Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Reading Public

Was pleased to read Ben Vershbow's views on the merits of blogging as a process.

I took up the practice myself in 2003 because I realised its value as a way of meshing together a number of existing activities (and different electronic formats) with which I recorded and supported my everyday reading, viewing and correspondence with key contacts.

Not all of these were expressly communicative; some were unashamedly solipsistic:
  • "Short notes"
  • "Long notes"
  • Journal
  • Regular email correspondence
  • Fragmentary writing
When memory and mind-space are a finite resource, and one's daily thought processes are geared towards synthesis or abstraction, any kind of external record will help to spread the processing (or "metabolising") load, as well as ensuring that much of the factual raw material that one has been disciplined to shed is retained in a more or less accessible format. In this way, implicit and intuited information can more easily be blended into the sort of output that is open to reason (one's own and that of others').

However, I have found myself having to consciously correct some of my posts to restore the 'native' one-to-one (or one-to-self) voice which has tended to defer over time to the MSM-style one-to-many mode.

The New York Times take on the Edelman/Wal-Mart's blogger outreach activities reveals some of the key pressure points right now. The MSM would like the blogosphere to conform to the channel model and to thereby assume the same responsibilities of any other one-to-many publication. The PR industy is also inclined to view blogs as a powerful new communications channel. Consequently several agencies are tentatively exploring the opportunities, some of which exist precisely because of many bloggers' reluctance to position themselves an atomised version of the old media.

Anyway, people that think that all blogs sport distinctly individual voices don't read enough of them. When I recently researched blogger comments about a product launch I discovered that well over half of those that had picked up the story had published the contents of the company press release verbatim.

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