John pointed me to an article entitled “What We’re Doing When We Blog” by A-lister Meg Hourihan. I agree with most of what she says, but I disagree with the importance of timestamps on each post. Meg argues that seeing the exact time a weblog was updated allows the visitor to experience a sense of being “there” at the same time as the author and of having a real-time conversation. Long-time visitors will remember that I used to have timestamps, and indeed, they’re stored in the database for every post I’ve ever made. It’s a conscious choice not to show them. It started because I used to blog from work, and I decided it wouldn’t be prudent for people within the company to see how often I was doing it. I would guess that this is the case for most bloggers (who aren’t A-listers making a career out of this hobby). Even more importantly, what time zone do I use? I’m located in Australia, my server is located in the United States, and my visitors are located everywhere. Even if a reader hits the site two minutes after I post, what are the odds that they’re going to instantly be able to calculate the time difference? Meg’s idea that timestamps allow for a “powerful connection” only works if author and reader are in the same country. I suppose I could analyze visitors’ IP addresses and try to adjust the timestamps on the fly, but how accurate would that be? For us international types, it’s just more hassle than it’s worth.

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