Reading the homework assigned to us the last night made me think about my own blogging experiences. First of all, I never knew that blogs began from simple weblogs of people finding interesting sites. I assumed it was something more personal, like the MySpace blogs. I have only seen or heard of representations of blogs in which there were of the personal nature. I even have a MySpace blog that I use for the personal and to keep in touch with people that I do not get the chance to talk to all that often. It is almost a way to keep up-to-date with the going-ons of people you can't normally keep up with.
... there was a highschool on a teeny island in the South China Sea. And in this highschool, having a Xanga was an integral part of being in the social loop. If you didn't have one, or didn't check those of others, chances were you wouldn't have a clue what half the conversations in the classroom were about the next day.
I feel like I'm a relatively private sort of person; so the contrast between the anonymity offered by the internet and blogs, that gives one the freedom to post fairly intimate details that one might not share in other environments, and the idea that these details could be pored over by just about any ol' stranger is interesting to me.
If asked what a "blog" was during my younger years of high school, I would have answered with an uncertain reference to political forums for "older" people such as my parents, dedicated readers of The Huffington Post. When my peers (and in turn, myself) discovered such blogging phenomenons as livejournal and myspace, as mentioned in many of the other blogs on our class site, I was first taken aback by how intrusive it seemed to have such open information on the internet at the public's disposal. What I learned from reading my more blog-savvy friends' entries is that blogs are actually sometimes better used to disguise personal information and thoughts because they allow the writer to identify with anything. The openness and even anonymity of blogs are opportunitites to present ourselves exactly how we choose with the option to add, omit, embellish, or censor our characters and lifestyles. Many blogs are even tailored to the reception of comments and responses, and writers keep their readers in mind when deciding what to include or not. Blogs warrant attention, controversy, sympathy, or any other response solicitated by their writers.
It had never thought about how much of the information on the internet comes in blog form. In fact, it wasn't until recently that I realized that I sometimes rely on blogs more than I had previously thought. Although I've never been much of a blog writer and don't read anyone's blog regularly (besides those belonging to friends on Myspace), I often times read reviews for products on blogs. Realizing this led me to thinking about how frequently blogs on the internet are used as a reference or guidance when shopping around from anything ranging from books to iPods. It also made me wonder if marketers and companies pay attention to what bloggers have to say.
When reading Ev's colorful quote from "You've Got Blog" about being frustrated about blog evolution (how it's like a kid with great potential but no drive) and the lack of money flow via blogging, I thought of a blogger who's blogging ingenuity (or the ability to dupe others if you look at him cynically) has helped him rake in the cash. Lots of it. Josh Spear, a self-proclaimed 'king of all things cool,' has been blogging his opinion about design, art, books, gadgets,etc. on his blog for the past handful of years - a huge chunk of time considering the short lifespan of blogging thus far, and compounded by the fact that Josh is a mere 22-years old. Somehow Spear has navigated the blogosphere to garner the international attention of hundreds of designers and artists, and thousands of bloggers. What Josh says is cool IS cool . . . he's like the ultimate cabinet of wonders; sifting through life's material goods to promote only the most trendy and cool, Josh, via blogging, has scored a pretty sweet (part-time) job.
For my money, web logs, search engines and the rest of the internet are primarily to collaborativeliy filter the endless amounts of information. I know this isnt the case for everyone else, in fact the internet is probably just as much about social activities as information gathering.
After seeing the blog Robot Wisdom I'm very impressed with the "collection" Jorn Barger has accumulated. He does use his site as a portal for "information" and other types of media. At the same time I can't really imagine ever devoting my whole life to that long page of links placed over a starry background. If information and personal expression is what we are after, should it really come from a single dark room with homemade pizza without anyone around? I think the presence of blogs and the internet as a whole has most likely allowed us to indulge our most introverted pleasures. I think its hard to argue that there are necessary social elements that one cannot get from a computer screen alone. Even the telephone isn't enough for most people. The bottom line, I think, is that blogging provides an unusual escape from reality while simultaneous broadcasting other "real" information to everyone else on the net.