Opinion: The top 10 best-written blogs
Among all the garbage in the blogosphere are gems like these
Computerworld - A personal diary, the latest tech gossip, new Web sites of note, hypertext links to upcoming Apple products -- there's a blog for just about every topic under the sun, and the quality of these daily journals is all over the map.
Many are, quite literally, written by young adults who still live with their parents. Many are just a collection of juicy links. Yet, there's a handful of well-written, well-edited and exceptionally literate blogs. This top 10 list includes a few surprises, such as Download Squad -- a site that covers new software, but always seems to write with enthusiasm -- and a few (such as the personal blog of Roger Ebert) that should probably win journalism awards. See "What makes a blog worthwhile?" for my criteria.
1. Real Dan
Dan Lyons is the print journalist who created the Fake Steve Jobs blog. His new blog, called Real Dan, isn't nearly as entertaining but is just as well written.
It's clear that the best blogs are often written by people who have a background in journalism and writing. As a blogger, Lyons has one important skill: He can write about a dry subject with wit and character, and will often drop an off-handed comment that catches you off-guard, such as a post where he commented on the Bloomberg obituary on Steve Jobs that was released prematurely (Jobs is alive and well).
More recently, he also had some fun with a report about Jobs and a bizarre bicycle accident (complete with hilarious photo) and Jobs reportedly having a heart attack.
Lyons has an ability to make technology subjects interesting to those who don't follow every Apple press release, or who don't even read blogs. "I think my blog originally caught on because of the rabid Apple fanboy base," said Lyons by e-mail. "They were the first to start reading the blog and spreading the word. Eventually, the audience went beyond fanboys and tech weenies. I guess because it was funny even to people who didn't know that much about the tech industry."
2. Roger Ebert
Movie critic Roger Ebert started blogging not too long ago, and the result is one of the best-written journals around.
His thoughtful posts sometimes shift away from movies, but his best entries -- like this one about the use of nondigital effects in movies and this one about how the U.S. Postal Service removed a cigarette from the image of Bette Davis -- are usually the most literate and worth reading. Equally entertaining are the comments from readers, which are about the best you will see on a blog, often including nuggets of trivia from movies.
3. Rough TypeRough Type is the personal journal of author Nicholas Carr, who has written about Web 2.0, cloud computing and about how Google might be making us think less and search for every answer online.
Most posts reference his magazine articles and books, but they are thoughtful and insightful on their own as well. "People get bored pretty quickly with sloppy writing and sloppy thinking, and that's true whether you're publishing online or in print," Carr told me by e-mail and, as always, he makes a good point.
Stringing together a sentence with a strong noun and verb combination might not seem all that difficult, but many bloggers write like they are on the school bus using a crayon.
GeekDad assumes you actually want to read more than 50 words and is not afraid to post long explanations about how to build a tepee in your backyard or discussions about a new prototyping show on the Discovery Channel or video games as art.
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