Thursday, August 16, 2007

People on facebook...

There are all these new blogs and independent kinds of comix that I am getting into, and all these people are on facebook. I want to know about the Internet etiquette for dealing with whether or not I am allowed to facebookstalk them if they have their names, nay, their email addresses all over their websites. Can I be their friends if I like their blog, or should I just comment on their blog and leave it at that?

The internet just opens up the whole world to new ways to make friends, but also possibilities of embarrassing yourself.

Monday, June 18, 2007

'the bloggers'

Today I read an article that made a reference to 'the bloggers' in an account of a family feud lived on the internet over an autism charity. Some member of the family had posted one thing on some other website about autism treatments, and then the family charity said on their website that that member did not represent the views of the charity, and that the feud heated up when, 'the bloggers caught wind of it' or something, and insults were being flug left and right.

It was striking to me that a whole slew of people that write about any number of things would be classified with such a blanket term as, 'the bloggers.' Are these people specifically people who concern themselves with celebrity gossip, or charities, or autism, or the media, or what? What does it mean that things got worse once lots of people (and what people?) started writing about it? These are things that are more about the blogger as the everyman journalist, I suppose, but it still seemed like something interesting at the least.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

I done good.

I graduated! And I ended up doing well in my classes after all. Things are looking alright, and I really do like the idea that this is still here waiting for me. Who knew.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

New Beginnings

This is the last post I will write that will count for a grade. Whether or not the absence of a class will really end this blog is yet to be determined. Now that the pressure is off, I’m starting to get into it, but we’ll see if that survives the summer. But, as the blog and internet goes, I’ll have it for as long as it doesn’t get deleted, so it is also conceivable that I might come back to it after a little while if I fall off the wagon. It will exist even if it ceases to live, or something. All that said, with my own commencement only days away, I wanted to write a new beginning for this project; a new proposal to think about the principle questions that I was asked at the beginning of the semester when it began:
What am I doing?
Why am I doing it?
From reflecting on the posts I’ve made thus far, in addition to the articles I read, and recollections of meetings with my professor, I have begun to re-envision the purpose of this project, my blog, and what I want it to be.

At once I want it to be a place where I can remember to try to be in play —in the sense of questioning, re-imagining, deconstructing, thinking about, deriving meaning from and engaging with — texts. Right now that means specifically with the blog text, and might grow to mean the internet text, or the whole Text with a capital T. Baby steps. Hopefully this will help me learn what it means to be in play, to get to the place where I don’t know where I’m going. I want it to be a place where I can be in the constant state of “working it out,” so much so that it becomes play and never gets worked out. I want the experience of the play to be mediated through this blog. This will hopefully help fulfill another goal that I have for it, which is that it will serve as an outlet for me to maintain a rich intellectual life after college. Though I don’t think the tone will be quite the same as being academic, I want to remember to think about things the way I thought about them in college, and have practice thinking about them this way after I am no longer in this kind of environment. Hopefully this will stem the flow of forgetting, and even if I’m not writing papers anymore, at least I can still think about things.

I will continue to write about blogs and blogging, but with newfound knowledge and a little bit of insight. At this point I’m more interested in looking at blogging as a practice and how it exists within (what once was) a tangible textual framework of paper and limited dimension. I want to look more at internet theory, or at least the theory behind the internet text, and think about if it relates to the theory that came before, as well as how it might. I’m still interested in my writing problem, and mastery of text, so some of what I write about will probably be about HOW to write. A new vision of writing. But, while I keep the theory I want to write more thoroughly about blogs. I want to read them, keep track of them, think about their content, become hooked on them. I learned how to read books before I learned how to talk about books, and I watched movies before I learned how to talk about movies: it follows that I should read blogs before I can learn how to talk about them. I want to look at what the blogs mean for the theory and what the theory means for the blogs, and become a discourse. From this it seems that I cannot have one without the other: I don’t want either to exist in a void without the other. I want the chicken and the egg.

In terms of the kinds of blogs I want to read… I am still interested in the personal blog, how it functions as a memory space and a representation of the self, public versus private, orality versus textuality, etc., etc., etc. At this point, I am more interested in looking at why people say they do it, what it means for their self-understanding, and the self-conscious reasoning behind starting an online diary, because I think not accounting for the personal reasons why people do what they do (or at least, why they think they do what they do) would be a bit hypocritical, at this point. Part of the interest lies in my feeling that this project in the hands of other people for other reasons would turn out differently, and I think the same goes for any blog, but especially for something so personally motivated as a diary. People’s diaries are all the same (essentially, maybe) but I think there is something so fundamental in dairy writing and memory recording that is located in the reasoning behind the preservation, the compulsion to do it in the first place.

I’m also interested in reading more blogs like mine, blogs about blogging and other blogs. Sort of like the blogs written by academics like I’ve talked about before, but also just reviews of blogs, about blog culture, blog posting, and the world of the blog in general. I mean, this is a meta-blog. It could be a meta blog about other meta blogs and be the ultimate meta. Hehe. I’m also starting to get interested in blogs about other media like movies or TV, and blogs with references to pop culture. I don’t think I’ll be completely indiscriminate about them, but I think my breadth of interest will be sufficintely represented on the blog as I write about them (meaning that if I think something is really interesting, I’ll write about it a lot). At this point, I feel like if I’m going to be overwhelmed then I might as well be properly overwhelmed. Lately I’ve been thinking about it like going to browse in a huge bookstore and not knowing where to start, but just going, and not feeling so much pressure because it isn’t like the books are going to disappear. This is a little different because there are (I think) way more, in a really consolidated place, and one can lead to another and lead to another, deeper and deeper forever and infinity. But… they aren’t going to disappear. So I’ll be able to read the ones I want and pass up the ones I don’t like.

In terms of the future of the blog in general, if I want to do things the way I’ve outlined above, I really need to post more. A blog can exist with infrequent posts, but if I want this to basically be a mediated thought process of text in play, then it definitely won’t do to post so infrequently. Maybe that will work if I’m not thinking about it a lot, or… the blog will become something else entirely, which I also want to remain possible. However, if I do keep up with it and want it to grow, maybe I’ll learn some basic HTML and make it look pretty. Or at least prettier. Or at least so people can see the blogs I read. I wouldn’t want it to be overwhelming, but perhaps not so sparse. I also would want to start commenting on other people’s blogs, in the hopes that maybe they would comment on mine. It could turn into a conversation between bloggers, their blogs, and their text.

Even though this isn’t at all what I imagined happening with this project, I’m satisfied with the way that it turned out. I like the idea that having a problem with something doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m an idiot. I’m starting to dig the sort of quizzical look at the world and how it’s interesting, and how the different ways one looks and processes media is just interesting, a subject onto itself, and doesn’t say anything about me as a person. I’ll probably be working that one around for a little bit more, but at least now I’ll have someplace to do that. Also, I’m used to big huge hard projects being really stressful; if it isn’t stressful, I might be doing it wrong. And while this stressed me out quite a bit for awhile, I feel like I got over it. I’m about to push the ‘publish’ button and I’m not freaking out. It’s a nice feeling.

And with all that, I am done with college. Thanks for reading this big long post. So commences the rest of my life, with my blog in tow…

Sunday, May 20, 2007


I've been thinking the last couple of days about what I want this blog to be. I think the sentiment has been weaving itself in and around the things I've been posting. But, getting to that later...

Right now I'm sort of looking at both what I want it to be and how it can be that. Lately (again) I've been reading a lot of people's blogs who turn out to be English and media faculty at various colleges and universities... and I really like them. And my first instinct is for my blog to be like theirs, and I want to be able to do everything they can do, i.e. they can write intelligently and interestingly about blogs/ the media/ different media/ etc.... and then I almost start to feel hopeless because I will never be able to do that, and my blog will never be that, I'd get overwhelmed, and the self-doubt song and dance starts again. I mean, I am graduating and I obviously must know everything that those people know, those people with years of experience in the world of the academy, who have been trained to take media and absorb it in a certain way. Right?

Uh, no.

Right now I have (will soon have, same diff) an undergraduate degree. And I am sure this project, and this process would have gone a whole lot differently for me had I been a big blogger during my four years here, or paid attention to blogs at all, but I wasn't and I didn't. Where does that leave me in the face of these academic bigwigs? Just because I am about to graduate doesn't mean that I expect that I am now at the level where I could write a scholarly article for a journal... why do I expect that my blog can be at the "level" of their blogs? Is it partially to do with the democratization of publishing? Because it is true, even if my blog looks sparser and no one reads it... my textual endeavor is inhabiting the same space as theirs. It isn't a school paper that is only for my professor to their Jstor criticism for their colleagues and peers... our publishing is a theoretical one to one. At this point, I am looking at what they are doing, and trying to see how it can be imitated, because that is partially how I learned to write for school:
1. read a LOT. (Somehow without getting overwhelmed. That still seems like a key step I'm missing. Do I just not care, and read what I can, or what I think is interesting?) Reading and responding seems like a preferred method: they are all in dialogue.
2. post more. That kind of goes without saying, but alas... how to respond if you don't post?
3. Being self-aware and a little meta about things: acknowledging the things you're doing and why you're doing and what you think is interesting and why also seems like a running theme, which I think I am covering to a degree, if ever so less eloquently.
4. Though posting more is good, sometimes per post less is more. A few sentences of commentary sometimes will suffice, especially if it looks like it is between that and writing nothing.
5. Editing your writing (I think this might become a future goal, because right now that's too much stuff to think about. Who cares if the writing is bad if no one is reading it anyway?)

While I feel that these are all good things for me to think about, I definitely don't want to get too wrapped up in thinking that this pseudo- intellectual wannabe academic blog writing is the only way to go. While immediately it looks like that is the kind of thing I find most interesting and close to what I'd like to be doing, or at least what I'd be wanting to aim for, I know I'm not at all quite there yet, and I want to experiment with other kinds of writing, layout, and ways of thinking in terms of HOW I can get there, without purely imitating... because I know that will only take me so far (just as it did in school).

Saturday, May 19, 2007

time stamping

I read this article where it said time stamping was really essential to the nature and the identity of a blog as a textual thing. Because it makes it different from a webpage because things come up in reverse chronological order and it is a changing thing because of the archives and stuff. But on blogger, you can totally go back and edit/ delete your posts, as well as change the time stamp on things. It makes it so unless someone had been reading a blog along the whole time, you could totally write a whole blog in like, three months (or I dunno, however long it takes to write a book) and post things all at once, and the blog would just APPEAR and not be immediate. Or you could lie and write two posts in a day but have them be timestamped on different days... or you could accidentally refer to something a bunch of times without saying what it was, and then go back and timestamp something before you started reffering to it and say what it was so all the other posts makes sense.

I dunno. I kind of like it (and have used it for this blog when I have two things to post that are totally different, like writing one and saving it for a day to post it) but I think its really weird that:
a. I feel like I am manipulating time and
b. that people (pretty universally) think of a timestamp as a defining characteristic of the blog and you can basically manipulate it all you want.
c. that we have the ability to manipulate it in the first place. why is that even a feature?

Although it seems like you can do some pretty interesting stuff with that. Like I could go back and fill in the blanks of high-school internet me as (almost) post-college me via my internet blog and no one would really know that I'd done anything, because of the timestamp. I could have written that whole blog this semester too, and who would know? I guess there are some people who read it while I was writing it (maybe?) but still... That's kind of crazy.

Friday, May 18, 2007

blogs I've seen and things

I feel kind of bad because I haven't really kept a running tally of the blogs I've seen around, meaning mostly I haven't kept track of the links. At some point I'd really like to start keeping a list of bookmarks or something, even if I don't read the blogs again, but so I can at least remember the links for the ones that are interesting. But I want to start to read some on a regular basis... like I read the new york times. Like I check my email. If this is going to be something I want to continue I want it to become a bit more of a habit, and I really should learn more about how to have things on a blogroll and make the page not look quite so barren. I'm still thinking about what I'd actually want to write about on here...

which takes me back to all these blogs I've seen, but hadn't really thought about as relevant, but really they are all important to looking at how this whole text thing works. I guess any blog can be a personal blog, because there is something about the person in all that writing somewhere, but the diary ones are still my main interest, even if they are all really dead or teenagers are the only ones who write on them and I have to move on to another genre soon. The ones I like the most are the ones that have a little bit of everything — I read one by this professor at Claremont who writes about conferences she's going to, her research and papers, grading things, pop culture and movies she's seen, and her every day life (which is kind of weird even though she's not my professor... what? Professors have lives?)... anyway, her whole blog is pretty interesting, because it isn't really about any one thing. But there are definitely blogs that are interesting because of what they say about music, or politics, or moustaches (seriously... I saw this one that was basically a virtual moustache growing contest. Woah).

And for all of them, my interest in their content is definitely dependent on the way they are written, or at least the personality that comes through people's writing. Which is personal... even if none of it necessarily shows me anything about what/ who they are as a person. I don't really know where that leaves me in terms of thinking blogs are cool in general as a textual problem, but I kind of am thinking that's always going to be there and I need to move on, but just not get overwhelmed.

I'm kind of liking this twisty-turny writing where I sit down to say something and sort of just go instead of planning things out, or knowing what I'm going to say. I mean, I like that I wanted to sit down and say something about the moustache blog and the other blog, but I wasn't sure what and its interesting for me turn around and look at where I went. Like wandering around somewhere without a map and then figuring out later if your route made sense. Architecture analogies are really nice for me in this context, I think.