Monday, May 7, 2007

To blog or not to blog?

I myself am not very familiar with the blog community. I have never joined or posted on a blog (except this one), at least within the definitions of this class or the introductory articles provided. However, after reading some of the blogs provided as well as some found on my own, I am beginning to realize that there is a whole part of society/culture that I have been missing out on. I am starting to see these personal web logs as a means to venture out beyond the borders of my own ordinary life and examine worlds that were to this point unknown to me. As described in the Blanchard article Blogs As Virtual Communities “This would not necessarily create a global village, but it would expand a person’s village around the globe (Hampton & Wellman, 2001).” In this sense blogs serve as a powerful tool, allowing for people to access communities a world away. It then becomes a question of whether or not these online, interconnected web diaries can constitute a community in the first place. As I read more and more blogs, I came to realize that the sense of membership and integration that one can establish via blogs does constitute the grounds for a community. If anything they represent very specific communities in that you are able to find people with similar interests, problems, emotions, etc. Finding a place in which your own personal identity can take foot amongst other similar characters to me represents the basis for a communal group. Blogs allow for this interaction as you are able to read about as well as respond to people who you may consider interesting/intriguing.
Despite, my “coming around” to the blogging community, I still have my own criticisms of the environment they create. I still get a sense that they represent glorified people-watching, as instead of just being able to watch the actions of a random stranger in a community, you are able to see what they are thinking as the act. This brings to mind an almost fetish like sense of existence as one may find pleasure in this intellectual voyeurism. At least to me the only protection that is offered in this case is the anonymity that a blog can maintain. You may be able to read every word that someone chooses to write on these things, but you will still only be able to know a person as well as they want you to know them. And perhaps it is this idea that can expose a weakness in the idea of a blog group as a community, as the members can only take in what is presented to them by others, they can never really dig much deeper than that. So overall, I guess I still maintain a somewhat ambiguous stance on blogs as at least to me they represent both a powerful method of communication as well as a potentially fickle means to relate to others.

1 comment:

Michael DuPuis said...

Touché Ryan, touché. Although I read a few blogs on a regular basis, I share many of your sentiments presented here (more so when dealing with diarist or egoist type blogs). Although, and I think you'll agree with me here, I find it highly ironic that we are blogging about how we are ambivalent towards blogs. We should start a blog about that. Or, there probably already is one. I'll do a search, while you come up with a tentative name for it.