Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Countdown the Weekend Without Echoes

Beginning on Friday July 21st, and running through Sunday 23rd, a somewhat eclectic group of bloggers in Virginia has volunteered to participate in an experiment. During that three-day period they will post original material only on their blogs.

The experiment, called Weekend Without Echoes, is a project that will have those bloggers playing by rules that will limit them mostly as they see fit. The spirit of the adventure is to challenge writers to draw upon their own experience to make their points, political, or otherwise. However, this is more about posting original content than it is about some strict set of guidelines.

Bloggers are not all writers. But they are all publishers. Similarly, they are editors, of a sort. So, if a blogger posts original material created by someone else -- material they have the proper rights to use -- that is not otherwise widely available, that would not be out of bounds in my book.

In my first post on this subject I wrote: “...It would be a weekend vacation from copying, and piling on, and talking points ... a weekend without calling everyone with whom one disagrees a “liberal,” or a “conservative,” as if those are dirty words.” By that I was calling for a copycat moratorium for three days. I would hope that would mean we’ll see posts that have partisans telling us in their own words why they lean the way they do on an issue, or candidate. That, instead of a lot of name-calling.

There’s no policeman for this project. Either one will follow the spirit of the project to the best of one’s ability or one will not. Perhaps a participating blogger has a good idea of how we can best collect and display the work that’s posted, or perhaps the best of it, in some fashion that will make it accessible to all.

Some sort of Weekend Without Echoes carnival, or page somewhere?

During the experiment, I hope we’ll see posts that rely less on links to stories on other blogs, or to mainstream media, to tell their story. Links used to provide background, or to act as footnotes are fine, but the bulk of the commentary should be original material, instead of merely linking to commentary from someone else. I hope we’ll be reading some firsthand news stories, seeing some original art and hearing some original sounds, too. Still, when this thing got started it was my main intention to challenge writers to write, not just type. Not just cut, edit and paste. No rewriting. Writing.

The experiment has drawn some criticism. No surprise there. Some people are always afraid of doing anything different from the pack. Others perhaps view a call for originality as a put-down of their style of blogging. Others have said they already do original material, so they see no need for such an experiment. Fine. Some folks are happy eating and drinking the same things, all the time. Others like to take a chance on something different, a new taste every now and then.

Will you join the 31 participating bloggers? (Updated: at 145 p.m., July 21)

The list below displays the Virginia bloggers who have contacted Vivian Paige (she is maintaining a list of the willing in her blog's sidebar), or me, by email, or by their comments in posts on our blogs to indicate they will participate in the three-day experiment. Yes, and that’s all you have to do to be added to this list:

Vivian J. Paige; Bryan J. Scafford - Ambivalent Mumblings; Jerry Griffin - VB Dems; Waldo Jaquith; Conaway Haskins - South of the James; J.C. Wilmore - The Richmond Democrat; Jason Kenney - J's notes; Marijean Jaggers - StLWorkingMom; Alton Foley - ImNotEmeril; Chris Green - Spank That Donkey; Shaun Kenney; Jennifer L. McKeever - Jennifer's Charlottesville; Rick Sincere - Rick Sincere News and Thoughts; Claire Guthrie Gastanaga - ChangeServant; Charles - TwoConservatives; James Atticus Bowen - Deo Vindice; Melissa and Kristen - Monstrosity; Del. Kris Amundson and Del. Bob Brink - 7 West; Semi Truths; Thomas Krehbiel - The Krehbiel Strikes Back; Craig Vitter - Craig’s Musings; Don Harrison -- Save Richmond; Sisyphus; Ben Tribett - Not Larry Sabato; Adam Sharp - The Daily Whackjob; Mosquito Blog; David - Equality Loudoun; Bill Garnett - The Mind of God; Anonymous Is A Woman; Mitchell Cumstein - Too Conservative ;


Anonymous said...

I recently, partly inspired by the Weekend Without Echoes™, posted an interview with Richmond's Pete Humes.

Long live original content.

Karen Duncan said...


I do wish you luck with the Weekend Without Echoes. I hope you realize my criticism was not directed at you for trying to do something to improve the blogosphere.

But my anger was directed at the journalists at the Blogging Conference for their presumption that bloggers should cover the "important stories" that they couldn't. At least that's the impression I got - and I admit it was a secondhand impression as I was not at the conference.

I took it to mean that they were challenging bloggers, many of whom are amateurs, to try their hand at investigative reporting because the professional reporters' own editors and publishers would not allow them to do the stories that they know are out there.

I still remain skeptical of the notion that all bloggers need to conduct their blogs like newspapers or that they need to do reporting.

I suspect that's what the journalists wanted from us. But I am getting that that may not be what you, Vivian and others intend.

I am for original content. I am especially for a better blogosphere. But I am not for professional journalists trying to tell us what it should be until after they do their own jobs better.

As for you and your experiment, I do support that. Wholeheartedly. After all, who could be against improving the quality and originality of the blogosphere. We all benefit from that - and I mean our readers too.

F.T. Rea said...


I appreciate your comments.

-- Terry