[I wrote this as the 'warbloggers' gradually overtook our original weblog network and turned the tech we built to their own narrow, tight focus on hawkish, conservative foreign policy goals (building their own A-lists, their own ratings systems, to support these goals), with the assistance of new-to-blogs journalists seeking newsworthy content. The drumbeats for war in Iraq were already underway. I think this post still holds water today, and serves as a reminder to not take political blogging to heart.]
I’ve been thinking about the concept of kenosis, as interpreted by James Hillman. Comparing it to political weblogging styles. He concieves there are three political states: passive on the sidelines, toeing the party line ... and kenosis, what Hillman defines as “empty protest.” Having no answers, not knowing the correct course to follow, but knowing there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark.
Politikblogs are as ineffective as Hamlet, worrying his desire for public justice like a dog with his favorite toothsome discard. They rage on impotently, endlessly, simply for the sake of releasing emotions. No utopia at the end of the journey; just neverending protests. Today, now, this link is the alpha and omega. When the issue drops from the public eye, the politikblog drops it as well. There are no threads to follow, no connection to a past or a future, no resolution, no responsibility.
Hillman calls empty protest ‘via negativa’, the negative way. I see no politikblogger achieving public justice for any major issue; what I keep coming across is simply a string of petty private revenges.
At the present time, politikbloggers devour each other over the actions of politicians who don’t even know they exist, by reinterpreting carefully selected articles and opinion pieces generated by one of a double-handful of monopolistic media machines, as seen through the rose-colored glasses of their particular political caste.
Truly, “empty protest” ... as is this entire paragraph. Politikbloggers are not alone; you see, I do Hamlet well too.
[Why did I repost this? I don't need to shout at the landscape; I have no control over its contours. I needed this reminder to watch the stars.]
A history of medicine.
2000 b.c. - "Here, eat this root."
1000 a.d. - "That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer."
1850 a.d. - "That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion."
1920 a.d. - "That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill."
1945 a.d. - "That pill is ineffective. Here, take this penicillin."
1955 a.d. - "Oops ... mutation. Here, take this tetracycline."
1960 to 1999 a.d. - Thirty-nine more mutations. "Here, take this more powerful antibiotic."
2000 a.d. - The bugs have won. "Here, eat this root."
Anonymous, quoted in "Overcoming Antimicrobial Resistance", World Health Report on Infectious Disease, 2000.
Today, most publications are built on one of two models: Rely on advertisers or rely on billionaires.
Ripe for disruption. This is what I had hoped weblogs would do; when Deep Horizon caught fire, I tried getting folks near the Gulf to report from their local experience and newspapers, but alas ... fewer bloggers with less interest than in the 00's. We could easily circumvent the 'biggies'. We just don't have the will to do so. Imagine hearing from Rust Belt blogs, or Appalachian blogs, during election 2016. Might have come out much differently.
Later: I type things like this, I hear Saruman's voice coming from Theoden: "You have no power here ..."
Why do we need to have the pretentious and mystifying notion of “curation” drifting in and fogging up the air?
We used to call it 'meme-generation'. And Blogdex measured it. Curation became a desirable 'net term when Maria Popova started using it; her success led it to virality.
Remember to read from bottom-up. Old style blogging. The context is, we bloggers pretty much went over the evidence for months, convinced it was a cobbled-up setup job (those of us outside the drumming Warblogger cadre). Now go and read from that knowledge:
This was back near the height of my traffic draw; when I was still a huge influencer of worldwide internet memes. The numbers were off the charts. I note I was still using Rebecca Blood's quick permalink technique (the +/- character) that she shared with me.
Later: Here's a blast from ye olde past. Those posts, as they looked at the time, courtesy Wayback Machine.
But in all cases, authenticity is key, and the consensus is that long-term relationships are crucial.
You should have listened to little ol' dangerousmeta!. If you create a second, false persona ... your life will be sheer hell. Authenticity is your best strategy, long term. As I said in my '12 years of Blogging' piece back in 2011 (dog years ago):
"What are we, but a complex beautiful messy amalgam of wishes, hopes, wants, desires, dreams, psychoses, fears ... all these things and more? What makes you unique? What makes you different? Strut. Wax eloquent. Moan and groan, if necessary. People love Eeyore, A.A. Milne’s chronically depressed donkey. Surely they’ll at least like you."
I should turn that post into a book. What do you think? [Except for the "Gripes" part. I was pissed at Twitter at the time. A lot of pressure to dump the blog and become a Twitter maven back then. I just couldn't do it.]
Link via Ann Street Studio on Instagram.
Euan gets good discussions going on FB. But I suspect he's using a feature I never really paid attention to until now - friend lists. I think (think, because I've never bothered to look into it) one can click on a 'friend list' (I have a 'blogger' list), and just post to that subset of people.
I need to check this with my local social expert, @MarlitaH ... who will no doubt tell me "Of course you can." And I'll feel like an butthead for not realizing.
Up until now, I thought Euan had mastered some sort of alchemical way to get magic results out of Facebook. Maybe I can see my way to liking Facebook more, if I can leverage this concept. Thanks, Euan!
I've gone in and eliminated about 170 of my follows. A slew of the old A-listers were no longer following me, and not really active. If you haven't been following back or contributing to conversations, I assume you no longer have an interest in being 'social' via Twitter. If my assumption's a mistake, and you're merely avoiding a meta-firehose (you already get me through RSS and don't need my Twitter feed duplicating all that), let me know.
I'm simply refocusing my follows on those who actually converse through Twitter and other social services. To do what I do requires an extremely tight corral of quality sources and discussants. Paywalls are getting up my nose, requiring more time to find a link I can actually use.
I'm always interested in solid new leads. Plenty of room for fresh ideas now.
But I feel it's sort of a watershed moment, this having to economize my time. It's getting close; I can see that sign at the end of the road. When being a link-and-comment blog won't work anymore. If, say, the Guardian, Reuters and/or NPR put up a paywall, I'll be out to sea without a paddle, and this long endeavor will be over. It already hurts to have to link low quality, ad-stuffed resources because all the authoritative ones are behind paywalls.
In the early days, when I was a one-man aggregator (before RSS or Twitter), it was time-consuming ... but I could practically fall over good sources all around the world. Like shopping in a great produce section in a supermarket - the time consuming aspect was choice. Today I have RSS, but it's twice as hard because of monetary blocks, and winnowing through the other, lower quality sources requires extensive research, comparison and contrast ... and trying to find sources without thrice-damned autoplay videos! Today, that supermarket has mousetraps set to snap your fingers if you reach for the best produce.
I just don't like paywalls. I understand the need to make money to continue to finance good newsgathering. But. In a world where everyone now buys their news, we're seeing more and more people only buying news that agrees with their preconceived notions. And news orgs gleefully embracing and encouraging these branded vacuum chambers. I feel that's a terrible risk for a democracy.
First off, Dave's blogging again. HOORAY! Second, he's coming into my RSS aggregator feed. YES. Third, there are so many reasons a horizon can get shifted. I've had the worst time switching from Canon to Nikon. The reference points in the viewfinder are different, and I've had slews of images come with a left-side tilt I've had to correct. Everything looks straight - I put it on a tripod and it's straight. I've come to the conclusion that at certain points of the day, I'm just cockeyed. I have no compunctions about altering the tilt.
Sigma makes a 12-24 'rectilinear' lens. Wonderful for architecture shoots. BUT. Get something too close to a corner, and what is square becomes an odd trapezoid. Architectural features aren't so bad, but if you catch a chair ... it'll turn into something from Alice in Wonderland.
So you're always making compromises to get a 'believable' shot. And, when you pause for a second, a wave of appreciation for what a miracle the human eyeball is.
Mollie really gets the "shove an internet cable in an ear and just let 'er rip" philosophy. A painful, honest, loving piece.
That article I linked yesterday, "small b blogging"? Heck with that. The above is BLOGGING. Blogging as it is supposed to be. No ifs, ands or buts. And no "small b's."
Small b blogging is learning to write and think with the network. Small b blogging is writing content designed for small deliberate audiences and showing it to them. Small b blogging is deliberately chasing interesting ideas over pageviews and scale. An attempt at genuine connection vs the gloss and polish and mass market of most “content marketing”.
We always just called it 'blogging'. Still do. (wink) Fellow old schoolers, you'll enjoy (and chuckle) at this one. We're 'cool' again. For another couple of years.
If there's one thing I miss from blogging with Expression Engine, it's using MarsEdit. Squarespace used to work with it, and then changed APIs. So sadly I cannot use it at present. But MarsEdit remains a favorite app. A little old-school, perhaps, but once you start using it, it beats the hell out of waiting for databases and server site-load lag.
The ethics test looks something like: should this work in this app? Should this change human behaviours? Does this app encourage human flourishing? If not, does it at least not make the human condition shittier?
Would that we had started asking these things about 18 years ago ... hindsight 20/20, as per usual. Caveats galore.
I was able to read this on iPad; hopefully this link will get you to readable text.
There was some discussion on Twitter last night about how we (of the earlier blogging gen) should have shut down extremism, instead of perceiving 'all opinions' as a First Amendment issue. In being magnanimous and patting ourselves on the back, we allowed Pandora's Box to flap open. I faced attacks over this issue in 2000; as I've mentioned before, I find it ironic that my former accusers now moderate their own feeds - or have dropped comments entirely. A certain segment of the warblogger generation opened their comment areas to any and all, creating small self-justifying black holes of discontent; the defining feature of that group was to turn aside from our previous generation, use the tech and culture we had created, and set up their own systems of achievement. We, the originators, became invisible in a short couple of years around the time of the second Iraq War, and some journalists still look back to that warblogger group as the 'original' webloggers. We lost influence - became nearly irrelevant - through having our own rug pulled out from under us. We enabled the tech for utopian goals; we forgot human nature.
This should be patently obvious to anyone with grey matter, but in case it is not ... reposted.
// personal advice // As I've said before, never trade silicon-experience for real-world experience. Leave the tech behind, have adventures, thoroughly enjoy yourself ... THEN bring it all back and blog about it. If you want to. You don't have to. I will say the freshness of perspective hits all aspects of post-enjoyment blogging. // end advice //
I liked Path a whole lot, I just couldn't convince family/friends to dive in. I'll have to look at this. God knows, we need to whack FB to get them to listen to users. Maybe a few hundred thousand defections would have an effect?
Later: Some seem to be concerned about Lebanese ownership of Vero; he is linked to a defunct Saudi construction firm that still owes debt and salaries. Others are freaked out by 'alleged Russian programming.' I suppose we put Vero on the "yellow" sheet. 'Proceed with caution.'