Sunday, August 14, 2005

I blog therefore I exist

I've been thinking about blogs this week. I've spent an inordinate amount of time trekking tirelessly in search of blog sites that interest me. Frankly, most don't. However, that's not the point.

There are a multitude of blog genres emerging -- personal journals, journalistic sites, commercial blogs. video and photoblogs and aggregate sites. It's like watching evolution in fast forward. According to David Sifry, the number of blogs online have doubled in the past five months, which means that there is a blog created every second somewhere in the world. Of the 88,000 blogs that are created every day, around 55% are active. The point is that more text is being produced by more people than anytime in human history!! (Take that all you doomsayers who claimed that the internet and digital technolgoes would kill 'traditional' skills and practices....they're still there but are also evolving. Civilization as we know it is not ending).

Why are we all going blog crazy? There are a lot of reasons. I could cite loads but here's just two: the affordances of the technology enable and encourage it; the rapid embedding of digital technologies across all zones and cultures makes it an increasingly valued social practice. However, this last week as I've been clicking through blog and blog after blog, I've been thinking that there is one thing that brings all these other reasons to a sharp point (in all but the really commercial sites): the need to be heard. A couple of sites bring this home strongly -- there's one called "This is me writing...I write..then I EXIST" (the title says it all) and "PostSecret"(where people anonymously post their darkest secrets).

There's still lots of interesting work around identity and identity politics to be done in relation to online activities and cultures. And, of course, there's loads of implications for those of us who work in the field of literacy -- what else are literate skills for if they're not about enabling each of us to be heard?


Mary Plain said...

This is so like the point that Le Guin makes in 'Why are we sitting round the campfire?' (I may not have that title right but it is her paper in 'On Narrative' where she uses such examples as the inmates of Treblinka and dear old Tolfink who carved runes in Durha cathedral to say 'Tolfink carved these runes in this place'. I am sure you know this piece but if not ask me in September at the ESRC seminar. It is one of my favourite papers of all time.
(For me I also write my blog so that I can maintain contacts with fellow digital literacies even though we don't work in the same place. Which in a way is also saying hey, I am here. )

Simply Clare said...

Ursula Leguin?????