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
November 26, 2007
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,