musings of a mediabot

Posts Tagged ‘Marshall McLuhan

There appears to be blurred boundaries on what exactly is a blogger.  Corey Doctorow et al. explain this very point in Essential Blogging (ch. 1) and conclude with various descriptors – “hunks of information,” “a soapbox” where editors and authors can post “whatever the hell we feel like,” etc. 

Regardless of the difficulty to really dissect a blog and what it is, – How can you dissect something that transforms with such ease and within nano-seconds of a collective experience? – it is clear that a powerful monster (interpret it as you will) is at play and quickly maturing at lightening speed. 

There are many questions to be pawed at and toyed with and regurgitated for further discussion when it comes to blogs.  But one that particularly has been nagging me is How can a simple statement of a handful of sentences long give birth to a discussion of anywhere from 2-50 (or more!) people, strangers no less!, and how do these collection of perspectives, and sometimes very colorful personalities, add value to anyone’s life? 

Dan Gillmor in We The Media points out that members of today’s online community who contribute to our understanding of the world, and react to and interpret what the media offer to that understanding, are in fact getting sucked into a black-hole of sorts.  A most interesting passage that brings this to mind is Gillmor’s attribution to Marshall McLuhan in his work Understanding Media where McLuhan explains our adoption of digital media as a “technological simulation of consciousness, when the creative process of knowing will be collectively and corporately extended to the whole of human society.” 

Holy crap, that is deep.  And very, very true.  The rapid explosion of blogs attest to this.  I once thought of blogs as random touch-points where you could hop into the brain of this stranger who obsesses about food or into the brain of this geek who likes to spill secrets about this new gadget or into the brain of this pissed off consumer who bought stale rice cakes.  I was wrong to think that, surely, blogs cannot be true reflections of our reality.

People lie out there.  Not everyone has their facts; not everyone researches before making claims, not everyone apologizes when they misguide others.  However, I would be an ignorant citizen if I thought that blogs are random thoughts that random people contribute to out of boredom, out of selfish money-hungry reasons, out of a need to get noticed.  Maybe I should stop being so cynical, don’t you think?  And maybe, alas, I am starting to.

So, back to my question: Do blogs and the elements that make up the blog (the original author, the commentators, the links, the various wikis, etc.) add value to our lives?  Gillmor and Doctorow et al. would say Yes.  I say Yes. 

And this one (pro)blogger would say Hell yes! and would yell out from the rooftops that blogs = reality.

It is clear that we blog (including yours truly) because we feel compelled to the mysterious force of the Internet that has woven itself into the fabric of our daily lives.  We are a technologically-creative race.  We are a new hybrid of people, half-temporal and responsible for everyday functions, and half-everlasting – part of a digital landscape that will never die as long as there is the Internet and portholes to the complex web of blogs.