The first thing I thought about when thinking about starting this blog was the question: Why blog? Of all the media (and especially of all the media available free for anyone’s use on the internet), why choose blogging? What can be accomplished, and why do people blog?
The way I see it, blogging and other internet media represent the third revolution in the distribution of technology- the first being the oft-referenced Gutenberg press which took literacy and knowledge out of the monasteries and enabled fairly regular people to own books for the first time; and the second being the advent of affordable home computers, especially word-processing and the internet. The leap from the second stage to the third is not essentially one of technology (although the development of more sophisticated web services, such as Flickr, Youtube, etc… has helped) but one of mindframe, of paradigm shift. People no longer are just able to blog, but blogging is increasingly becoming accepted as a legitimate medium of information; albeit quite different to others. At the cost of the credibility associated with major news services and other more traditional ways of geting our information, a whole new world is opened up- of personal opinion, a perspective into the lives and experiences of others and original creativity. When subjective experience and opinion is sought over objective fact, blogging becomes a medium very difficult to beat.
So then we must recognize the immense power of such a medium, giving people speech and expression like never before (even in places like China!) and helping the post-constructivists break down the meta-narrative into the voices of a billion people (give or take…). Though it is certainly the idea of blogging that is the most powerful, the technology available also increases the ways in which people may express themselves. Photographers can take photos of their home city or holidays and post them on Flickr, along with geotags (so that people may see exactly where the photos were taken); performing artists can upload audio or video recordings of themselves on services such as Youtube to increase their exposure; political commentators can by series of hyperlinks to other blogs and news services critically analyse current affairs and provide explanations, arguments and challenges to what is reported in traditional established media. All of these forms of expression can be directly embedded into blogs, providing an individual with a space in which to express themselves- in the case of writers, musicians, etc…, to publish their work for free (or close to it)!
Other than the uses of blogs outlined above, people can give their opinions on any topic, regardless of whether they are qualified to or not– however, some may argue this medium entitles and qualifies us all to give our opinions and it is the responsibility of the discerning reader to evaluate opinions and take everything with a grain of salt. People can express themselves creatively, through uploaded music or art, poetry, short stories. People can give us a look into their lives– the anonymity of the web means we may gain a glimpse into what would otherwise be closed to us. People can just make observations about topics ranging from world affairs to their own lives.
So how is this relevant to my blog? Well, I was thinking about these questions when thinking about what I should write about. We have climbed the ladder of abstraction (or have we gone down? which way are generalities?) and climbed down again to the specific (or have we gone up? I really regret bringing in the whole concept of the ladder…) to consider what is happening in this blog. Well, I see this blog as a mixture of observations, expressions and opinions. Some ideas include reviewing of albums, movies, books and gigs. I promise (but may not deliver) to delve into the hidden areas of the city (Melbourne, Australia) and with the aid of my camera and geotagging show exactly how interesting it is. My opinions, however misguided, on various political and philsophical topics will be thrust in the face of whoever deigns to read this. It would also be a good medium for creative expression- short stories, updates on musical recordings, etc…
I’m well aware that nobody will read this, at least for now. But perhaps if I make the blog interesting enough, somebody will. So this blog has begun with a post about blogging. I’m sure that if I can find the time to do all the things I promised in the previous paragraph, at least somebody out there in the “internet” (some form of magical world?) will read it.