In case you’re feeling all meta and socio-cultural-analytical, a link to a discussion of the origins of, reasons for, and evolution of blogging and its impact on our culture. Thanks, Dad.
There’s much food for thought in this article, particularly the idea that blogs allows us to assume whatever identity we want– be it a wholly imagined, wholly idealized, or wholly unconstrained version of ourselves. One thing I think the author misses is that “linky love” isn’t always for the link whores. As I said before, I think there’s a lot of desire to find a community out there– only some of it is ego-driven. The rest, I truly believe, is founded in a genuine desire to know others.
The other thing that interests me about the article is this paragraph:
“Bloggers assume that if you’re reading them, you’re one of their friends, or at least in on the gossip, the joke, or the names they drop. . . . Bloggers breeze through places, people, texts, and blogs that you might or might not know without providing any helpful identification. They figure that even if they don’t provide you with links you can get all the background you need by Googling unfamiliar terms, clicking through Wikipedia (the collaborative on-line encyclopedia) or searching their blog’s archives. The very tone of most blogs—reactive, punchy, conversational, knowing, and free-associative—is predicated on linkiness and infused with it.”
It’s true, in a lot of ways, and is part of the desire for community, and the wonderful result of knowing you’ve succeeded and there are regular readers who want to share. But there are two important points underlying this, which are: to what extent are the insider jokes off-putting to new readers, looking for an “open” community to join, and second, to what extent does prolonged use of this insider style stunt our writing, and our perspective on the www and the whole wide (real) world?
As to the first– I have most definitely stopped visiting sites where it was impossible to catch up on the lingo, or the author never acknowledged my presence ever, over several months, or it was impossible to penetrate the back and forth in comment windows. On the second– to what extent have I allowed my writing skills, my formal training from law school, to slide, comforted in the knowledge that “my” readers will forgive me a typo or grammatical error, a failure of proper attribution? It’s one thing to adopt a less formal tone, but I’ve got to think more about my comfort level as to informal content— because there’s informal, and then there’s sloppy and improper.
OK, navel gazing for the day is over. You may go watch the Stupidbowl, or whatever it’s called, now.