We’ve got blog

January 8, 2008

I am finally back from vacation and have finished the collection of essays titled We’ve got blog: how weblogs are changing our culture. It was a very interesting collection, very diverse, and will be very helpful in understanding more of the specifics in regards to the history of the blog. However the funny thing about anything in print in regards to this topic is that it becomes immediately dated. All the essays in here are from the late 90s through 2002, which makes sense since the book was published in 03 and for a book that’s recent. But still in regards to the “A-List” blogs they talk about in the book, well many don’t update anymore.

 

But the important part is that it gave me some good perspective on the blog’s development. It’s interesting to me, but yet not surprising, that it started as a filter, as a collection of interesting links within the internet, one could say that that purpose is still around today, in fact most probably would, if not through the posts and tags then through the blogroll, but the blogroll isn’t updated regularly like the original weblogs were. I know from the book that the debate on which is a real blog still exists, or at least it did then.

 

Something I find rather interesting about this collection of essays is that there is no discussion of art in the blogs, these writers don’t identify as authors, many as journalists and probably a few as strictly writers or bloggers, but what is interesting is that they don’t see their work as art.

 

Something that I have been toying with is the idea that the public journal aspect of a blog, the type of blog that has become the most popular form of blogging today is in fact a genre of literature, a theme for writing if you will. I believe that it is a hybrid of an autobiography with the essences of a collaborative work such as the Surrealists would do. I know or rather can imagine that there are bloggers out there that honestly write what really does happen to them in that given post but they are still adding opinion, interpretation, hopefully artistic exaggeration, and lets not forget style and format, all of which are artistic and literary themes so therefore I would almost venture to say that these blogs if they were to be found in say a Barnes & Nobel they would be found under the section of Blog Journal, which would be next to Magical Realism and Autobiographies.

 

Just my thoughts and I know it’s a week late but.

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR and good luck in ‘08

 

Huysmans


Mapping the Blog

November 13, 2007

I believe that a blog is literature. As such I further believe that it does not fall under any preexisting genre, style, or form of literature. Thus what I mean to say is that a blog as it exists today represents the emergence of new literature. One that is self-referential, collaborative, autobiographical, fictional, political, critical, visual, and this could continue forever. But what is important is to focus on its creation.

(Historically my thesis right now lacks the factual elements of which blogs came first and what they were originally intended for, something I would love help with.)

In its original popularity a blog was an online diary, a journal of sorts one created and kept up to date in a public realm for others to not just read but to also comment on. This form of exchange existed previously in a very crude sense in journalism with columns, editorials, and letters to the editor. But nothing has existed to the instantaneous and collaborative extent that these online journals did. They have become a part of everyday activity and have thus incorporated everyday activity into their existence. It has been well documented and reported in regards to journalism. Blogs are changing the way we communicate political ideas. It has also had an effect on the literary community in its manipulation of the traditional book review in print. But these are not the facets of the blog’s existence that I want to look at. What interests me is that very core model, that online diary that may be political, may be literary, or just might be a conglomerate of events that may or may not have happened to the potentially anonymous writer.

What has been created here is a response to the overly celebritized world of pop literature. As Ana Vogrincic suggests in her essay “Literary Effects of Author-Stardom” the author has become the focus of societal interest and not the work this author creates. It’s that very commodity culture Benjamin warns us about when dealing with the death of the Aura, we are seeking an aura in the celebrity author. We cannot with blogs. But those who read blogs aren’t looking for it, and the writers aren’t trying to create it. These are not diaries, but they are not fiction either. They are public expressions with the theme of recording, autobiographically, the events of one’s life. It is written for the public and thus is aware of that in its creation, very different from the journal kept by the bedside to record the final thoughts of its master before that master dozes off into dream land. Even this very blog itself is aware that it is seeking to be read, but that is not all it is doing. After all as I write these thoughts I get a better understanding of how they interact and how to make my thesis more concrete. So it does have the effect of improving itself, it gets that from the classic diary, this is simply the reflections of one day’s work on this thesis.

Something else needs to be discussed as well. That of the response, for each post made there is the ability to comment. But before the comments are even posted there is the simple knowledge of an audience. Hosts can now tell us, as they have been able to do for some time now, how many hits our sites have received and thus how frequent our site is visited. This also influences that anonymous writer, who as another argument entirely can choose to stay anonymous or not, and if not they also have the choice of providing their true identity or a fake one, like Huysmans.

I will save a discussion of the comments for the next post.