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Re: <nettime> The banality of blogging
Felix Stalder on Wed, 15 Aug 2007 19:48:53 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> The banality of blogging


Jon Lebkowsky wrote:
> This is an odd conversation that confuses form and content. "Blog" is
> form, just as "book" is form. You can't make a general statement about
> the content or quality of "all" books; there's a huge diversity. What
> you can say most clearly is that books are generally a collection of
> printed pages bound and organized in a particular bookish way.
>
> Same for blogs. What I find true of blogs is that they're generally
> but not always short form series of posts published in reverse
> chronological order, sometimes with comments, usually with permalinks
> to individual posts, etc.

I totally agree. Mixing up the analysis of the form with the analysis
of the content of media is very difficult. Now, you don't have to go
as far as McLuhan and say that only formal aspects matter (medium
is the message, gutenberg galaxy, etc etc). But, still, media as
enviroment (form) and media as channel (content) demand very different
styles of analysis, leading to different results. Each can be valid,
depending what you want to find out.

Yet in both cases, it helps to be specific. If you speak about form   
(ie. blogs in general), it helps to define the formal aspects of      
what consitutes a blog and then think about the consequences of just  
these aspects. If you speak about the content (ie. some particular    
blogs), it helps to be specific about which blogs you speak (those of 
american teenagers, anglo-saxon economic professors, Iranian civil    
rights activists, whatever).                                          

Otherwise, it's all to easy to fall into the trap of taking
one's personal experience as a general one, or of making grand
generalization that don't relate to anything.

Benjamin Geer wrote:
> But as far as I know,
> nobody has suggested that texts published using printing presses are
> inherently... anything. The first books printed were Bibles, not
> because printing presses inherently lend themselves to printing Bibles
> above all else, but because that was what a lot of people wanted to
> read.

This is wrong. Twice. There are a lot of things that are inherent to
texts published using printing presses: they are published as stable,
identitical copies, written by an identifiable author (who may hide in
particular instances, but that there is a neeed to hide is telling).
They are cheap, they are plentyful, and they are written and read
alone, in silence. All of this has deep consequences, as any scholar
of printing can tell you.

Gutenberg printed the bible not as a result of an analysis of the book
market or the preferences of the reading public (none of these existed
at the time). Rather, how else could he show the worthiness of his
new invention if not through the promotion of god's word? While the
technology of Gutenberg was distinctly modern, as an individual, he
was medival.

This is often the case. Technologies are more advanced than their   . 
users Perhaps this is also the case with blogging                   . 

Felix








--- http://felix.openflows.com ----------------------------- out now:
*|Manuel Castells and the Theory of the Network Society. Polity, 2006 
*|Open Cultures and the Nature of Networks. Ed. Futura/Revolver, 2005 

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