Sam Ruby is working on some of the technical questions about the software that supports the weblog way, but he starts his essay with this definition:
Authentic Voice of a Person. Reverse Chronological Order. On the web. These are essential characteristics of a online Journal or weblog. #
I asked the computer to check Meg Hourihan's essay on blogging for the word authentic -- no show. Catherine Seipp's article -- no show. Dave Winer's essay -- no show, though he is interested in "the unedited voice of a person" -- a sense that the writer is shaping her presentation of content and self, rather than having it shaped or reshaped by editing or pressure from others. He says, "as long as the voice of the person comes through, it's a weblog."
Back at the office we would probably want to distinguish between some essential voice that one person owns and a range of choices about speaking and relating to audience and occasion that a person makes. If you control those choices, something about you is imprinted on the prose, no doubt, and that is in some ways you, but it is not authentic in the flatter way I think many people might mean.
I often draft sentences that say "such and such seems to" and as I revise I usually strike out "seems" for a more dynamic and confident verb. The first version might be authentic, from one perspective, but the second version is almost always a better, more lively sentence, more fully reflecting the movement of my thought, less cloaked in mannerism, more actively in touch with the particulars of language and the specificity of experience. I'm still in there, but differently. Authenticity doesn't get at it, really. Craft, trying for craft, might be better.