Saturday, May 28, 2005

Fear and loathing in the Blogosphere

Thanks to the "Next Blog" button which Blogger considerately places at the top of this page, it was easy for me to take a quick tour of the "blogosphere."

The first five hits revealed it as a wondrous place of trenchant commentary, significant discourse and high pathos:

1. squirrels on speed
2. Wabbits wuv karrots farm
3. freak on the loose
4. The World According to Me (Perception = Reality)

and one blog devoted entirely to thousands of links to porn sites. (I'm suppressing the title because it violates my completely arbitrary and secret Standards and Practices Code.)

Some blogs are ... well ... just a little self-serving. This would be in contrast to my blog, which is fully oriented towards YOU, dear reader, and has nothing to do with my ego. For instance:

Mortgage Loans in [southern state deleted] and Home Buyer Topics

Hello my name is [name deleted]. I'm the mortgage loan officer at Aggressive Mortgage Corp. I enjoy helping families through the often complex processes of obtaining a mortgage loan. So often, consumers are herded into mortgage programs with no regard to the actual needs of the home buyer, current and projected. I created this mortgage blog for your comments and questions. Please share your thoughts.
What the hell is an "aggressive mortgage?" Does the collection agency employ angry out-of-work Nova Scotia fishermen to hector you over the phone? Are you surprised that this blog has many posts, but no comments or questions? How can I avoid a similar fate?

Hello my name is Andy Lang. I'm the unemployed web consultant living in Andy Lang's apartment. I enjoy helping churches through the often complex processes of obtaining websites and web communities. So often, Christians are herded into web strategies with no regard to the actual needs of the end user, current and projected. I created this web blog for your comments and questions. Please share your thoughts.
Share away! But, aggressive mortgages aside, my brief tour of the blogosphere has deepened my conviction that there are no boring people, just people who are boring. The blogosphere is a rich compost heap of self-revelation, where you can learn much about the human condition. And if you have ready access to a gun, a knife or a source of carbon monoxide, that knowledge could be dangerous.

week is pretty same as previous. Some thing interesting this week, last night have my gals night out again, went to Acid Bar at somerset. We came too late at 9.30pm coz after my driving and in the end everyone were late ... at first wanna go Newasia bar, look good but got entrance fee of $20. So we decided to join WanTheng's gang. Cheow Guan was already gone. Ok, the thing is CG tried to matchmade Niger and WanTheng together. hee, so when WanTheng said she had this gathering, CG immediately call Niger along. People started to mix around and beeyen got her encounter ... a friend's friend's friend ... a guy tried to matchmade her with a korean guy ... ok, but the korean guy is too old and its the type that totally not suit beeyen. So she was giving me this kinda of face like "What the %^%#, uncle, or please" look all the night till the guys left. I think the 3 guys are desperate though, trying to pick us out, maybe not us, should be pick "her" out last night ... hahaha, but I had a good laugh (I know I very bad). The drinks are good, and the music are great too. Too bad no chicken wings....
I don't want to seem misanthropic, but don't we need a new term for "lumpenproletariat" that fits the 21st century? "Lumpenblogobrat" or something along those lines? Suggestions?

And I loved this title: The Daily Bitchpatch. Can I steal it? I'm looking for something that conveys the spirit of a bitter middle-aged single male lashing out at the world. ("When I was your age, we had to write our blogs on tiny bits of paper and carry them in a sack eight miles through hurricane-force winds to the post office! And we liked it!") Any ideas?

I'm also looking for blogs from my Lieblingsland: East Elbian Germany. This one at first seemed promising:

Life In Dresden

Now, Dresden is one of Europe's great cities: a place of high culture and intellectual creativity. I'd love to follow a blog from Dresden. But, no, this blogger lives in Dresden, Ontario. The pix of Gollum and Chuckie (the homicidal doll) should have given it away.

Here's an interesting blog authored by a young USAF technician deployed in South Korea:

A Twig on the Shoulders of a Mighty Stream

Truly poetic! But take a look at his worldview:

This is my ongoing philosophy in life. It is my belief that in life, our general course in life is pre-determinded by events that are beyond our control, such as genetics, parenting, environment, and social/economic conditions. However, the stream is wide, and we are not completely helpless on our course through life.
Just slightly deterministic, don't you think? But his is a kinder and gentler determinism, since "we are not completely helpless" as we rush down that mighty stream of life. Nevertheless, the author writes well and he's a fan of the brilliant Mormon science fiction writer, Orson Scott Card, so I'm going to bookmark this one.

Speaking of determinists:

Fundamentally Right

It appears that the Muslims aren’t content just to live here in Jesus Land. They have plans for you and me. If you’re not a Muslim, they’re being taught to hate you. They are making plans to change America, the land of the free, that has taken them in. They’re working from within to destroy us.
This blogger occupies the Right Hemiblogosphere—a dreary and dismal place. And most of his recent posts were a continuous rant against John Kerry—six months after Kerry tanked in the election! But I'm not one to make fun of obsessive states: 15 years after the Anschluss, I'm still mourning for my beloved East Germany. Erich Honecker, we hardly knew ye!

Mr. Fundamentally Right chooses as his subtitle: "You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free." But the next hit took me in the opposite direction:

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.—Socrates
That's debatable: for instance, I do know as a fact that drinking a cup of hemlock will make me dead. I'm with Aristotle on that one. But it's hard not to approve of the blog's other quote:

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.—George S. Patton
And now, dear reader, the conclusion: After moving through these various determinisms that inhabit the blogosphere, I came at last to a total solipsism:

You are
You basically fucking rock
You are the coolest that is and probably ever was
You don't even consider yourself cool but you are
There are a lot of people who are envious of you
You don't really give a fuck
Get down with your cool self yo'
That would be the theme of my blog. This is the world according to me, where my perceptions equal your reality. So let's all get down with my cool self yo'!


At 3:52 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Note to self: don't use plain-old-vanilla for church stuff. [grin] Of course, all you need is another Web site to FTP to and you can get rid of the blogger bar at the top. Every time you publish thereafter, blogger FTPs appropriate pages to your site.

Cool blog Andy, Paul

At 5:10 PM, Blogger Andy Lang said...

Ah, yes, the porn sites. "Pastor Olav Tjorbjornson was fired by the church council of St. Dysmas Lutheran Church after members complained that his personal blog linked to the "Secular Humanist Babes with Big Boobs Blog."

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Of course, if were on the ball, they could let each blog author select a category for their blog, and then give you the option of "Next Blog in this category." Not that I'm obsessed with control, or even "safe blogging."

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Andy Lang said...

Right you are, Paul. This is turning out to be a good practice run that'll help (I hope) if blogging tools are on the agenda for the web community project.

A couple of lessons here:

(1) You can't do much more than post messages w/o knowing HTML and CSS. Even something as simple as posting links in the side column requires insertion of code. And the documentation is horrible! There's a "wishlist" option in my Profile, for example. Not a word in their so-called "knowledge base" defining what the heck would happen if you turned it on. And uploading pix using their free software is a nightmare from the end-users point of view. I had to patch in my photos by hand, and in future I'll just FTP them to a subdirectory on my website and link to them.

(2) The environment discourages conversation. It's amazing how non-interactive blogs are. Let's say, for instance, that we put Walter Brueggemann on a blog (not that we could do that: he's a brilliant communicator but a technophobe). Wouldn't you love to have an energizing conversation w/ him about his latest books? But that would be hard to do here: comments are an afterthought linked inconspicuously at the end of a comment, and the display discourages more than one-graf replies. A mailing list or a group would be more suitable.

Also working against interactivity: we're having a nice conversation here, but that's because you made the effort to scroll halfway down the main page past a couple of my verbose posts (verposts?) to see if I'd replied. Why no option of providing access to new replies at the top of the page? Or an option that users can get email notifications when a comment has been added to one of their favorite topics?

So, not a bad tool for an online diary that a few of my friends might or might not find interesting. I don't see much more than that, though. It creates the illusion that everybody can become their own publisher, but it misses the interactivity which--unless you're an online periodical with a big professional staff--is the best and perhaps only way really to communicate in cyberspace. Do you think the "Blogosphere" is a lot of hype?

Those are questions rather than hard conclusions.

At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andy, I told you about Andy Carvin and Digital Divide Network in an email. Here is the URL of their group weblogs:

Seems to me this might provide a cognate model for a weblog clearinghouse of sorts...


At 12:52 AM, Blogger Dr Purva Pius said...

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