One person I have discovered to be very important to any study on weblogs and their history is Rebecca Blood, who has become a voice of authority on the issue of weblogs solely because she has been a longtime blogger, since 1996, three years before the user friendly software of Blogger came out. In an essay titled “Weblogs: A History and Perspective” written by Blood on September 7th in 2000 and was later published in We’ve got blog: how weblogs are changing our culture, describes the short history of weblogs and how they started as filters for finding more interesting web content.
Her essay describes the two major trends in blogging, the first being that of a filter where a creator would post a link, a title, and some commentary in regards to where the link leads, while the other (now more popular) form is that of the short-form journal where the creator would post daily (or more frequently) about anything from thoughts to stories of the day to free writing experiments. What develops from software like Blogger and WordPress is the current blogging community where the active dialogue between publisher and viewer helps evolve the artistic creation of the blog. Blood poses a very interesting question with her final statements:
“I strongly believe in the power of weblogs to transform both writers and readers from ‘audience’ to ‘public’ and from ‘consumer’ to ‘creator.’”
In my thesis I am eager to reserve a large section of it to look at this relationship between the writer and the reader, the interaction between the two in this artistic process is something that has probably never been seen before in the world of art. In no other medium does the spectator have the ability to comment while the piece is being created, save maybe an improvised performance where the audience can show their approval or disapproval. But the setup of this type of performance is drastically different than that of the blog, for here even though it is improvised it is being viewed as such, and the performer is not directly involved in a discussion with any single member of that audience. Where as in blogs each audience member has a voice, they all collectively become a public as Blood suggests.
So I pose the question, does this apparent democratization of art really affects the creation of art in any new way? Or better yet, is it really there? Are we a public now or are we still an audience and perhaps this dialogue is just another form of cultural control, something Adorno would probably suggest about the current situation.
As always I eagerly await your thoughts,