Thursday, September 29, 2005

state of the blogosphere

You're highly suspicious of anyone who claims blogging as the 'New Medium' as though this should mean something, and you're inclined to believe that anyone who would make such a ridiculous claim has resigned himself to the fact that he has no place in old medium. Has not, can not, find a place for himself amongst the great women and men who have committed their thoughts to paper, bound their ideas between two covers, made solid with ink their liquid thoughts. Will not even try because he doesn't have to.

It was Marshall McLuhan who told us that "the medium is the message." And just what message is this new medium sending, anyway? We've eagerly embraced a medium which has made publishing as simple as the push of a button, a medium which has made reading as easy as clicking one more link. Don't like what you see? Click. Take issue with another's words? Click. Don't agree with what you read? Click. There is no discourse here. You continue to click away until finding a blog that agrees with you, creating a tailor-made list of links which is in complete compliance with your current philosophy. And others do the same, each becoming the centre of their own circle of like-minded bloggers, shutting out those who disagree. We've gone tribal.

You know a guy who will disagree with everything you say. Even if you agree with a point he, himself, made five minutes ago, he will then turn around and disagree. As annoying as this might be, you need each other. He needs you to keep talking so that he might have something to disagree with, and you need him to keep disagreeing so that you might have someone to check yourself against. Such a man does not exist in the Blogosphere. No, in this vacillating world of pixels and poseur prophets the blogger attracts not arguers, but agreers - anyone with a different opinion can simply take a glance, move on, and slip comfortably into a more welcoming tribe.

A product given to laziness, perfectly fitted to the doughy bodies and minds of the point-and-click generation, the Blogosphere is driven by a collective carelessness, simultaneously (and recklessly) generating and consuming, overproducing and overeating. In time, the patron becomes as fat and bloated as the chef's ego, and both are driven by an overwhelming desire for more. Unavoidable, unstoppable, barrelling towards a coactive collapse - or so the naysayers would have you believe. But blogging isn't going anywhere. In the same way that cockroaches found a perfect fit, so, too, has blogging. Like karaoke, reality television, and MP3 playlists, blogging is here to stay – because it has manufactured its own necessity.

But blogging is not art, and we should never confuse it as such - blogging is something you do between art. And blogging is not so much the future of writing, as it is the embodiment of downtime. The space between made real. Little snippets of nothing between the something. Something to do when your next short story stalls, something to do when you just can't put brush to canvas, this is your writer's block. A place to speak when you have nothing to say. So go ahead - I’m listening.

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