Book Review

The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog

By James McNally

The first of an expected flood of books about blogging, this is also bound to be one of the smartest. Rebecca Blood was one of the first to start a weblog, launching “Rebecca’s Pocket” in 1999. More importantly, Blood is a fiercely intelligent and incisive thinker on the subject, and having met her, I know that this book has been forged in the crucible of many many hours of conversations with fellow bloggers.

The germ of this book was surely Blood’s article “Weblogs – A History and Perspective,” which she published on her site in 2000. Knowing that she has been thinking about these issues for so long is reassuring, as is her friendly and open writing style. The practical advice given to the neophyte weblogger is useful enough, though most of the other books will cover that aspect.

However, I would revise the subtitle of the book to read “The Theory and Practice of Weblogging.” I’ve read advance chapters of some of the other books on blogging, and no one else delves as deeply into the meatier aspects than Blood. Ethics, etiquette, the debate over “weblogs as journalism,” the self-reflection of the burgeoning weblog “community”: all these subjects and more fall under the purview of this surprisingly dense little book.

Another pleasant surprise is the price. Rather than another graphics-heavy “how-to” computer book, complete with $50 price tag, this is a book packed with insights for under $20. Grab this one before the flood of “me-too” books arrive. You’ll be glad you spent your money on this rather than “Blogging for Dummies.” Trust me.

The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog
by Rebecca Blood
Perseus Publishing, 2002, 208pp.