Weblogs:

Where did blogging go right?

 

April 7,2002

Somedays I hate the fact that I think SO DAMN much. I was told once or read once that I "live in my head". It is true.

So, this paper I am doing for my Electronic Communications course is killing me but also encouraging me. Odd, I know.

"Humans should not be misused, abused, overused, but they should be OF use." - Maya Angelou

That may be the goal of humans everywhere. To simply be of use to someone else. Entertain them. Be nice. Go Maya!

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." -Martin Luther King Jr.

He's got that right.

 

D is for Design:

The web designer was the first person to take the web from being textually based to visually based. "The ultimate ambition of the web designer seems to be to integrate and absorb all other media. (208)" While the weblogs stays textual, it does integrate other media (sidebars of news articles, links of information, pictures and sound to connect to) better than homepages and some hypertext.

The main reason for the popularity of weblogs is built into the design. To compare it to the personal web page which hasn't received such a welcome to the general public, the immediacy and hypermediacy is there and in larger quantities. The personal site takes time, weblogs can be accessed from anywhere. Personal homepages don't allow for much linkage right away (they may have a "Links" page, but weblogs have it right on the first page uploaded) to other sources of supplemental importance, weblogs do. Personal web sites showcase the user's hobbies, interests, well-thought out essays, but rarely link to another source or site that the reader could access for further reading. Usually, a blogger has many links within their writing piece. This allows for control over what the user wants to read, and not as much scrolling. To find something within a personal site, the linear feel isn't there due to needing to link over to another page or pages. Weblogs have everything in a linear, chronological form making it easier and faster to find a date or specific information. This, in connection with the original medium of print, is perhaps why the public is attracted to the weblog because it keeps the linear form, but adds electronic communication's need for more control and more access.

Humanized design strategies taken by web designers, in general: "move the reader to desired information more efficiently, (202)" "bring (readers/surfers) closer to events by offering such transparent media instead of mere prose, (203)" "is economic, (204)" and "offers an even more private experience than television, because the individual browser is often alone with her machine. (204)"

Within this private experience, which attracts the reader, is the notion of reading someone else's diary. Something that was taboo has become acceptable. The reality television show has been remediated here perhaps by flipping it into reality internet, reality electronic communications. People essentially exploit their minds for the general public to read. On television, we can only watch people live from the outside of their bodies (Survivor, The Real World), but with weblogs we get to go inside. "Design should make use of the natural properties of people and of the world: it should exploit natural relationships and natural constraints. As much as possible, it should operate without instructions or labels. (Norman 188)"

Another reason for popularity is that "As a format and content approach for a Web site, the Weblog seems popular because the viewer knows that something changes every day, there is a personal (rather than bland commercial) point-of-view, and, on some sites, there is an opportunity to collaborate or respond with the Web site and its participants. (kottke.org)"

 

"Design is a creative activity whose aim is to establish the multi-faceted qualities of objects, processes, services and their systems in whole life-cycles. Therefore, design is the central factor of innovative humanization of technologies and the crucial factor of cultural and economic exchange." (icsid.org/iddefinition.html)

Design, in general, of everything we have needs to be easy to understand. What closer relevance do we have to understanding something than that of an object that is designed for ease with the human mind and body? "The operation of any device- whether it be a can opener, a power generating plant, or a computer system- is learned more readily, and the problems are tracked down more accurately and easily, if the user has a good conceptual model. (Norman 189)" Our concept model is the journal or diary.

"A major role of new technology should be to make tasks simpler. A task can be restructured through technology, or technology might provide aids to reduce the mental load. (Norman 191)" Cell phones will voice activation, cars with travel programs built in, CD players in the trunk so the driver just pushes buttons….

 

"Four major technological approaches can be followed: Keep the task much the same, but provide mental aids; use technology to make visible what would otherwise be invisible thus improving feedback and the ability to keep control; automate, but keep the task much the same; change the nature of the task. (Norman 191-2)"

 

Hypertext INFORMATION pages 211-213 in Norman

"Writers frequently complain that the material they are trying to explain is complex, multi-dimensional. The ideas are all interconnected, and there is no single sequence of words to convey them properly. Moreover, readers vary enormously in skill, interest, and prior knowledge. Some need expansion of the most elementary ideas, some want more technical details…. How on earth can a single document satisfy them all, especially when that document must be in a linear sequence, words following words, chapters following chapters? It has always been considered part of the skill of a writer to be able to take otherwise chaotic material and order it appropriately for the reader. Hypertext relieves the author of this linear order; the reader can pursue the material in whatever order seems most relevant or interesting. (Norman 212)"

 

 

E. Conclusion

The future of weblogs (use Wired article)

"Blogging is changing the media world and could, I think, foment a revolution in how journalism functions in our culture." (Wired article)

Is this a "publishing revolution more profound than anything since the printing press"? "Blogger could be to words what Napster was to music- except this time, it'll really work." (Wired)

"This is democratic journalism at its purest. Eventually, you can envision a world in which the most successful writers will use this medium as a form of self-declared independence." (Wired)

What is the social impact these have and will continue to have? Better for high school kids to be on because they act as a means to communicate the chaotic times they are going through. For the technogeek, these blogs are a way to share findings and sources. And for the basic 'older' blogger using the weblogs for confessional usage, the blogs can lead to better writing skills and/or a better understanding of one's 'self'… include quotes from Remediations chapters on self… virtual self, etc.

Will weblogs outrank the New York Times Web site by 2007 based on a Google search of five keywords? (from Wired) "The first such sites- essentially electronic diaries to which readers could add their comments- appeared in the mid-90's; the current tally may well be in the hundreds of thousands."

 

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Works Cited

Kottke, Jason. "kottke.org: undesign" www.kottke.org . 07 Apr 02.

Sullivan, Andrew. "The Blogging Revolution." WIRED. May 2002: 43-44.