Would Chen Shui-bian Blog?

(Apple Daily)  An interview with Richard Lee Chi-tung (李家同), professor, Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, National Chi-Nan University in Taiwan.  August 15, 2006.

[in translation]

Q: On the Internet, it is trendy to write blogs.  What do you think?

A: What is a blog?  Is it something that you write for yourself?  I know that other people can go and read it, but I cannot believe that anyone would do that.  There are several billion people in the world.  Whose blog shall I go and look at?  So I think that most people just write for themselves.

Q: Do you know any friends or students who write blogs?

A: No.  Even if a student of mine writes a blog, it would be for himself to read.  Who would go and read a student's blog?  Most of my friends are professors of computer science and information engineering, so I doubt that anyone of them has a blog.  We are too busy even to deal with our own stuff and do research.  Or else we write articles and submit them for publication.  I am not going to read anything published on a blog.  Where will I find the time?  For the important things, I will go to the important websites.  Why would I go someone's personal website?  I can't stand going to see someone talking to themselves.

Q: Your articles are frequently forwarded.  Would your friends forwards articles by others to you?

A: I heard that my articles are frequently forwarded, but I don't know the details.  As for stuff forwarded to me by others, there is not a lot.  I don't know why.  Actually, I pay more attention to printed paper.  Using the Internet to forward articles is not the way to publish.

Q: The traditional print media has limited space, but Internet publications can be forwarded in large numbers and break this type of limitation.  Do you agree?

A: Well-written articles get forwarded.  When an article is poorly written, who is going to forward it for you?  To claim that there is only limited space means that the article wasn't very good.  If someone thinks that he writes good articles, then I don't what to say to him.  There must be a lot of such people.

If so many people are blogging, are they having fun with themselves?  There are so many great writers out there, so why don't you go and read them instead?  You see, President Chen Shui-bian is not going to blog, right?  Even if he did, it would be for publicity only and therefore not a good read?  American president Bush is not going to blog, right?  Movie star Tom Cruise is not going to blog, right?

Alright, so only nobodies blog.  So which one of them do you want me to read?  In the end, there is nothing good to read and so we must write for ourselves.  I think that the good thing about blogging is that it can make oneself feel very glad and happy.

Q: Is publishing an essay on a blog a form of publication?

A: It does not count as publishing.  You write it and you post it, but why is that publishing?  Publishing means that someone has seen it, someone thinks that it is good and then it gets published.  Then that would be publishing.  If you write it and post it on your own front door, it does not count as publishing.

For example, a person may jump up but that does not mean that he can claim to jump very high because he has never been in competition.  I play good basketball, but I never compete; if you like, you can come and watch me play.  Who is going to come?  Any text that has not been reviewed may not necessarily be meaningless, but there is too much of that stuff.  How can you ask everybody to read it?

If this were the case, then everybody under the sun is a writer, right?  Even elementary school students can write stuff and post on their blogs, right?  If this is the case then I don't have an opinion.  You can write for yourself, but you should not complain that nobody is reading what you wrote, right?  I am just curious.  Does anyone read that stuff?