Monday, January 26, 2009

Blog post -- Writing for the World Wide Web

I'm assuming most of my blog entries for this class will be pretty cut-and-dry, but I felt compelled to post this one -- I thought it was a fairly easy read... fairly.

I’ve owned a blog for around four years now, but in just that short amount of time the whole nature of the medium has changed. My introduction to the “blogosphere” came when my first girlfriend convinced me to make a Xanga so I could update pointlessly about my boring high school life just like she and all her friends did. As it turned out, I got pretty into it, and most of my friends wound up jumping on the Xanga bandwagon. But it was a passing phase, as Xanga was very public (kind of like a blog mixed with a Myspace-style social network) and spammers were covering the site with clutter. So I switched to the more private LiveJournal where the entries got more personal and serious due to its comparatively exclusive design. I fell out of the whole “online diary” thing around senior year of high school and never really got back into it. Now, as I’m gradually becoming reacquainted with the blogosphere thanks to this class, I’ve found that it’s pretty much exploded into the mainstream. Suddenly people everywhere are actually trying to elevate it into a credible source of information, updating about issues and topics of importance and attempting to make a difference in the Internet community. And it’s working in many respects — several popular blogs (i.e. Perez Hilton, Hipster Runoff) have gone so far as to become fixtures in modern culture.

One of my close friends and I were hanging out the other day and I told him I had to write a blog post for this class, and he laughed at me and called me “gay” for having a blog. I was surprised that this mindset was still in place today. In high school, it certainly was the case; blogs were for the “weird people” — in-crowd meathead code for people who had their own thoughts, feelings and ideas and wanting to express them via a (potentially) public means. So I used to think at the time. I’d just assumed that society at large had finally embraced the idea of blogging, since it had begun to utilize it for new purposes other than online diaries. But my friend’s reaction made me realize that maybe the world hasn’t completely warmed up to blogging culture yet — there still exists a stigma against it.

Blogs began as individualistic and personal outlets of communication and expression and then, as its popularity snowballed, transitioned to facilitators of information about news and other various areas of the media as well as for business, search engine and Q&A uses. As such, some people who previously regarded blogs as trivial or untrustworthy due to their highly personal qualities still hold this opinion now — and that’s understandable. Obviously without a universal code of ethics, blogs cannot be trusted as 100% factual by any means. But perhaps the most defining quality of the blog is that it offers the user the freedom to do anything they choose with its template. No filter, just pure freedom of speech and expression — which, in my opinion, should never change. So unless blogs that strive to be taken seriously take it upon themselves to perpetrate high standards and prove they are providing accurate information, I don’t see much of a solution anytime soon.

And not to ramble, but just as a small aside…

Maybe the opaque nature of the essay we had to read is to blame, but I felt like its authors weren’t really talking about much of anything. In particular, the differences they outlined between opinion posts, voting posts and reaction posts are really abstract and unclear. I read this section several times over to make sure I wasn’t just misunderstanding and began to understand where the authors may have been coming from, but the differences between voting posts, opinion posts, reaction posts and summation posts seemed marginal at best. I admit I’ve been away from the blogging world for a while and can’t really speak as an authority, but most of the blog entries I’ve ever read seem as though they could fit into several of said categories… Maybe I just don’t think like a scholar… to me blogs represent a simpler, more universal way to communicate then they’re making it out to be.

1 comment:

Insert Songtitle said...

Maybe it's because I don't really mention the existence of my "blog" at all, but it surprises me that people still react in that "how gay" way they used to back in HS. It's a little disappointing.

And that's the most I can say seeing how I don't know what article you had to read!