I’ve tried to avoid writing about weblogging on this weblog. I tend to be a little suspicious when a new medium is as self-obsessed as weblogging is with itself, and so I’ve mostly focused on writing about other things in my life, despite the fact that I find weblogs — the personal expressions, the social networks, the grotesque hyperbole — endlessly fascinating. Eventually, though, something comes along that makes me break my own rules and get all metabloggy. (Ew, that’s not a pretty word.)

Jason Kottke is living the dream: he announced today that he has quit his job to become a full-time weblogger. This is certain to lead to much punditry over the next few weeks, as people discuss the joys of quitting, the economics of pledge drives vs. advertising, and the inevitable rise of the blogotariat. (Or whatever horrible word they come up with next; I still cringe at “blogosphere.”)

As anyone who spends too much time reading weblogs knows, bloggers are well on their way to bringing down the entire media hierarchy; after the revolution, all information and opinion will be free, and every blogger will be famous for 15 minutes, where “fame” is defined as “cracking the Technorati Top 100” — rule by linkocracy. (All right, I’ll stop with the B.S. neologisms. Although if any of these catch on, remember: you heard them here first!)

Yes, I’m exaggerating about weblogs being the all-encompassing wave of the future. Still, they are wonderful things: expressionistic, diaristic epistles to the world. Those of you who remember the days when the web was young may remember how exciting it was to build your first home page, to make something that everyone (well, the few people with Internet access) could see, and to create connections between yourself and others. There was this idea back then that everyone would soon have their own home page, and that the whole global village thing would snap cleanly into place soon after.

It didn’t turn out to be that easy, of course: the mechanisms were in place, but the tools were more complicated than people liked, and the pure blank canvas of an empty page proved to be a pretty big hurdle for people to get over. Weblogs have changed that. They’re really just the same home pages we were making ten years ago, but with a little more structure and much simpler tools.

Suddenly it seems like everyone’s hopping on the bandwagon, but it doesn’t have that “this isn’t cool anymore” feeling that usually comes with sudden popularity for a formerly obscure hobby. Instead, it’s exciting and inspiring to see people obsessing over their favorite baseball teams, or describing what they had for dinner, or dressing like Ronald McDonald. (I pulled that last link out of Kottke’s remainders.)

Now we have someone making a full-time living from his weblog. It’s not something that just anyone can pull off. Kottke has a chance of making it because he’s one of the original A-List bloggers, and his site is viewed by approximately 18 gumptillion people a day. He’s also intelligent and well-written and kinda cute, and none of those things hurt his case. Over the next few weeks, though, people are going to be talking and thinking about blogging as a money-making proposition — hell, I’m looking at my site statistics right now, and wondering how many more readers I would need to draw in order to go indie-pro (answer: approximately 17.99 gumptillion).

Hm. That last paragraph was starting to sound like sour grapes. That’s not what I was going for.

I’m excited to see Kottke make the leap into a new realm. I’m just not looking forward to another round of people making lots of noise about weblogs being this great big honkin’ thing, when in fact, the great thing about them is that they’re not a great big honkin’ anything. They’re a whole lot of little honkin’ things, made by little honkin’ people, one of whom happens to be willing to try to make a little honkin’ living off of it. Kottke understands this when he says that “kottke.org will also not become any less personal or any more professional;” he’s not going pro so much as getting paid to stay amateur, which is why what he’s doing is so great. I hope others recognize that.