My response to You Are Not A Blog

Steven Streight, aka Vaspers the Grate, is a talented and literate person who writes a consistently thought-provoking weblog.

Unfortunately, he seems to be of the mindset that the originators of the internet, blogging, whatever,  have some say over how blogging "should be done".  If you read my posts about yesterday’s experts, you can imagine my immediate response to his post "You are not a blog."

I left this response on his site, but in the event you might not fall across it, I am repeating it here:

Steven, you make three telling statements that beautifully illustrate the viewpoints of those who initiate paradigm shifts and are overwhelmed by the newcomers who take their precious artifacts and use them for purposes that the designers never considered.

These were your statements:

In the beginning, the blog was impersonal, cold, dry, unemotional. And this was good.

To be successful, a blog has to stick pretty closely with the original purpose.

It’s very sad and strange to see a research tool (the blog) deteriorate into a self-disclosure confessional platform.

My response is simple. A blog is a platform for citizen publishing, it is no longer a notepad for some dry list of useful links. Get over the idea that you or any of the fine people who contributed to the internet and blogging have any control over what people are creating with the tool you may have contributed to.

The fact that millions of people practice unmoderated psychotherapy on one another is no real concern of yours. They are probably doing less harm to themselves than if they were  downing the addictive anti-depressants that are so freely prescribed everyday.

Blogging is an art form, a profession, and is begining to be a vehicle for a new wave of creativity that will blow us away.

I’ve taken the time to sample some LiveJournal stuff and there is a power in those barely readable posts which which bears watching.

When a 14 year-old writes a post about her politically compromised teacher and the blogging world responds with telling effect, we are not looking at illiterate scribblers. Sure, they suffer from the ill effects of a degenerate educational system, but they are communicating in a way that never existed before and they will overcome their lack of grammar and spelling to become powerful new voices in the blogosphere.

Blogging is a paradigm shift of enormous proportions. We agree upon that. To hope that it sticks close to its research lab roots is the final fantasy. The communication tsunami has been unleashed. People are talking to new friends all around the planet about things we can’t even conceive.

Don’t go the way of MSM and Ozymandias. Don’t try to stop or channel this new torrent. Grab your blog and paddle fiercely to catch the next wave.

The future is being blogged as you read this..a billion voices will write tomorrow’s history instead of the well-connected few of the past.

Embrace the future. Don’t become yesterday’s expert.

For an entirely different viewpoint, one that I embrace wholeheartedly, see this excerpt from Rebecca Blood:

I strongly believe in the power of weblogs to transform both writers
and readers from "audience" to "public" and from "consumer" to
"creator." Weblogs are no panacea for the crippling effects of a
media-saturated culture, but I believe they are one antidote.

[Rebecca’s Pocket, "Weblogs: a History and Perspective", 7 September 2000]


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