November 11, 2005

Blogs as evidence in a new context.

Blogs as evidence of thought

Blogs can give physicality to a story that might otherwise be only verbal. The evanescence of an oral/aural story can cause some discomfort for those who like to keep track of such things. We are culture obsessed with nailing life down, setting the record straight, and “creating history.” We want evidence. We want proof.

In this sense, blogs offer people a place to create artifacts out of their ideas. Though the web still has an ephemeral quality, if you put your thoughts on a blog, they can be seen, touched, printed out into a hard copy. It is similar to the way a person might draw you a quick graph in order to elucidate a point in a conversation. Both offer you a tangible object to look at that confirms the spoken concept.

Context decides the thought.

So, how do we take these tangible objects of thought, that are so easily published on the web, and shelve them properly in the world of text? Is it conversation, or is it text? It is both. But our reflex is to offer it some of the same prestige as non-web published material. But is that appropriate?

As a private person, I can understand professional or academic blogging more than personal diary-style blogging. When Jill Walker discussed the Justin Hall blog , it seemed to have had more in common with reality television than anything else. Here, again, it seems like publishing for self-validation and acknowledgement.

Yet, we hear again and again in the media, “I wanted to tell my story so that others could learn from it,” which has some legitimacy. We tell our stories and connect with other people. We find meaning in our lives through our relationships. So why do I feel a distaste for personal blogs? It could be that there is a certain level of narcissism to publish so much of your private life. Yet, I believe in the value of self-exploration. Do we live in a culture that thinks the need for affirmation is a weakness?

So, here I am, in the middle of my own self-exploration, for the sake of scholarship, on a blog. This is my context, for now.

Posted by wood0072 at November 11, 2005 11:00 AM