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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, December 3, 2005

Blogosphere gets design district of its very own

By Jeff Turrentine
Washington Post

For people obsessed with design, the advent of design-focused Web journals, or blogs, has been a wonderful and terrible development.

Wonderful because these idiosyncratic Web sites, in which specific and frequently updated content is filtered through an individual blogger's sensibility, give devotees an opportunity to indulge their obsession at the click of a computer mouse. Terrible because, as anyone who has ever discovered a favorite blog already knows, the impulse to hit the "refresh" button every five minutes to see what has been posted most recently can take over one's life, putting things like social calendars and professional advancement in peril.

In the past few years, blogs such as Apartment Therapy (www.apartmenttherapy.com), Design*Sponge (www.designsponge.blogspot.com), Funfurde (www.funfurde.blogspot.com) and MoCo Loco (www.mocoloco.com) have emerged to constitute a bona-fide design district within the blogosphere, the collective noun denoting all the blogs to be found on the Internet. (Estimates of how many blogs exist vary absurdly, with some analysts guessing around 3 million, others closer to 30 million.)

Think of the typical design blog as equal parts bulletin board, cocktail party, garage sale and aesthetic manifesto. On any one of them, a visitor might find a sequence of posts celebrating a new line of furnishings from a major retailer, soliciting opinions on a coffee table, advertising a sofa for sale and decrying a new building that has been ballyhooed by the architectural press. Upon discovering a design blog, you'll likely be directed to others that are similar to it via internal links; once that has happened, you're helplessly, happily stuck in the Matrix, and there's no getting out.

"They're a great interactive resource," says interior designer Ky Ta of Washington. By posting questions on blog comment boards, he says, "you can basically leverage the entire design community to solve problems."

Recently, Apartment Therapy started letting people submit cell-phone photos of whatever catches their eye "a cool couch, a great design on a tile floor, anything really," says Slater. The pics appear in series of four with brief comments by the photographers. The pictures appear instantly, and are bumped only when new ones arrive.

This immediacy, says MoCo Loco blogger Harry Wakefield, truly sets blogs apart from traditional media.