Affects of the Blog on Modern Media Parameters

A blog is a tool that is subject to the limits of communicative media, taking form in both the written and the visual. Departing from the earliest extensions of the human mind into speech we skip ahead to current/recent manifestations of electronic writing-which is the immediate predecessor to the blog.

Through the execution of electronic writing the book becomes antiquated as the implicit medium for text; a book is a solid object that cannot be changed once it is created, yet its content seeks to be in flux so as to respond to the reader’s inquiries. The biggest hinderance to the book was its set-in-stone existence; while new editions of books can be printed in order to revise content, once a book is printed that singular book cannot be changed. This set-in-stone manifesatation also means that the book is a severely limited experience; there is absolutely no level of interaction between author and audience, or audience and text-as-process. With electronic writing we see that the text removes itself from a static form; since it consists of digital information and posseses a metaform it never reaches a point from which it is revised, because revision is predicated by a static manifestation. The book was destined for antiquation the moment it was created, as is any technological manifestation of a medium, but it wasn’t until the advent of electronic writing through use of the internet that its antiquation became apparent.

Electronic writing becomes visible to the human eye through digital manipulations of binary code-the interesting thing about digital information is that it does not actually exist; digital information is the ultimate parody of the signifier of signified, the ultimate parody of the shadow of reality, the ultimate parody of simulacrum-it cannot be detected through any of the human senses, yet it manifests a tangible mock-up which is, to human perception, as real as reality can be. In this way digital information is similar to the human mind; we cannot see its processes, but we can clearly sense its affects.
Because of this distinct difference we can see electronic writing as an evolution in the medium of writing. Previous print-based manifestations of the mediun of writing had formal limits that prevented the medium from attaining any manifestation that mimicked the human mind accurately; the very function of any communicative medium is to create a tangible display of the processes and thoughts of the human mind.

The blog departs from electronic writing in a singular variation: it is written as an interactive medium, whereas previous electronic writing is closed from direct audience participation. With electronic writing the audience can make inquiries, or suggestions, but the author decides what to write about. With the blog we see that the audience also contributes-which essentially eliminates the notion of audience and author; although authors remain as distinguished figures, their defining characteristic is initiation rather than governance . Through such a radical shift in the method for the procuration of content within the medium of writing we see the blog departing from electronic writing in a method comparable to that of electronic writing departing from the book. This system however, only remains as functioning evolutionarily if the author does not assume the role of governor of content within the blog; as soon as the author decides to eliminate responses to the blogs, or edit those responses on their blog, then we see a reversion to a state of electronic writing, because the blog as writing differs from electronic writing only in the fact that it contatins elements that the author did not write.

As John Cage stated, ” I look for a way to let the sounds be themselvesâÂ?¦the sounds of nature are inifnitely more interesting than the sounds of the music of humans.” We can a see the blog as a form of writing that begins to mimic nature; at any instant anything is possible because the blog is opened to the entire world of internet accessing individuals. Just as nature operates on algorithms beyond our comprehension we can see that blogs are a form of writing that operate on algorithms beyond the comprehension of their author (or audience); the blog is an unpredictable medium that rests halfway between intention and nonintention.

Marshall McLuhan pointed out that human evolution has externalized itself: the foot led to the wheel, which led to the car which led to the airplane, which led to the space shuttle�our evolution continually carries us further beyond the original limitations of our minds, and our bodies. If the author foregoes the blog as a self-generating form (responses to a blog are independent of the author) then we see a retrovolution from a further-reaching and boundaries-unknown form to a previously-used and boundaries-clearly-traced form. While the blog has inherent abilities that set it apart from electronic writing, and allow it to be the seat of the further evolution of media, it is a disservice to assume that the influences I have stated are its sole influences. The blog will offer humans-through media-a means to attain new experiences, but we canot perceive such changes because it is the very nature of the change that the blog initiates, within our understanding of media, that will inform the way of knowing that allows us to use the blog as medium in a way that extends our media parameters.

An interesting issue comes about when we begin to examine the blog as Author’s text. Is the entire blog-responses included-considered as the work of the Author? Or is the author’s writing the only part of the blog that is considered to be their own work? If we assume that only the Author’s writing within the blog is their work then we are left within an antiquated realm of media yet again. However, if we can view the whole of the blog as work of the author we can envision a new realm of media wherein the Author’s work becomes a reality-mimicking thing; much like the universe is host to myriad events, so too then is the blog. The blog then becomes a conceptual space where writing takes place, and the role of the author is not to govern content, but to be a diplomat of content and to exercise some sort of influence over the direction of content.

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