Referential V. Experiential

Greg Knauss picked up the Kottke.org slack for Jason Kottke, while Jason was off on honeymoon. The experience led Knauss to the following observations.

There are two kinds of bloggers, referential and experiential. Kottke is one. I, now two weeks too late in realizing this, am another.
The referential blogger uses the link as his fundamental unit of currency, building posts around ideas and experiences spawned elsewhere: Look at this. Referential bloggers are reporters, delivering pointers to and snippets of information, insight or entertainment happening out there, on the Intraweb. They can, and do, add their own information, insight and entertainment to the links they unearth — extrapolations, juxtapositions, even lengthy and personal anecdotes — but the outward direction of their focus remains their distinguishing feature.
The experiential blogger is inwardly directed, drawing entries from personal experience and opinion: How about this. They are storytellers (and/or bores), drawing whatever they have to offer from their own perspective. They can, and do, add links to supporting or explanatory information, even unique and undercited external sources. But their motivation, their impetus, comes from a desire to supply narrative, not reference it.

In other words, referential bloggers are editors, whereas experiential bloggers are writers. And in many cases the two overlap, as they do here.
Kottke adds this telling piece to Knauss’ thinking:

At a party a couple of years ago, I was talking to Nick Denton and he was puzzled by the number of bloggers who were getting book deals and told me that “the natural upgrade path for bloggers is from blogging to editing, not to writing”.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.