May 24, 2004

Forever tuesday morning

The modern information society is really good only at moving information about. It has become massively easier to converse over vast distances: Gigantic quantities of bits can be transmitted via satellites in orbit around the earth and cables deep down on the ocean floor. But all these channels fail to answer the vital question: What are we to say to each other?
Is there anything interesting in being able to move information about? Does it mean anything in itself that communicating has become easier?
If communication overcomes sociological barriers, it does actually mean something – to society. The dissolution of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union is closely related to the way modern means of communication created numerous noncentralized connections between people inside and outside what used to be such closed societies. Means of communication are vital in societies where communication is in short supply.
These are sociological issues, which are important in themselves. However, there are also more theoretical, conceptual questions: At the purely physical level, thermodynamically speaking, things are different. It has only recently become clear that measured as a physical phenomenon, the moving of information about the place need not have any significance at all. From the thermodynamic point of view, the transport of information is a nonevent.

my name’s Dan and I, along with my knife-and-stick wielding partner Jack, will be guesting this week. I come to this partnership with no small amount of trepidation, as Jack invented the online journal in, I believe, 1991, several years before Al Gore invented the internet. I, on the other hand, get given a diary every year, fill the first three pages with what I got for Christmas and then use the rest of the pages to jot down phone messages and pointlessly elaborate doodles.
My friend Adrian has been telling me I should start a `blog. On the surface, it seems like a good idea. I certainly love communicating with people and giving my opinion to all and sundry. But scratch a little deeper, and I start to get a little wary. Who would read it? And why? Would I merely be shouting into the darkness? While I enjoy reading other people’s `blogs, I think I’ve yet to grasp the essential question of why `bloggers do it. What do you get out of it? What does it bring you?
I can definitely appreciate the upside. There’s obviously a social aspect (how can I not be jealous of these legendary blogmeets y’all keep mentioning?), and I believe it’s been mentioned that there is therapeutic value in being able to spew your thoughts into the aether.
But surely these positives are countered by some disturbing negatives- that both strangers and friends have access to your thoughts and feelings on a variety of subjects. I fear I’d find myself ‘tailoring’ my `blogs with a specific audience in mind- or multiple specific audiences. I can’t say I spend a great deal of time in the blogosphere, but even during my limited contact I’ve seen some worrying things- stalkers, psychos, hell, poor old Atrios (my favourite `blog) even got threatened by lawyers to have his identity revealed! Given the frightening netizens that exist, is it really safe to ‘put yourself out there’, so to speak?
Considering that most of the people who read this site appear to be bloggers themselves, I thought I’d put the question to you all, maybe give me some clarity on the subject: Why do you `blog? What are the positives, and the negatives? I’d be highly interested to hear your thoughts on the subject.


16 thoughts on “Forever tuesday morning

  1. The main reason is that it lets me talk whatever dull crap I want when I want without the need to inflict it on a real live person.
    The second, which was a by product, is catharsis.
    The positives? Erm…
    The negatives? Errr…

  2. You know when you listen to the radio right?
    You know that bit DJ’s do between songs right?
    You know the bit where the DJ’s give like their opinion on stuff, or waffle on about stuff or piss you off?
    That’s blogging. Just without the radio and the thousands of listeners and the ability to do it while driving.

  3. I think `blogging is going through an interesting phase at the moment because a lot of people are trying it out- but I think there’ll be a culling at some point as the bad blogs get ignored and the good blogs get read.
    So: If there was a radio station that had no music, just DJs chatting, would anyone listen to it?

  4. Also- until I get broadband at home, uploading my holiday snaps is a hell of a pain.

  5. Isn’t that how pirate radio starts. DJ’s just chatting with no one listening.

  6. That’s a fine analogy, but it doesn’t exactly answer my question. Why do you `blog?
    Or to put it another way: If you could run a pirate radio staion, what would be your motivation to do so?

  7. Loving the use of the apostrophe there, d.
    Having done both now, I’d say there were parallels between pirate/student radio and blogging.
    A lot of the time it is eye-clawingly dull, but every so often some people put some effort in and experiment without any kind of infliction of market or corporate pressures, and at those moments it can be truly, truly stellar.

  8. Aye, that’s a fine apostrophe. I hereby decree that we shall all write the word ‘blog, like that, like what he did.

    Karen on May 24, 2004
  9. Boo Get off. I’ll misuse my apostrophe when and where I like. ‘Blog my ass.

  10. Actually, I wouldn’t consider it a misuse at all. If one must use the accursed word, at least pay tribute to it’s humble origins.
    Apostrophe or not, it’s an ugly ugly word.

  11. Ok it’s not a misuse, but Karen can’t decree that I have to apostrophise it!!!!

  12. Did you really mention a ‘cull’ of bloggers above? Isn’t that prohibited under the international human rights treaty? I suddenly have disturbing visions in my head of bloggers being hit over the head with baseball bats.
    Er . . .
    Why do I blog? I have no idea. Really. If I did have an idea then at regular points throughout my three years and seven and a half months of blogging, I would have had no need to write self-important, ridiculously pontificating entries on why I blog. To do is to be. To be is to do. To blog is to blog. Or something.
    Oh, and as for people who tell you to start a blog – beware! For they are the spawn of Satan! (OK, maybe that’s a bit harsh). But believe me, they’re only trying to get you to blog too so that they don’t feel so weird. So strange. So off at a tangent from the rest of polite society. Once again, I know this because I’ve done it.
    Nurse is going to be hear with my drip feed soon, don’t worry.

  13. No- there will be a cull of un-sufficiently entertaining `blogs. So shape up or watch out! I will be the final arbiter of quality, and the executioner of the punishment.

  14. See – I knew this was coming. That’s why I have a team of lawyers who are helping me to prevent Pockless from becoming a ‘blog.
    When the culling starts, pass me a club!
    At least, that’s what I was advised to say.

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