There’s an [url=http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2003-02-28/screens_feature2.html]article in the Austin Chronicle[/url] this week about blogging that includes generous quotes from me re: my using the blog as a personal branding exercise. [url=http://www.weblogsky.com]Jon Lebkowsky[/url], a good example of a friend/connection I’ve made entirely through blogging, wrote the article, and I support what he’s written as a fairly objective, “This is what blogging is.”. His original work was about twice as long as the final edit, and the parts that were excluded caused someone else I know in real life, [url=http://surreally.net/fullbleed/]Drucilla[/url], to raise the point that very few women were mentioned in the article, although the reality of the blogiverse is that this activity is probably very gender equal. (a huge bit re: journalers, who are more established than the bloggers was also cut by the Chron. editor)
So I found myself engaged in some [url=http://surreally.net/fullbleed/newarchives/001083.php]spirited commenting on Dru’s blog[/url] (although at the end, it sounded to me like quite a few orthogonal issues were being bantied about and I felt like anything I wrote would cause someone to accuse me of being a terrible, evil person (well, maybe not that bad, but I don’t think ANYONE, myself included, was making any cogent arguments, and certainly weren’t taking what was being written as it was meant))./* Begin pretentious blog philosophy talk
I tend to like to write about silly misadventures like [url=http://davidnunezdev.wpengine.com/blog/archives/000166.html#000166]Hubcaps[/url] and [url=http://davidnunezdev.wpengine.com/blog/archives/000041.html#000041]Trade Show Bimbos[/url], and I get the sense that’s where most people have the most fun with my blog. Nonetheless, let’s get a little political/meta-blog today, ok?
There’s an interesting spectrum of attitudes about anonymity online. Some people, like dru, make sure they don’t reveal their true identities online. So in a sense, they are blurring who they really are… maximizing that effect would mean that on any given blog, I would have no idea who a person really is, but I would instead know intimate details about what they think… what their ideas and opinions are, regardless of gender/race/etc.
I, on the other hand, see the value in making myself known through this medium. It helps build a deeper network and builds analog/digital bridges on personal and professional area. On a pure style and taste scale, I prefer to read blogs that are more personal in nature and have a good mix of interesting work and personal exploration with the idea that I might meet this person someday during the course of work or play.
There are pros and cons to both approaches (ex. It’s easier to be honest about certain topics when you are anonymous): one-size-does-not-fit-all. That’s one thing that’s beautiful about this medium. I don’t have to let anyone tell me how to write, what to write, who or what to link to, etc. etc. I also don’t have the right to impose guilt on anyone else for not writing to my tastes or political beliefs. The only vote I get is to bookmark or to not bookmark.
I didn’t quite get the point Dru was trying to make that if I didn’t link to a representative sampling of other blogs (proportionaly mixed, demographically), then I was expressing some sort of sex/rac/creed-ism inherently. That’s tantamount to quotas in my mind, and quotas aren’t good for anyone.
Here’s a fundamental point which I don’t think she’s considering: there are bigger networks in play that mathematically ensure that every blog is not very far from every other blog… and once you hit a key node in any given sub-group, fringe and otherwise, you’ll quickly be overwhelmed with more data than you could possibly process in a lifetime.
The point I’m making is that once you’re online, for the most part, ideas are very difficult to suppress; in fact, the quantity of ideas have no proportion (under or over) to the real-life counterparts… Just one person can make a huge stink online, and large groups or organizations have lost a large degreee of effectiveness to spin every bit of data they produce (ex. consumer reviews on Amazon).
I believe it doesn’t make mathematical sense to say things like “Women Bloggers are Underrepresented Online” because I can prove that that’s most likely not the case…
The ether is a very different place than the real world… the rules are different and so our energy should be directed in ways that better make sense.
Where I think I agree with Dru is that it gets tricky when digital is converted to analog… (ex. Jon’s article). Things, like the vast reach of individual blogs, get lost in the translation.
The electronic empowerment to market your ideas to reach a vast audience is both scary and revolutionary. It means that anybody who can get their hands on a computer can try out their thoughts in the marketplace of ideas. It also means that the marketplace gets increasingly competitive and cluttered with noise and valueless speech… That raises the bar to get heard above the clutter. However, the tools are constantly being reengineered to digest and coalate individual ideas to represent emergent direction… so there’s incredible and realistic hope that one person can change the real world from within the ether.
It is so important that we protect the ability to express ourselves here.
EFF-A helps with that. Individuals maintaining online sites helps with that. Ongoing dialog, rogue journalism, geeking out, meeting in person to ground the discussion… it’s all important.
/* end pontification
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