Monday, January 01, 2007

what is this thing called blog?

my mom actually needed me to define the term for her the other day (and how do you find some one's blog? you really don't want to find my blog ma, i promise...and she said "oh i wasn't going to go looking for YOUR blog just i keep hearing about blogs and what are they and how do you find is so interesting how limited my mom's Internet experience really is because she is on it constantly~just in her own little sphere~there i go again off on another tangent...) Just to me ever more informed~and because it seems to be my research obsession of the moment (just one of those pesky librarian traits) i grabbed the three books we had currently checked in on the subject that were conveniently located (read: next to each other on the shelf, mayhaps there is more to come later...) anyway this is what i have for now :
Who Let the Blogs Out: a Hyperconnected Peek at the World of Weblogs by Biz Stone (fast read, pretty decent, informative book, can't say i'm incredibly fond of the title...) don't blog drunk~that's probably good advise though i don't always take it and some of my most interesting writing has come out of my less sober moments~though i would say it's best to reread the drafts over once your sober before posting and/or publishing (or showing to someone else if it is some other form of writing). This book is actually quite useful for defining blogs, constructing them, etc, etc, etc. It is written in a conversational, witty style (much like a blog itself) and though i'm sure the material will quickly grow quite dated i found it quite useful. Chapters include: Who let the Blogs Out? (there that phrase is again~truly grating on my nerves~a basic intro to the birth of blogs, different types, blah, blah, blah...); Blog This! A Cultural Style Guide; Why Would Anyone Want to Blog?; Geeking Out: Starting a Blog, Playing with HTML; Blogging in Business (for a further expansion on this try); and Politics and Pupils: The Impact of Blogging on Society. There is also an intro by Wil Wheaton (you TNG, or everyone really~its quite interesting, should also check out his blog). Stone suggests that even as blogs may be experiencing their waning phase the "blogosphere" may actually fulfill the Internet's original promise of connecting/interconnecting the "whole wide world". Stone also claims blogging will make you smarter because of all of the reading and writing that you are doing, i'm not sure that it actually increases your intelligence (there are so many factors involved there) but i do know that increased reading and writing is always a good thing :)
I was only a couple of pages into Blog: Understanding the Information Reformation that's Changing Your World before i found myself being annoyed by Hugh Hewitt's voice (even though i couldn't quite identify what it was~and not his actual voice, mind you, this wasn't an audio book~something just wasn't vibing right). I hadn't heard of Hugh Hewitt before i read this book so i didn't know he was Mr. Conservative Right, but i did slog through the book anway. He sees the blogosphere as part of the "New Media" and the answer to what he sees as a very left leaning Main Stream Media (MSM)~i've seen this in the other books too, if you're on the left the MSM leans right if you're on the right it leans left. Anyway this book is pretty much limited to political blogging and its full of rhetoric but it is still somewhat informative (and it also includes a rather interesting history of Martin Luther and the Reformation). This is not the only book that compares the explosion of the blogosphere with the invention of the printing press and Johannes Gutenberg, putting the power in the hands of the people.
blog! how the newest media revolution is changing politics, business, and culture by David Kline and Dan Burstein is a collection of essays (mostly reprinted from various sources) and interviews with some of the most influential bloggers (as of 2004 and 2005 that is) about how the blogosphere has developed, where it currently stands, and where it might be headed; and how it is impacting the arenas described (which seems to be pretty much everything doesn't it). It's rather interesting how the same subjects, people, and incidents seem to keep popping up~it's been said there are a million stories in the naked city but it is my contention that there are really only a very a few and they are retold over and over again~it is the voice you tell those stories with that is really important. And individual voice seems to be what makes blogging so important, that and blogs are a way to connect so many of these as-of-yet unconnected links. And the pendulum swings back again.
Some have suggested that this is an absolute revolution that is going to change everything, maybe completely take over all other media. It is much more likely it is just going to restructure things. The reality of blogs is that about 90% of them are teenage diaries, and that about 66% are abandoned within four months. Of the over four million blogs currently inhabiting the blogosphere, about 10% are getting the most hits, being linked to, read, etc. But even if your blog only has a readership of family and friends (or four of five strangers) you have influence. That other 90% may prove just as important as (or maybe more important than) the top 10% (do i sound like i'm trying to convince myself? i'm really only writing for myself anyway...)
Blog On!
did you ever notice how in these avatar thingies of mine the library background is always empty~like there's never a crowd scene? I suppose the yahoo folks think that there would Never Be a crowd in a library, NOT SO (except, of course, maybe, on a day like today, but, then again, i'm not there today either, am i???)

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