In an October 1999 article in the New Statesman, published before the new generation of Web logs, Andrew Brown described the anarchic nature of blogs as “the disorganized record of the voyagings of an intelligent mind,” somewhat resembling “the captain’s log on a voyage of discovery.”
To him, blogs hearken back to this image of the origins of the World Wide Web. In blogs, one can find “that educated, anarchic spirit rather as I imagine medieval universities to have been, full of wandering scholars….” And, indeed, the anarchy and the quirkiness are some of the blog’s appeal.
Yes, and which face will the prism reflect now, and now, and now. Extremely new to Web logs I find myself enthusiastically considering the possibilities of the medium entirely undaunted by the fact that what I express here is exceeedingly unlikely to say anything new.
Again Indulge me – or not.
It is the identification of persona on a blog that interests me and the extent to which communication of personal experience can provoke interest beyond itself – and the extent to which it can be a jumping off point into the unfamiliar or the uncomfortable.
This is a pretty didactic approach and relies heavily on the supposition that blogging is, among other things an educational practice. If it is, then it can only be effective when both teacher and learner have established common ground. What I’m wondering is, just how extensive that common ground can become, and how much of the unfamiliar can therefore be absorbed?
I’m beginning to think weblogs occupy a fairly unique space regarding information exchange. The exchange is dynamic and continues to define itself. It has expanded since it’s inception far beyond diarizing, to include a social/political/literary aspect and is currently growing commercial interests. These categories are clumsy and incomplete, but I’m hoping you can deduce what I mean for the sake of brevity here.
It is a forum that may also be able to expand and develop the concept of author and point of view before a wide and relatively diverse audience. The traditional views of private and public spheres are fragmented almost beyond recognition by the internet and particularly, I would argue by the blogging phenomena, precisely because blogging allows authors to develop a complex persona over time, topic, public sphere and personal voice – perhaps even to the extent that a ‘well rounded’ human being can emerge from behind the text, rather than a single dimensional author or commentator.
I could be entering la la land here, so I’ll qualify, if not a human being, at least a multi-dimensional persona.
You might very well respond with. ‘You’ve just described ‘blogdom’. You are wishing for what is already there.’ I disagree. The sheer size of the place diffuses the kind of multi – dimensionality I envisage.
Difference needs to be concentrated and tolerated in order to create the kind of discourse I imagine. Concentrated, perhaps within a single site. Graphically it would be a Venn diagram of interconnecting circles – a community of ideological risk takers.
So who cares? I do, because I want to be able to say what I want, when I want – here’s the rub- and be heard. A blog site has the potential to raise issues, increase awareness and tolerance as well as encourage play. It is brain gym.
Yes, the participants are most likely to be the A, B’s and maybe C’s – (do we still categorise target audiences that way?)But there is also the slim chance that by making our humanity self-evident we can also connect a greater number of folks to a greater number of issues and a greater amount of thinking – sounding very Mills there. Time to stop.
Sub-text: I just wanted to explain why I write, what I write, why I think it has value, and why this may be a forum for me – my personal position – well one of them.