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Sunday, 3 June 2012

It's a blog's life


Some aspects of social life are a lot like blogging. You get to know people socially and drift into a range of  typical conversational threads, much like blog comment threads. We tend to stick to a range of subjects per social group, just as we tend to stick to certain blogs. Conversational threads at home are not usually the same as those at work and both of these may differ from those we adopt when blogging or writing comments.

Sometimes there is no social milieu to join because the people you know don't share your full range of ideas or points of view. Socially you may be alone in what you think or say.

Unconventional points of view can be socially dilute in that many are rarely, if ever encountered in daily life. For me this is the big change wrought by the blogosphere - the way it concentrates these dilute viewpoints. Virtual threads connect like-minded people with unconventional ideas in ways that may never have happened socially.

Searching out uncommon conversational threads is rather like hunting for rare books in that you don't always know what you are looking for until you find it. Yet you often know what you aren't looking for - more of the same.

What effect is this having on social and working life? I don't know, but maybe some of us no longer see social or working life as the only significant source of intellectual stimulation. Maybe we never did, but books don't answer back, newspapers are too mainstream and TV is a joke. Now there is another alternative, an interaction between those who think alike but would never have met in the pre-blog world.

I sense many subtleties going on here, social changes we haven't thought through because we have yet to recognize the causes and the effects in any coherent way. But the way blogs overcome the social dilution of unconventional views - that must surely be important. Radical literature, societies, cabals and so forth always achieved that to some degree, but books are unidirectional and social groups hierarchical.

Blogs seem to offer something new but not yet fathomed. A cause without an effect, because I suspect we have yet to see the effect and are not even fully au fait with the cause.

5 comments:

Roger said...

I agree the Web is a new social phenomenon and its impacts yet to be understood - but by the time you understand something it no longer matters.

Despite the Web being vast I find I trip over the same names from time to time, not just in the interlinked blogs, but in fairly unrelated blogs or groups. I reckon there is something in the idea - some people make things happen, some people watch things happening and some people never knew anything happened at all.

Stepping out of the comfort zone and noting those serendipitous landing sites is one of the joys of the Web. Currently trying to find a site I passed by in a hurry a while back but failed to note.

A question - are American textbooks better than British ones?

A K Haart said...

Roger - "Currently trying to find a site I passed by in a hurry a while back but failed to note."

Isn't it in your browser history? I use mine a lot to revisit sites I forgot to save.

A K Haart said...

Roger - apologies, forgot to answer your textbook question.

My limited experience is mixed and I think it may depend on the subject. American literary textbooks can be unreadable while technical textbooks can be very good, often better than British books.

James Higham said...

"What effect is this having on social and working life? I don't know, but maybe some of us no longer see social or working life as the only significant source of intellectual stimulation. Maybe we never did"

Twould be nice were it our livelihood.

A K Haart said...

James - yes and I suppose it may well be for some eventually. Only a few though I guess.