Saturday, October 18, 2003

MORE SELF-REFERENTIAL BLOGGING

I have told three people about my new blog, so it is probably safe to say that NO ONE is reading this right now.

The responses I got from people when I told them about the blog were less than encouraging. My one room-mate hung his head and laughed. My second room-mate doubted that I would be able to get it going. One of my friends, who I was talking to on the phone, laughed and said "that's not cool and exciting anymore, we'll see if blogs are still around in three years."

Certainly when you're trolling through the blogosphere, even to the limited degree that I do, you can get drawn into the sense that it has a far greater reach and significance than is actually the case. That most people have never heard of blogging and do not care is pretty clear when one is not online.

Nevertheless, I think there is something to be said for the blogosphere being a place where people can engage in dialogue about things from the profound and relevant to the frivolous and marginal. The immediacy of publications all reacting and connecting to one another make the blogosphere a place of on-going conversation. It reminds me of the explosion of print debate through pamphleteering in the 18th century. I think there is potential for the blogosphere to become a new type of public sphere such as existed in the late 18th century. One in which constant dialogue helps to shape new ideas. Not that anyone blogger in particular is going to reform society; but that the aggregate result would be greater than the sum of its parts

I think every blogger, of course, recognizes that a certain degree of vanity is inherent to blogging. Why would anyone want to read what I have to say? How can I compare the blogosphere to the print culture that helped shape western civilization? That these types of questions are recognized implicitly (and explicitly), I think, is a function of the irony of a post-modern age.

Posted by Matthew @ 2:10 PM