • I'm surprised than no one has mentioned LiveJournal [livejournal.com] - it's definitely one of the more popular online journals with over 100,000 members and clients for many different OSes.

    Contrary to what people seem to think here, I don't think that the majority of online journal keepers do so because they want other people to read them. My motivation for keeping an online journal was because I always wanted to have a journal, but to do so with pen and paper or even at my computer was far too inconvenient. I didn't want a swarm of text files sitting around. This way, all I have to do is fire up a client (which I can do from any computer I'm at), type up an entry, and there it goes to the server. LiveJournal allows me to make entries public or private to my discretion. Personally, I don't have anything to hide, and if someone wants to read about my life, they're more than welcome to. I've met a lot of interesting people on LiveJournal; there's a large sense of community there with discussion groups, etc...

    Shameless journal advertisement: My journal can be found at http://vorpal.livejournal.com [livejournal.com]
  • IANAP (I am not a psychotic?)

    Quite correct, of course. I think most flashes of genius are exhibited by people who also display psychotic tendancies. Whether this is a cause of the genius, or an effect of the social interactivity issues caused by such, I can do not know.

  • I cannot stress this enough, people: Read the articles linked to from the story before posting.

    The article lists about 9 websites that provide various types of this service. If you just can't read the article, then you might find some listed here [msnbc.com] or here [google.com].

    All your event [openschedule.org] are belong to us.

  • Of course, for the less mentally stable, a slashdot account would do just as well as a journal...
  • Just for the record.....

    Signal 11 was not a troll. He was a karma whore.
    Shoeboy is not a troll. He is a humorist.


  • I'm a little bit sore. Not just because there was a possibility of getting my URL in Newsweek, a possibility that never materialized. No, it goes a little bit deeper than that. This article was utterly and completely vapid. There was no substance. Heck, there weren't even very many URLs!

    1) For people who supposedly would have spent days, if not a week or two, picking up background info and doing research the people who wrote this article don't seem to "get" the very real distinction between weblogs and online journals. Two completely different communities. Fairly small amount of overlap. One is 1995. The other is 1999.

    2) Like I said, there aren't very many URLs for an article which is supposedly about weblogging and 'Net stuff. If you look closely, there are more URLs for weblog and diary-keeping tools than there are URLs for actual weblogs and diaries. Is the average Joe Blow reader of Newsweek going to want to take a look at a couple weblogs after reading the article? Probably. Is he going to be ready to immediately start his own weblog or journal? Probably not. D'oh.

    3) Although they mention a lot of tools, the one glaring ommission is Noah Grey's GreyMatter [noahgrey.com]. Not only was it created by Noah, who is ostensibly one of the main people featured in the article, it is also pretty much THE premiere tool for people who are serious about weblogging. Again, d'oh!

    4) Okay, so Dave Winer is an old-timer on the weblogging scene. So mention him. But devote more quotes to him than almost anyone else in the article? Why? As a friend of Noah's, I'm a little bit biased, but: this whole article could have been devoted almost exclusively to him with a small sidebar of other cool weblogs and journals to check out and it would have been better, tighter, more interesting and given a better picture of the current weblogging community than this hodge-podge of out-dated and inconsequential notes ever will.

    5) It's Newsweek. Newsweek is the Lame Stream. Newsweek screws up everything it touches. Newsweek is the Kiss of Death. When your web trend hits Newsweek, your web trend is dead. I hope Noah gets some decent publicity out of this, because I'm expecting that the weblogging scene will be dead or dying off nine months from now.

    6) Dear Dave Winer: No, the world would not be a better place if all 6B of us had a weblog. That's B.S. Think about it for a minute and then go and interview a few of your oh-so-interesting cookie-cutter suburban neighbors. Then tell me if you really think each and every one of them should have a weblog.

    7) D'oh!

  • The pros and cons of why one would actually want to use an online journal have already been posted- I for one wonder what's up with the people that are saying "man, these people can't spell and they're boring!" - to me, if you've nothing better to do than read other people's private [or otherwise] material on the web, *you're* the one that needs to get a "life".

    Journals are theraputic for some, narcissitic for others- the one thing they all have in common is that they are in some fashion constructive for the individual. Would I ever keep an online journal? Beyond the "sent messages" folder of my email client, forget it. I *do* keep a "journal of sorts- a slowly growing stack of notebooks that contains musings, plotlines, day to day bullshit, sorting of personal issues, flatwork, and a WHOLE lot of doodles and drawings. Paper and pen are more flexible for me than a keyboard can ever hope to be, though the success of these online diaries is obvious that a lot of people find the keyboard to fit their tastes perfectly.

    Personally, I feel that rather than question or bitch about why those using these services do what they're doing, we should ask what may come out of services like this - are the police keeping tabs on them, what's security and privacy like, and in general issues of a more technological and sociological nature as opposed to the more personal end of the experience.

    That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.
  • there's more to it, and more than just personal stuff to post. for me, i use my blogs as a place to store design [warpedvisions.org] thoughts, geek links [warpedvisions.org], bad prose [warpedvisions.org], and thoughts on my current oss projects [warpedvisions.org]. personal life? i suppose, but also a way to record my cranium from a few locations, share it with a few people - gaining the ability to read it 2 weeks later.

    and the macro-personal blogs are cool too, a window into another being ... sometimes funny, sometimes boring, sometimes stupid. who cares?! if you are interested in seeing inside peoples heads - even if it is filtered through ego, html, and prose ... blogs rock.
  • by Tekmage ( 17375 ) on Sunday February 25, 2001 @07:48PM (#403818) Homepage
    I kept one for a couple of years, a few years back... It was an interesting exploration of self in a place that's not-quite-real. You learn to dive deep into your psyche to pull out some new nugget to mull over in a matter of minutes. Contemplating the nature of a word; remembering a day gone by differently...

    Towards the end though, after two years of daily entries, I'd covered pretty much everything of importance in my life up to that point in time. It was time to start living some more life worth writing about. :-)

    I'll probably start another in the future, but not just yet...
  • ChuckFlynn and you seem to assume, right off the bat, that blogs are necessarily targeted toward some general public audience. That's not necessarily the case. My friends and I have blogs primarily as a way of communicating between one another, more than anything else. It's sort of a glorified newsgroup, but without the spam and with the ability to practice web design skills at the same time. If someone else happens to stumble upon our communiques, then good for them, but I don't assume that I'm some high and mighty philosopher, spouting my views on a soapbox to the masses. At most, I'm spouting my views to five or ten friends, and whoever else happens to wander in.

    At the same time, I could turn your argument on its side: why do you post comments on Slashdot? Because you want others to read them, right? And these comments offer your take on the subject at hand to hundreds, of not thousands of other people, right? To use your own words, why do you assume that your trivial personal views are somehow relevant or helpful to the forum?

    I'm confused here -- how, exactly, is posting Slashdot comments that much different from the view of blogging you presented?
  • Hi... I'm Mark, a.k.a. insomnia [livejournal.com], the "All-things-business" manager at LiveJournal [livejournal.com], which was mentioned in the article.

    First, a bit about LiveJournal. We are a site with around 65,000 users, doubling in size every three months. Unlike Blogger, we are a free interactive online community created, designed, and supported by the people who use it.

    LiveJournal enables its users to easily create online journals and communities. Updating your journal or community is as simple as typing into a software client or web browser screen and hitting submit... no html is needed, and spell checking, linking, and adding images to your journal is standard for all our major software clients. We have clients for every platform I can think of practically... Linux? PalmOS? BeOS? No problem. Since LiveJournal volunteers design, expand, and constantly improve the site's features, we expect to develop open source community-based applications at an increasing rate.

    Why are weblogs important? Well, any new idea has a novelty phase, where people say "Neat, but what can it do?".. there are serious business applications for weblogs. For instance, LiveJournal uses its own communities, such as lj_dev [livejournal.com] and lj_biz [livejournal.com] to organize the sites' business and development efforts. I know that these communities are a great alternative to organizing groups with maillists; LiveJournal communities have about 15 times more posts per user per month than comparable maillist communities, according to our statsistics [livejournal.com]. If you also figure in that you can add other web-based applications as part of your community, such as chat, planning, calendar, and organization-oriented applications, maillists and Usenet-like solutions start looking pretty dated.

    If you think about it, all weblogs really are is a modern-day adaptation of Usenet for web browsers. Weblogs can be used for numerous purposes, such as journals, communities, and weblogs... but ultimately, their real value to people is when they are connected together, allowing people to interact.

    Our long-term goal is an Internet where websites are much more dynamic than today... where you can essentially add the content and the people that interest you to a friends list. Want to add your favorite musician to your friends list and hear their latest songs over the Internet? How about your favorite underground comic strip? As you can see, there are applications that are far bigger than just reading your friends journal. We have the opportunity to create a uniquely open source kind of media that isn't controlled by the powers that be. Unlike push technology (that pushed ads on your desktop) you can have customized webpages designed to keep you connected with the latest entries from your friends, in communities, websites (such as Slashdot), and some of the most interesting people all over the Internet.

    So, yeah. Weblogs are important if you think that the ability to fundamentally change the nature of the Internet matters.

    Curious? Interested? Want to help develop something great? Feel free to visit our site [livejournal.com], or drop me an e-mail [mailto]. I'd be glad to hear from you.

  • As I stated in my opening sentence, targeted and topical collaborative weblogs (such as Slashdot) are useful tools to disseminate information, foster community... and additionally, engender discussion on whichever issue is at hand.

    My 'view of blogging' expressed above is targeted at what seems to be the majority of them... individual blogs and diaries full of inane 'I went to the store and bought muffins this morning and then I met Bob and he told me his cat is sick...' and 'I feel horrible again today so I'm writing another depressing page of angst...' type entries. ^_-

    You're right in that I (incorrectly?) assume that most of these individual blogs are targeted toward a general audience, but that's due to my general feeling that (consciously or not) they're established and promoted by people looking for attention (whatever the underlying motive is) - show-off egotism and exhibitionism, desperate seeking for sympathy, looking to ensnare someone of your preferred romantic persuasion, or just attempting to establish the most links to other webloggers in a popularity contest. Personally I see my online friends pester me to read the latest diary or blog entry they posted a moment ago, in the midst of an IRC or IM conversation; and I believe the interlinky lovefest syndrome that has grown up around blogging is somewhat well known.

    Maybe it's just me, but a well written Slashdot post or a thoughtful and edited essay on a personal website is preferable to the minute-by-minute ramblings that most blogs seem to encourage.

  • Will you livejournal folks stop being such sycophants? Blogger, Manila, etc. aren't competing with you. If someone chooses one tool over another don't take it personally. Stop bragging - makes you look worse than you are.
    OliverWillis.Com [oliverwillis.com]
  • Hey, you livejournal folks, instead of spamming up Slashdot - why don't you make a good product instead of slamming Blogger? Calling them the "Microsoft of Blogging" is just your pathetic effort to look like the little guy. Blogger is one guy now, and they come off a whole lot better than you...
    OliverWillis.Com [oliverwillis.com]
  • My comments assumed that the journal was available on the web for anyone to read. I completely agree there is value and no harm in keeping a private journal or, as you mentioned, as a way to interact with friends.
  • You forgot about scribble.nu [scribble.nu], livejournal.com [livejournal.com], pitas.com [pitas.com], opendiary.com [opendiary.com], and several others that aren't coming to me at the moment. I should point out that of course I'm not going to link to my competitors, that runs against the idea of promotion.

    I did help Avian Chaos with several slashdot-trolling programs, mostly because I thought they were nifty and useful. You can still get them, in fact, from http://awdang.com/slashgame/ [awdang.com]. There's three different versions of the slashgame, one unfinished version of the game in perl, and a few utilities for googlifying text and finding hidden sids.

    The scripts themselves can't take anything down except maybe Google. None of them automatically post anything to slashdot; they only look at slashdot or google, and print text to standard output.

    It's been a while since I looked at the number of diaryland users. Oh well.

    Stephen Deken.
  • I mean, what proof do we have that 6 million Jews were actually exterminated by the Nazis? My extensive revisionist research shows only three Jewish casulaties, and all of them were from a freak sauna accident at the Auschwitz Club Med.

    (note to the clueless: that was sarcasm)

  • I'm not psycotic >:)

    [shameless plug]

    www.suicideisfun.com [suicideisfun.com]

    That said, maybe it's just because all the happy people are too busy picking dasies and singing sweet songs about rays of sunshine. Seriously though, most creative writing (or anything that you would put up because someone else might actually take interest in it) comes out of depression or sheer boredom, because if you're riding high on the reigns of your ego, what's there to write about? How glorious the flowers look popping up on a hazy spring morn?

  • Hi everyone,

    I'm Stephen Deken, the creator of diary-x.com [diary-x.com], one of the sites listed in the article. I'd like to address some of the more common concerns that many /.ers are already raising in previous posts.

    The first thing people usually ask about online journals is "why would anyone want to keep an online journal?" The answer to that isn't simple, but it can be boiled down to the fact that writing about your problems helps you to overcome them. Many, many people (diary-x has around 4000 users, diaryland has about 20,000) find online journaling to be a very useful and theraputic service.

    The next question is usually "okay, but why online? Why not in a paper journal?" Again, the answer is complicated but it comes down to the ability to easily manage the journal - you can't shuffle pages with physical journals as you can with online journals. Not only that, but you have the added psychological bonus of being contacted by other people who have gone through the same things you're going through in your own life, without those people knowing exactly who you are.

    Another concern is about security. Journals on diary-x (as well as the other services) can be 'locked' if you're only wanting the service for the convienence, so only you, or the people you trust, can read your journal.

    People here seem to be giving an awful lot of flack to the spelling and grammar of many online journalers. Bear in mind that free services such as diary-x attract a very young, mostly non-net savvy user base -- the age of the user is what dictates the 'feel' of the journal. Most young people (by young I mean younger than 20 or so) don't look beyond themselves, and so yes, their journals are somewhat tedious.

    But as these same posters have pointed out, there are gems in the sand. To find the really great journals, you have to sift through the ones that don't live up to whatever your standards are - just like the rest of the internet.

    For further perusal, you can check out diary-x.com [diary-x.com], as well as my journal [diary-x.com] on it. Or, take a stroll through the member's lists [diary-x.com] if you want to try and find some of those gems.


    Stephen Deken
    awdang.com [awdang.com]
    diary-x.com [diary-x.com]
  • A nice history lesson on weblogs [rebeccablood.net].

    If you're interested in starting your own, there's a number of web apps that might help you, including Pitas [pitas.com] and Blogger [blogger.com].

    I keep my web log [whatdoesnotchange.org] as a way of recording what's going on with me for friends, parents, and myself. Sure, it's not particularly in-depth or personal, but looking back on it helps me place when events happened, and is a nice little digital record for me to look back on.

  • Personally, I would read an online journal if the person was interesting enough - like Linus or Alan Cox. Even then, I take what's in the so called journal with a grain of salt. If the journal were technically orientated I would be more inclined to read it - I mean if I want personal details I will watch some trashy TV show like Ricky Lake or Operah, and probably get more info than from an online journal.
  • by tbo ( 35008 )
    WTFC: Who The Fuck Cares?

    Really, most people have boring lives. Why would you want to read about someone else's life? Here's my guesses:

    1) You're a psycho stalker. [bad]
    2) Your life is even more boring. [bad]
    3) You're addicted to websurfing and you've already reloaded /. 73 times today. [very bad]

    if (your.reason == 1 || your.reason == 3)

    This is like distributedOprah or something, and, IMHO, is the best argument for net censorship :-)

    Moderators on the Cheap Crack: this is [+1, Funny], not [-1, Troll]
  • For this task I use NewsPro, a great and extensible, though limited in many ways, CGI script. What fun! Freely (as in beer at least) available at http://amphibian.gagames.com/newspro/ [gagames.com]. Have fun!

  • In November I decided, what the hell, I'll start a web server, [dyndns.org] and now I've made something I'm pretty proud of, all things considered. Fortunately I haven't posted every inane and stupid thing that happens to me as I go about my day, and try to leave it to entertaining things. In any case, starting a weblog sort of thing really has sparked a lot of interest at my high school.

    Or controversy, considering that I was really angry and swore at a school administrator and got suspended... That kind of sucked. Lot of First Amendment vs. respect anger there. And then a friend of mine quoted me [dyndns.org] and got suspended too.

    However in general I think that democratizing this sort of publishing is really positive, as long as it's not merely bitching about having a crummy day and so forth.

    I bought the domain thwart.net [thwart.net], hoping to make it into a sort of anarchial index of other people starting up weblog-type setups oriented around their friends, not just themselves. However I've been busy. :-( Could be cool though.


  • Amen. Yes, it's a good way to get a bitchfest out of your system. On the other hand, I just made a list of the top 5 things I'd want to rant about, and I find:

    one has a rather interesting NDA attached to it,
    one is regarding as-yet-unreleased writing I'm doing not free to talk about,
    two I'm not free to speak about because it's my reaction to somebody else's as-not-yet-public problem,
    and the last one I need to deal in a public forum with the author of the offending comments, not in a journal.

    Usually if I need to bitch, I do it on the IETF, Bugtraq, or NANOG mailing lists anyhow ;) If I can't address it in a forum like that, it's time to bend the ear of a friend, or pick up my '78 Ibanez Artist and crank it up for a few hours, and wish I had a Marshall stack, and a place I could actually crank it to where it sounded good....

  • Hey, I guess you could also use something like Phorum for this purpose also. Date logged entries, search capability... nice continuity while reading. Just structure everythign as a post. Still needs the hefty requirements, but hey, learning this stuff is fun :)
  • by SenshiNeko ( 142071 ) on Sunday February 25, 2001 @08:10PM (#403837)
    While targeted, topical, and intellectual collaborative weblogs can serve as a useful tool in disseminating information and fostering a community [metafilter.com], I'm of the opinion that most personal online journals are pointless [disobey.com] and/or worthless [wrongwaygoback.com].

    Yes, the majority of my online friends have jumped on this latest fad (establishing online diaries [opendiary.com] and blogs), but when I peruse them I primarily see just overhyped cookie-cutter angst and cries for sympathy on the diary side, with meaningless mental tidbits coupled with a race to establish the most feel-the-love linkylinks on the blog side.

    Thing is, I can't tell if the primary motivation for all these activities is more exhibitionism or narcissism. I have to agree with the above comment [slashdot.org] by ChuckFlynn when he says online journaling and blogging reinforce self-delusions of grandeur that your trivial day-to-day experiences are somehow relevant or helpful to the world; and the AC who pointed out they're usually 'self-centered unimaginative ramblings' with a limited and egotistical perspective.
  • Uhh, I think Inoshiro, K5's admin, stated everyone's general opinion quite well. From #kuro5hin on SlashNET...

    <Inoshiro_away> http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=01/02/26/02320 3&cid=18 <-- boooooo

    BTW: Nice troll.

  • Stephen King was once asked "Why do you choose such scary stories to write about?". He replied "What makes you think I have a choice in the matter?".

    Remember that it's still a bit of effort to start and maintain a journal - it's more work than just pissing and moaning with your buds over a beer at the local tavern. Almost everybody has issues, but most of us are able to find a friend, dump on them for 10-15 mins about what a total ***hole their boss was today, and get on with their lives. However, some people can't find a person to vent at, or find themselves unable to, or whatever. As a result, people won't start a journal unless they have a pressing need to vent about something.

    You haven't seen an online journal of a "sane person" because sane people by and large do not feel a need to vent their sanity. People with issues do feel a need to vent.

  • The problem with Blogger is that they are more interested in making a successful business model (which is going to be hard to do in this economy) than in helping the weblogging community. Unlike LiveJournal and Greymatter, Blogger's software is entirely proprietary, I believe.

    Evan Williams, the sole employee left at Blogger, put it this way after laying off all his employees: "I just had to drastically scale down the plan for immediate world domination." On Pyra's website, he puts it as wanting to "turn Blogger into a successful business. Not a hobby. Not a volunteer-run organization."

    Seems to me that Blogger is kind of the Microsoft of weblogs. I'm not saying their software sucks, but this is one relatively new software field where open source apps can become the dominant players, so choose wisely before weblogging really becomes important to people.

  • I'm Mark, the "All-things-business" manager of LiveJournal. If you are interested in learning more about LiveJournal, check out my reply here [slashdot.org].

    You also have an inaccuracy in your post. Livejournal has approximately 65,000 users... not 100,000... yet. Give it another 60 days.

  • I am Mark... I basically help run LJ. I can tell you that journals can be very good and very positive for the people who use them. I have known people who have used their journals to get over real problems in their lives, and have completely turned things around, so yes... I think they are very valuble. Many therapists would agree, since they have been recommending journals for a long time to deal with tough personal issues.

    Are they right for everyone? Probably not... but there is no reason that you have to use journals for exhibitionistic purposes, either. I use community based journals to organize events, get work on the site done, talk about special interests, and basically interact with my friends. So... what's the harm in that?! m.

  • It encourages people to whine and complain. In fact, I think this whole trend towards people communicating online about personal relationships is bad. I'd almost go as far as to say it is dangerous. Whether it is emailing long rants to friends, on public forums, or in these so called weblogs. It is not healthy.

    It also reminds me of a Slashdot article not so long ago, regarding the guy who said he would have found Ted Kazinski (or whoever) before the FBI given a little more time, based on the references to certain historical things, or the requisite knowlege to have certain insights (in other words, they could deduce where you were educated, where you grew up, and so on.) My point is that it will come back to haunt you one day, even if you are posting these things anonymously. Thats the thing about the Internet, what you post is here forever..

    Just today I was searching google on my real name and the first things that come up are Slashdot posts from 1998 (before we had user accounts), and they're posts Id rather not have prospective employers see in the future..

  • If you don't have a web browser that can even follow redirects, then what use could you possibly have for weblog software?

    All your event [openschedule.org] are belong to us.
  • It seems to be a characteristic of the "mainstream" media that they feel compelled to spout nonsense about thing regarding which they have not the slightest clue. This article reads as though the writer did a Google search on "weblogs" at 9 and had the article finished by 10. It has that "look what those wacky Internet people are doing now" look I've come to abhor.
    I'll bet / with my Net / I can get / those things yet.
  • God Bless Owen's soul. And then roast all these hypocritical Jim Rome wannab'es...
  • For one thing you completely miss the point that a blog can be anything you want it to be or need it to be. Does it have to be your innermost secrets? No. Can it be? Sure, how brave are you?

    I'll tell you how I use mine. [chronotope.com] It is a tool:

    • 3 years ago my wife lost her mind, abducted our daughter, and was finally restrained and taken away by the police to the mental ward. When all was said and done I had full custody and her mother had been in and out of the mental ward several times before bolting into the wild blue yonder. Throughout this entire ordeal I have used the internet as a place to post public documents relating events which have transpired between the ex and I. If I ever find myself needing to spend another 10's of thousands on litigation with her I will have a very long, very documented trail with which to protect myself.
    • I post fragments of my writing and even complete pieces. I am moving closer and closer to seeing writing as a sort of "open source" type of project. Increasingly I don't strictly believe in intellectual property and I use the web to think about this and to pass my work into something like public domain.
    • I use it as a catch all note pad. When I learn a new idiomatic phrase, or a word, or a fact or whatever happens to strike my fancy I can post it. Now instead of having to find something, after the fact, in scads of paper journals, notebooks, scraps, of paper, etc. I simply post it and then use that handy search engine to find it when needed.

    So frankly I don't give a damn whether anyone else finds value in it. It is my tool. It works pretty damn good and I have been doing it this way for 6 years with no apparent problems. (consistent backups - definately needed)

    Hope this helps fill the hole in your understanding.

  • With the outbreak of reality TV, it makes sense that people would like to read about other peoples lives.


  • My friends and I have become reliant on our email-based journals to keep up to date on what's happening in each others' lives. Not only do we find out the "i did this today" stuff, but its a unique chance to hear what your friends feel about things on a more personal level. All of our logs are also stored in databases and have php web interfaces for easy searching. Overall, creating our logs were very important decisions in our lives that really make us more cognicent individuals...
  • This is cool because we will have great historical documents about how real people lived. Often the people we have detailed historical records were rich or royalty. It is however, creating an enormous wealth of junk text on the web. Difficult to index, search, usually not what someone will look for.

  • by PhatKat ( 78180 ) on Sunday February 25, 2001 @05:14PM (#403852) Homepage
    If you're looking for some interesting reading, or maybe even a diary of your own, check out Diaryland [diaryland.com]. It is no surprise that you can have hours and hours of deep insight into the lives of tens, if not hundreds of people you will never want to meet. However, there are a few beacons out there. I ran into this one [diaryland.com] a while back. She's funny, interesting, and she has a consistent style. I ran into the site totally on accident, and it inspired me to start my own diary(My sig).

    Go start one today. Maybe no one is reading. Who cares? Dead tree journals are all right, but if nothing else, you can atleast html format one of these babies. Spill your guts. Or better yet, lie! Have fun and good writing.

    --Raymond Stray
  • I think the most annoying thing about the article is that it uses 'weblog' as a simple synonym for 'diary' or 'journal.' Not all 'blogs are personal journals (as has been strongly emphasized in discussions here), and in fact, as far as cranky old-timers on both sides are concerned, they're completely different. Weblogs in the original, traditional, Slashdot sense are focused on external content. Here's a link, here's what I think, what do you think. Diaries and journals, of course, were all introspective, focused on the author alone - thoughts, experiences, activities. The thing is weblog _tools_ made it easy for anyone to publish online. A link weblog could evolve over time into a journal, as the links and commentary fade and the 'what I ate today' stuff grows. And lots of people seized on weblog sites and scripts (i.e. Noah Grey's excellent and totally snubbed Greymatter) to publish journals from the get-go. I appreciate the link I found here to an essay on the "history of weblogs" (tracing the term back to 1997, and the first weblog to 1998). On the online journal side, an excellent site is the Online Diary History Project [diaryhistoryproject.com]. Both of these phenomenon, in my humble opinion, are a big part of the evolution of the Internet (or at least the preservation of the 'personal' and 'connections' element, versus corporate and commercial). We should keep track of how its immortalized by the 'mainstream.' Already I'm sure it's just semantics for some, but I just can't let go of these little distinctions...
  • Shouldn't that be more like..."with the interest people have in reading about other people's, it makes sense that someone would invent reality TV?"

    This is not a chicken-and-egg scenario... ;-)

  • Um, sort of.

    I like LiveJournal enough, but I find this slick coordinated "grass roots" promotional campaign a little trying... But anyway.

    LiveJournal facilitated JOURNALS, primarily, not WEBLOGS. LiveJournals may have been among the first sites in that vein, yes. You also have Diary-X, Diaryland, Opendiary, MyDearDiary... it goes on and on. Journals were of course built by hand since way back when - Carolyn Burke in 1995, Justin Hall, other names tossed around often.

    Meanwhile. 'Weblogs' as a term existed as far back as 1997, and really, Yahoo!'s primordial days as a list of links at Stanford back in 1994 (?) may have been the first. As far as that format of web publishing, Pitas and Blogger pretty much captured the masses. Independent scripts like NewsPro already existed, of course, and since then advanced scripts like Greymatter are spreading.

    1. History of Weblogs [rebeccablood.net]
    2. History of Online Journals [diaryhistoryproject.com]
  • Ever since Anne Frank did those daily posts on WWII.com back in the 40's... oh wait...

  • There's a few concerns posted on this. Its simple, don't read it. I have one of these, and its an outlet more than anything else. Yes, people tend to spout the same things over and over again. But these are normal people, not any type of celebrity. People are generally boring, its the way it is. I control what I put up there, some of it is a bit private, but noone's going to do be able to do anything with it really, since they don't know who I am. So there is no real point. It just is. Alot of it is for friends to read, for instance, livejournal caters to friends. So if you're not interested, just don't read it.
  • I'll never understand why people keep journals of any sort, and putting them up online is just asking for trouble. Big trouble.

    • Why would you want every lamer in the world to have access to your innermost secrets? Why would you want to expose yourself to that sort of voyeurism? At least when you keep a deadtree journal, you know who has access to it (at least until you die). When it's online, even access logs aren't much help.
    • You're opening youself up to cries of plagiarism, either by others or by you yourself (as you discover how others have plagiarized your work).
    • You're leaving an enormous e-papertrail for police and criminals alike to hunt you down and cause you anguish.
    • You're opening yourself up to pangs of self delusion and false pursuit of grandeur. Journals are an inherently narcissistic endeavor, labeling anyone who keeps one as a fool who cannot keep his mouth shut or who insists that others might find his experiences somehow relevant or helpful.
    • Ultimately, journals are an ill-advised use of resources and bandwidth. How many more enlightened endeavors could we pursue with all the diskspace and bandwidth that is currently devoted to online journals? Sites like kuro5hin.org [kuro5hin.org] waste far more space on users' diaries then they'll ever spend on actual useful articles and discussions.
    If it's worth doing, then it's worth doing right. If it's worth saying, then it's worth writing up using principles of correct grammar and elegant prose. Private journals are a haven for miscreants and illiterates in a world properly dominated by real journalists (such as our own Jon Katz). If you must insist on keeping one, then keep it offline where it belongs. Don't subject the rest of the world to your silly musings about anime or your latest unrequited teen crush.
  • I have several friends who use Blogger [blogger.com] to maintain their weblogs. While I do not care to publicize my life or observations online, nor would I expect anyone to be terribly interested in either if I did, it is a nifty application. If I were going to have a weblog, and who knows - never say never, I would use it.


  • Plus people would be so busy updating their own weblogs that they wouldn't have time to read anyone elses weblogs, which would defeat the purpose of publishing them on the internet in the first place.
  • Blogger, and other such easy-to-use services, are making journal publishing much easier and more convenient than it had been, and the wealth of bloggish material now available on the Internet is testament to that.

    What's really nice about blogs is that they make the Internet a more personal place. Rather than reading someone's list of, I don't know, favourite video games, we can read their diary. This is a direction that I'd really like to see the Net move in.

  • 2/25/01 - Today I was reading slashdot. It's all I really ever do. I was hoping that nice CmdrTaco would post a story just as I hit the refresh button (fp rocks!), but I missed again. I knew I should have learned to program that perl script! I posted more goatse today as an AC. That really ticks off everyone. Most people are scared to click on links in comments now. When will they ever learn that ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US! I also read that Shoeboy is also posting as an AC to protect his Karma. When will he learn that Karma aint that important (Taco said so in the FAQ, so it must be true!). My mom just told me I should go to bed. Sleep tight diary, and keep all my secrets safe.
  • I've been keeping somewhat of a journal (well, it's updated about twice a month) / observations on life / rant page for almost a year now, and even though nearly no one except people I tell about it have seen it, it's just good to know that I have someplace to put my writing. It's a creative output and nothing more, so let me respond to your points in a similar form, respectivly:

    • In most of the journals I've seen, the authors don't just come out and blantently state their secrets; they hide them in metaphors and such. They would be of no intrest if they just came right out and told their secrets. Besides, "every lamer in the world" won't see it, let alone understand it, or even care.
    • You're not writing a journal for money or recognition. Personally, I wouldn't like it if I was plagerized, but it's still better than having no presence at all (and besides, the lamer might actually give you credit and a link, therefore publicity).
    • Police = crim.... nevermind. >:) Well, honestly, if you divulge your plans to bomb the white house all over your website, you're an idiot and deserve what you get. Same thing if you're bragging of your 1337-ness. As for using the info for preditory purposes, I don't think anyone would go through the trouble when there are other ways of finding out information on a person.
    • Yes, self-delusion does seem to go hand in hand with putting your writing out there (especially if you recieve compliments), but it's really just a phase. I had it myself. Also, I don't think anything I write is "helpful"... it's not supposed to be. You're misguided (to say the least) if you look to online journals for advice and leadership.
    • The only thing on the internet that's a waste of bandwith is the marketing filth and hundreds of e-commerce sites, complete with pretty little flash graphics and streaming video. Comparativly, a few measily graphics and text are nothing in terms of bandwith use.
    If you don't like it, then you don't have to read it. That's all there is to it. No matter how poorly written, it's still stomeone's opinion put into so many words, and who are you to judge?

  • I have never used Blogger. I have always used raw HTML to update my site. (It's my sig, so go see it. It's mine, not yours, so don't tell me it sucks.) To this end, I coined the word "weblogger." To weblogger is to update a site labeled as a weblog by adding an entry to it, whether through the raw code, PHP, etc... Adding a journal entry to a web journal. To weblogger. Too much webloggering in the world. No, not enough.

    My weblog is filled with my thoughts on current issues, my life, those around me, etc. I think it's a nice, simple environment that you will either like for the information or hate for the lack of "stuff." I update it fairly often.

    My weblog's purpose is to provide me with memories of the present as the past in the future. (That's a good quote!) So, to this end, I try to convey what I feel about anything as I feel it in order to provide myself with an accurate history of my life later.

    Thoughts? Click the link below, and email me.

  • Don't anger the Jew community dude, they may sue you.
  • 6 billion weblogs, and if you searched Google, it would have a cache of every single one.

    On the one hand, that's almost a funny image.

    On the other hand, that's a very scary image.

  • What does JonKatz think about Online Journals? He's a writer after all, I'm sure he's got a few opinions about it.
  • uh... scratches head, has it occured to you that by posting to this forum, you beg the question? Now that you're on the psychos who posts online, maybe you can answer your own question. Maybe the people you're meeting are a function of how you go about meeting them.
    I'll bet / with my Net / I can get / those things yet.
  • In case it's not unbeleivably obvious to everyone, Slashdot is a weblog (not to mention others like NetSlaves [netslaves.com] and so on). Yeah, it's not the rantings of an angst ridden 13 year old, but who said weblogs have to be personal? I started up my weblog [dowler.com] to post up news and pictures for family members who couldn't come to my wedding earlier this year and because Blogger [blogger.com] makes it very easy to do so. It quickly evolved past that. The response included old college friends turning up in the discussion forum and some good technical discussions with total strangers. I've kept a website for 5 years, and never had that kind of response. Now some friends from my writing group have approached me about setting up a literary zine online through Blogger. It seems clear to me that weblogs are one of the main ways that people are going to use the web to communicate. Blog on!
    I'll bet / with my Net / I can get / those things yet.
  • The couple of online diaries that I read aren't anything like that at all. Alan Cox's diary [linux.org.uk] is mainly about the linux stuff that he's working on or some other project at home. His wife's diary [linux.org.uk] can be down right hilarious at times (the recent mouse problem, why did Alan buy 5 alarm clocks off ebay, etc.). She sometimes has links to pages with pictures of the conferences that they attend.

  • A few comments:

    1) I have a journal. I do it because I enjoy writing about my life. What's so freakin' complicated?

    2) The article missed some of the more important figures in this whole journalling thing: justin hall (links.net) Derek of fray, Kottke, Megnut, etc. I don't know any of the people, but I know of them, because...

    3) this article has been done to death, and they're always freakin' mentioned.

    Note: the fall of Pyra Labs was excluded from the article, as were any links to the services. Is MSNBC run by retards?

  • People here seem to be giving an awful lot of flack to the spelling and grammar of many online journalers. Bear in mind that free services such as diary-x attract a very young, mostly non-net savvy user base...

    Yeah, after all, net-savvy users (like the ones who post to Slashdot) are the model of perfect spelling and grammer. :-)

  • You're right. Mr. Flynn is a troll trying to be both. My apologies.
  • Your history lesson isn't accurate.

    In June of 1998, Brad Fitzpatrick created a method to update an online weblog without having to manually upload files to his website, bradfitz.com. At first, his solution was fairly primative, using a simple web-based client. Eventually, Brad shared this method with a few friends, and created livejournal.com. On March 18th, 1999, Brad created a software client to post his journal from. You can read the post here.

    LiveJournal soon had hundreds of users and multiplied in size rapidly. Brad, never really promoted the site much, so it took awhile to catch on outside of the Pacific Northwest. He never tried to make Livejournal into a commercial entity unlike Blogger and Pitas/Diaryland. Since then, we have changed (and grown) a lot in a short amount of time. The site is now much more of a community-driven site and largely run by over 100 volunteers. We currently have around 65K users, doubling in size about every three months. We are financially supported by about 1300 members, and have received about $30K in funding for server upgrades and colocation costs over the last 5 months or so.

  • 60 days?!?!? If we just got /.ted, I'd cut that in half, if not more! (but then, I'm biased. Mine [livejournal.com] is at LiveJournal... I've even paid them!)
  • by tbo ( 35008 )
    Does nobody have a sense of humour anymore? This is the second time [slashdot.org] in the past two days that I've been moderated down for disagreeing with the story in a humorous way.

    I even tried to explain things to the crack-impaired moderators this time, just in case they didn't clue in to the fact that I was kidding. Sadly, they just don't care.
  • At the place I work for, we have thousands of them here [ukc.ac.uk]

  • http://www.devnull.org/cgi-bin/user/browse.pl [devnull.org]

    It's got support for multiple authors, and groups, etc. and I intend to whip comments for each entry soon as well (and put some actual design in the HTML).

    It doesn't really have much in it now but I'm slowly starting to fill it up.

    A mind is a terrible thing to taste.

  • I've found that, without exception, people that I "meet" online have issues. Usually they're only mildly messed up, looking for quick sex or a tease, sometimes they have serious problems, MPD, schitzo, family issues, and such.

    Most of the online journals I've seen tend to reflect this. Usually people tend to be griping about what's wrong in their lives, the same problems over and over.

    Perhaps this is because the internet is an easy means to a constructive outlet, a way to deal with thier issues. Any way, I can't say I've seen one online journal of a person who can easily be regarded as sane. Anyone else notice this?

  • I would like to have an online journal or a rants page, but I end up wasting too much time editing my webpage [peterswift.org] and reuploading it and stuff that I tend to ignore it and only update it every now and then. Is there and easy, updateable through browser cgi script or something that I could use? I need something that is fairly simple to setup and use (slashcode is out. :) Just a little CGI script or something that would allow me to update my page through IE or netscape without any real hassle. Any ideas?

  • I had an online journal for a while, and the problem that I had with it was that it was difficult being honest in it. I mean, if your life involves the people who would most likely read your journal, you can't exactly be completely up-front, can you? I'd write, sometimes not the most flattering things, and they'd get pissed. Private journals have their merits, too...
  • "There are 6 billion people on the planet, and if everyone on the planet had a Weblog, we'd be better off."

    6 billion weblogs, now that would be a nightmare. Can you imagine all the server space??
  • I have friends who for some reason are into reality TV, soap-operas, entertainment gossip, and what not. As I say to them, "Are your lives really that dull and empty that this is interesting?" (and yes, I realize the irony of posting that to /.)

    Of course, then they start in with the "My name's Rodg, I design software." stuff from the Comcast commercial.

    Hey wait, they're not laughing with me... They're laughing AT me! Next time I see one of those friends of mine I'm going to punch them in the back of the head! And I'll post the video of it online so I can be in a MSNBC story! It'll be the highlight of my life!!
  • Yeah... about 3 years ago I saw some fucking stupid movie with my girl friend of the time... it was called "Home Page"... It was a terrible docu-geeker about Justin Hall. Some zero nobody who got outta the gate first with the web and was a little more respected than most techno zeros. Anyhow... I have to hand it to him the movie did make me goto his web page if not to check it out then to see the nude pix of his girl friends... muahahaha.. So anyway... the link is

    http://www.links.net/ [links.net]

    and it's been around since 1994!! Well thats according to NSI.com... so wouldn't Slashdot be considered one of these Bloggers?
    what a fucking waste of time if you ask me...

  • Not since Signal 11 or Shoeboy has there been a more vociferous troll. I wonder, are you going to make a grand a mark on /. lore?

    Some people write these things for all the reasons people have already mentioned (lame, weird, etc). Others do it for good reasons: I do it because I like writing, and the more I write, even if its just "how my day went" or "why I hate Taco Bell", the more likely I'll get something good out of it. The Muse comes not during preparation, but during construction.

    So there.
  • 'Nuff said.
  • While a daily journal of Joe Blow's Average Life is about as interesting as... well, Joe Blow's Average Life, that doesn't mean that we don't all have our moments.

    Take me, for example. I'm about as Joe Blow as you get... (er, except my name is Noah). Yeah, I aspire to be a writer and artist, but right now I'm a video store clerk working for minimum wage. Who would want to read MY journal?

    However, last summer, I threw away my old life and decided to bike across Canada (second largest country in the world, eh?). I took a handheld computer with me (PSION 5) which I used to write a daily journal, keep my maps, and interviews with strangers along the way, as well as access to the internet.

    The entire trip took about four months. Now THAT is a journal I think people might be interested in reading. I didn't know about or have access to what we're talking about, so I had to suffice myself with emailing my friends and family on a semi-regular basis (whenever I could use a phone jack).

    But now it's back to Jow Blow Average Life, for the time being, anyways. Maybe next year I'll bike to Mexico...

  • Well, here you go [linux.org.uk], (Alan Cox's daily journal).
  • While I admit that many if not most online journals can be tiresome to read, I would hardly call them either pointless are useless. Here are some of the plusses of online journaling for the average person.

    1. Maybe they'll learn something. I manage an online journaling community and have met relative novice web users who have gotten journals... suddenly, they're all curious about basic html, design, writing, etc. Next thing I know, they start to have a site as good as mine... which leads me to think that they have entirely too much time on their hands. Soon enough, they become useful, confident members of our community and have some talents that are actually of value in this world.

    2. They become a part of the user base. Like it or not, every successful website needs a user base. In LiveJournal's case, we're member supported, so more users = potential paying members. Gotta keep those servers humming.

    3. Their posts are of interest to people other than yourself. Did it ever occur to you that someone might write a journal for a reason other than to entertain you? Maybe they do it for personal reasons, or maybe they do it as a way of sharing their lives with their friends. Either method is valid and is of interest to the right person.

    4. Journals breed familiarity. When even marginal writers create a journal, it allows others a chance to know them, determine if they are of interest, and basically feel like there is a real person on the Internet somewhere connected to their posts. This is important, because it creates a stronger community. I think most people are kind of sick of the anonymous nature of so much of the Internet. Take Slashdot, for example. How many stupid posts would never be written if the author realized that their posts might actually be >>gasp! associated with how people perceive them. Everyone and their dog complains about how "the Government is going to search the web and find out all about me." Which begs the question: do you really think the Feds care about you? They can't even prevent spying in the highest levels of the FBI, where they can use routine polygraph tests! Rather than complain about injustices you can't prove, why not complain about the real injustices we all deal with daily, like having to read painfully bad posts? Know all the fine details of my life... fine. I have nothing to hide. Just don't expose me to stupidity.

  • I'm a contributor to a medieval enthusiast journal in the province of Quebec. It's a non-profit journal for historic and recreation information and activities.

    We dont have a large audience, but we do manage to print and distribute 1000 copies of this journal, four times a year.

    We always put extracts of past issues on the web [esplumoir.com]. (Pages in french.)

    After a brief survey of our readers, we came to the conclusion that the print edition would remain, and that only some extract would be posted on the web. It turns out that most of them prefer to have a hard copy to read just about anywhere.

    They DO, however, want more info on the web, such as statistics of the issues, complete index etc.

    Karma karma karma karma karmeleon: it comes and goes, it comes and goes.
  • Is MSNBC run by retards?

    heh ... is that rhetorical? ;)
  • two of my friends set out on foot two weeks ago hitch-hiking to where ever they feel the need. they walked 30 and hitched 90 miles in the first 24 hours of their trip. anyway, they just made it to new orleans for mardi gras saturday morning and their entire 3-4 month journey is being posted online at www.mikeandjr.com
  • I would argue that this forum is not a diary, it is more a forum for discussion of topics that relate directly to my career. In fact, I make a point of keeping my personal and professional lives separate as much as possible.
  • I have a friend who's had an online journal since 1996.

    And as a member of Saucybard.com [saucybard.com], I was one of their cadre of site reviewers... mostly a lot of sites from teen domains [plastique.org] (or angsty teen domain owners [frostylips.com] or hostees [oubliette.nu]).

    And it's not so much "people are voyeurs" but "people find the internet a medium in which they can rant/rave/bare their souls to comfortably". Some of it is the anonymous aspect-- how many of your site visitors do you see in person?-- and some of it is just the fact that some people are very open about themselves.

    Hell, I'm even guilty of it myself [saucybard.com]. (Nothing from this year uploaded yet, because I'm trying to recover them from my old HD. ^_^;;

  • They did not even mention how this would affect cyberstalkers.. usually when one of the mainstream news companies do features like this, they tend to make the average net user look like a freakish pervert..

    kudos to msnbc

  • Check out http://www.ilind.net [ilind.net]

    Summary: This guy is a reporter for a newspaper that is about to be shut down after over 100 years of publishing, reporting from the inside on the mood of a paper that's about to go under. Suddenly, the community rises up and sues the paper to keep it publishing! They're forced to search for a buyer, and miraculously, even in this market a buyer is found! The paper is saved! And then the journalist finds out he's gonna be let go by the new buyers because of all the bad things he said about the paper in his journal...

  • by PhatKat ( 78180 ) on Sunday February 25, 2001 @05:26PM (#403897) Homepage
    I'm sorry you don't see the fun in it. My suggestion to you would be, bluntly, to lighten up a little. Journals are as open to the world or as closed to it as you want. You can make them accessible to everyone, you can make them accessible only to yourself. Password protect them if you want, and only give the pw to your friends. If you're afraid of people knowing too much, don't write too much.

    I'm not saying you should start a journal. It doesn't sound like you'd have very much fun with it. But don't suggest it's a waste of time. Slashdot, arguably, is a waste of time. That rant of yours, arguably, is a waste of time. No one is forcing their opinions on you unless you decide to read their opinions.

    And as for "plagarism" who cares! It's a diary! I hope someone would quote me if they used my writing, but more than anything else, I'd be flattered that they thought it was good.

    Jon Katz writes to an audience, so I can see how some of your claims make sense with him. But the nice thing about slashdot is it allows you to turn off Jon Katz, which I have. Don't bemoan free expression. Not even stupid free expression. Do what I do. Ignore it.
  • Thank you for that post. You've summed up exactly what I've always thought of web-journals and most personal homepages (there are some useful and informative ones out there).

    If I had mod points right now, they'd be yours.
  • I do agree with several of your points, however, I object to your last paragraph. A person cannot selectively choose what belongs and doesn't on the internet. Although fully accesible, open journals do have big caveats, which you well pointed out, if people know about the risk they're taking, the fact that anyone can read it, and the fact that whatever they write could come back to haunt them (although i don't really think online journals are valid as evidence...), if they want to keep them, go right ahead. The rest of us can just keep a daily vi journal...

It is not for me to attempt to fathom the inscrutable workings of Providence. -- The Earl of Birkenhead