Unexpected gift

Yesterday I attended a talk by Chuck Will, Director of Communications at Proctor Academy. Chuck documents the daily life of Proctor through photographs and essays at Chuck’s Corner.
Though missing telltale signs like permalinks and the white on orange XML button, Chuck’s Corner is very much a weblog. The site is updated every few days and contains prodigious archives dating back to 1999. Most importantly, Chuck’s Corner relates an ongoing, thoughtful, personal perspective on life at a New Hampshire prep school.
But I’m not writing to praise the blog. The hidden gift is Chuck. He’s not a technologist. He doesn’t use market leading weblog software. He probably doesn’t send Weblogs.Com pings, syndicate his site, or read other blogs in a news aggregator.
What makes Chuck a gift is that he discovered the blog format on his own, by trial and error. Chuck’s Corner went from being a password-protected page for alumni to the most popular page on the Proctor Web site. It gets more hits than their home page. Shortly Chuck’s Corner will be their homepage.
And he totally gets it. Contrasting Chuck’s Corner with the highly polished, yet-another alumni newsletters, he observed

  We’re taking a risk and showing our imperfections.

His audience took notice and, sensing authenticity, comes back for more.
Bravo, Chuck! The potential webloggers of the world need to hear more stories like his. After the talk, I said as much, and asked if he might be interested in speaking at a weblog event. He said he would. If you’re buying my line and agree, the next question is, to what event should we invite him?

John Perry Barlow: “Spalding placed a call at 9:00 pm on Saturday evening to his little boy, Theo, to tell him he loved him. The originating number, I now learn, turns out to have been a pay phone at the Battery terminal of the Staten Island Ferry. Also, two people have come forward and say they saw him on the ferry after that. That’s all I know but, hell, that’s all I need to know.”