Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Ever-Widening Blogosphere.

Without getting too postmodern about it, the blogosphere is beginning to open up for me. Before I began writing Serendipity, I didn't really spend much time looking through blogs. Sure, I'd check out the occasional politically-minded site, but I had no idea about the extent and breadth of this virtual world.

My involvement began when I wanted to leave a comment on a blog started by the owner of the flat file gallery that currently houses much of my work- the Digging Pitt. John had his site set up so as to require a Blogger account in order to provide feedback to his posts. I figured what the hell- how long can it take to register? The next thing I knew I had set up my blog, and I was committing to writing an entry every day. Susan Constance, who has her own art-themed blog "Oranje", showed me some tricks of the trade, and I was off and running.

Shortly after setting up this site, I became aware of PghBloggers. It was a revelation to me- there are hundreds of folks writing on a myriad of different subjects.... sports, local news, art, culture, the music scene, gossip... it's all on there. This was an effective way to begin to direct some readers my way. You can even set up RSS feeds (whatever the hell that means).

When I started to talk to my friends about what I was involved with, I learned that some of them have been at this quietly for awhile. My friend L., whom I used to be in a writing group with, has The Boycott Pages and The Sassy Republican. She is a feminist and progressive dynamo, and her pages are not at all what you might expect from their titles (*standard-issue disclaimer). I was flattered when she invited me to join her collective at scribbler's debris. This project involves drawing a theme at random, and spending approximately twenty minutes writing about it. It's a liberating venture.

My own brother was inspired, upon seeing that I was doing it, to create his own blog- "Oh Pun!" says... uh, me" . I am looking forward to the time when he will be able, for a moment, to step away from his three children, and full-time professional job, and post more often.

It's amazing just how courageous people can be in posting their blogs. I have had the opportunity to get to know a friend-in-passing much better through reading her site. It is such an intimate window into her inner world and relationships that I can't even identify it, or provide a link. And there are many blogs just like this- accessible only if you can discover the url. A glimpse of voyuerism into the most personal perspective, with only a few keystrokes. The person you stare at on the street... or the person you never notice... the blog you discover could be written by anyone around you.

Fortunately for the curious, there are many worthwhile blogs open to public consumption. Please check out one of my current favorites- studio-twenty-three. And while you are there, read her companion site- My letter of the Day. Both of these sites are funny and enlightening.

It's remarkable that the blogosphere has grown to its current scope so quickly. I have a feeling that we have only seen the very beginning of a mass movement. Blogs may actually play a great role in democratizing our society. It is no longer necessary to have an advertising budget or corporate sponsorship to potentially reach a large audience. If you have a public library near you, blogging doesn't even require your own personal computer. A chain of interconnection can lead you to places unforeseen, both in the virtual and dimensional spaces within which we exist.

In addition, I believe that there is a very real possibility that blogging can help reverse a decades-long slide in literacy rates in our society. This medium competes for its audience against non-interactive forms of media that have long held a lock on the attentions of our citizenry. It's true that I am not among the earliest pioneers of the blogging movement, but I feel grateful for being a relatively early-riser on the "day of the blog".

10 Comments:

Blogger lee said...

David - thanks much for the mention. I am absurdly flattered. I started blogging just as a place to keep my favorite cartoons, art, and excerpts, not realizing how nice it would be to share and find that others enjoy my stuff too. It's all bonus and I'm having a jolly good time!

best...

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gosh, I feel mysterious. Your observations are well made and well expressed.

- YOU HAVE LUNCH ROOM DUTY??? DUDE.

That sucks!!!

I almost killed myself on the freeway today. I was eating sushi, trying to find the phone to answer it, and not decelerating quickly enough...and then -

oops! whee to the left and whee to the right and screech and OH MY GOD...

it is a good thing that there was no one behind me.

I felt like such an ass.

but it's all groovy now.

cheers!

2:28 AM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Stoking the ashes of anonymity, eh??

You really gotta be more careful, yo!

"People on ludes should NOT drive"

Hope all is well with you.

2:29 AM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Lee,

Thanks for the efforts you put in to your blog. I look forward to your posts, and hope you continue for a long, long time. You are a credit to the blogosphere.

2:34 AM  
Blogger Susan Constanse said...

You know, I started my blog as part of my job. I really didn't have a lot of interest in it. But I've met some really great people in a very short amount of time. And I find it really helpful to have a place to document projects, work out idaes and think out loud.

I really enjoy reading your posts. you're very articulate and entertaining.

11:39 AM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Susan-

Thanks a lot. I've really benefitted from your help.

12:41 PM  
Blogger Dagrims said...

Thanks for the mention. Right now my blog is little more than a bit of detritus lying on the side of the information superhighway. However...

...no, there actually is no however. It sucks that I've posted just three times in a month. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to write about.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

dagrims,

I think the main thing is to not put too much pressure on yourself. You're not writing for any specific audience, so just let it flow, and post it.

10:44 PM  
Blogger laurie said...

Wow! Dave, thank you. Blogs are great fun aren't they? I'm particularly drawn to the ones that are personal journals for people. The way some bloggers expose themselves (you know what I mean!) is as beautiful as it is disturbing, at times. I think blogs bring a much needed element of humanity to the cyber realm. I'm so glad you have one!

9:19 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Laurie,

And thank you, in return.

1:48 AM  

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