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blogs, what's the deal? - silver Harloe

About blogs, what's the deal?

Previous Entry blogs, what's the deal? Dec. 18th, 2004 @ 02:51 am Next Entry
blogs create the sense of a virtual public meeting, but one in which we don’t all hope to be there at the same time and in which conversations are not necessarily linked. -- Lawrence Lessig

I don't understand the press around blogs.

A little context: I've been using the net almost, but not quite, as long as there as been a net. I once critisized a friend who introduced me to the web by saying, "but why is that any different from just choosing whether to use archie and ftp, or gopher, or telnet to an appropriate bbs-like-sever?" I was a geek and to me a URL was just a convenience - a tool to access what I already knew how to access but through one program instead of many. Pop whirl. How amazingly wrong I was. I'm not a dinosaur of web history because of my short sightedness then. My friend developed one of the first 100 web sites ever. I found the web a few years later already grown to the point where any contributor was just another anonymous face.

So perhaps I am committing the same error now, but I really do not see the difference between blogs and usenet and livejournals and web BBs.

What, really, is a blog except a webBB (which is just usenet-on-the-web) where the top level threads are indexed by author?

Maybe I'm right and there's no technical difference but one form of medium happend to gain public press due to the people on it while others did not. Maybe I'm wrong and there's a significant technical leap (rating posts is not significant. webBBs allow that, too). Or maybe the answer lies between 1 and 0 somewhere.

Anyone know?
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Date:December 18th, 2004 06:25 am (UTC)
I would think that the substantially more visual nature of web interfaces (versus, say, gopher or ftp) .. allowed many more people to "get it" .. and blogs offer ways to easily include images and intuitively link to other sites, so those many more people can feel more or less like they can fact-check what is posted.
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Date:December 18th, 2004 10:04 am (UTC)
you're right... there is no technical difference. It is a psychological difference; a difference in the way people *perceive* the information as it is presented and related

and since everyone's reality can only be based on how they perceive things...
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Date:December 18th, 2004 10:59 am (UTC)


It really takes a lot of different things coming together at the right time for a technology or other idea to consume the attention of a lot of people. There's plenty of technologies that languish in obscurity until one individual or group adds the additional catchy feature, or sometimes just until the world is ready for it. We know how long the idea of computer interfaces with windows, menus, icons, and pointers sat around as a research oddity until it was finally made into a consumer commidity.

Significant cultural directions emerge from interacting events, they are not imposed or distributed top-down. Rock music was not something invented by the industry and sold to an accepting world, it emerged from the lowest levels of society. Conversely, have you ever wondered why, after Apollo, the US space program collapsed into relative nothingness? While the top-down government funding lasted, there was plenty, but once it evaporated, there was nothing resembling a space-faring culture. Projects like SpaceShipOne are far more likely to make a lasting difference.

Significant technical leap? No. Many little under-the-radar technical and social events coinciding and feeding back on each other, yes.

[User Picture Icon]
Date:December 19th, 2004 08:31 am (UTC)
I think it is precisely the permission to approach conversation in a new mindset that makes "blogging" different from what has come before.

It's is also the permanence (or at least increased duration) of your self-expression that mechanically sets styles apart.

Oh yeah, and the demographic. We were archetypal usenetters, reasonably typical "bloggers" and not too wierd livejournalist, but look at how much more like our society in general that is becoming. A thing whose largest demographics are teenage girls and thirtsomething geeks has hooks into the zeitgeist
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