Perplexingly Pithy15 May 2006
I’ve never really gotten away with one-liners on this blog. It’s weird. A large part of that is because I’m an old windbag that doesn’t know how to write a sentence without a ridiculous number of clauses, but… the proof is in the pudding; they should all lead somewhere and make more sense more clearly than shorter sentences would. It’s about me not trusting you, dear reader, to have half a brain for yourself and understand what I am saying. I imagine that, by speaking (that is what characterises this medium of blogging more than anything else — as with instant messenging, it is more about an ongoing conversation than a protracted series of epistles) more, I leave less to chance, less chance of misunderstanding, misinterpretation.
And I find this to be true of most other blogs I have perused in the past, with the obvious exception of completely simple statements/one-line commentaries to be found on posts that consist solely of a link to another site, and a summary comment/quip. Those aren’t blogs, though, they’re link-logs. Or whatever you’re going to call them.
Finally, I’m engaging with LJ people and am increasing perplexed as to how one is expected to interact in such an environment. All is normal, mundane, drawing a-heck-of-a-lot-of-comments; then there is a pebble (it is only a pebble) dropped onto the placid surface of a tightly strung membrane, pulled taut by dozens of interactors (commenters) who play a role in the blog context. It bounces.
I picture it like ice, because that’s a dramatic image that appeals to me… shards, stress-fractures, moving across its surface at incredible speed. It’s not really like that, however. The surface is simply released from the edges. It’s like those parachute games you’d play as a kid… imagine people letting go of the edges — the pebble, or author (actually in my original metaphor it was the author’s pithy-one-liner post: either analog will suffice), is left in the middle beneath sheets of canvas.
Perhaps I misconstrue the response. Even beneath that canvas there is, perhaps (again), a subterranean response that goes unseen — that is, email, phone calls, SMS, IM conversations… I speak of an electronic communciations ecosystem only, for it perplexes me to think that anyone could or would use a letter to deal with such things: this, however, betrays my personal context: I am male and no longer at an age where I encounter my closest friends at school everyday.
But, it appears, this pebble bounces and causes those who were active to fall silent. Respectful.
That’s how I feel about it. That’s how I excuse it in myself.
As an alien, it is not my duty to respond… it would be inappropriate, engaging too much, likely to attract disdain, scorn. So afraid we are of being seen to reach out.
And I can’t help but wonder what would happen if I were to start posting the same kinds of one-liners I see all over those kinds of very-age-specific social networks, here. Would something explode, scaring all commenters away? I like to think I mix it up enough here that I scare everyone away equally… or rather, there are occasionally things that will interest all, but I have somehow managed to free myself from the constraints of writing for an audience. This is post 966, by the way. That’s developed writing… not good writing, just developed. Hopefully as I do so more I’ll understand the medium better… for me, yeah, there is a medium. Blogging is not useless (anymore).
Even LiveJournal is useful in its own (different to this) way… it’s chiefly social. That’s the thing about hosted services over DIY jobs. DIY jobs are the best. Yeah, WordPress counts as DIY. The point is, there’s no social facilitator in place. This isn’t Facebook or MySpace or LiveJournal. It doesn’t have any hooks into them (exception: LJ’s awesome OpenID is delegated to from this page), there’s no way to build links. I’m still an outsider technically, if not otherwise… LJ blow-in that I am and have been. But they’re outsiders, too. They’re outside every other social network on the planet. It’s that which I find most striking about social networks… they continue to facilitate fragmentation! Each cries out, “join our clique!” … and they often do.
Some are using Blogger, or even (MSN) Spaces. There are no social networking hooks between services. None of that group of friends uses RSS: they’re still manually checking (if, indeed, they do) these blogs. No convenient index-login-screen to say friends have posted new things. No attention-drawn to pithy one-liners to be ignored (or responded to in some hidden way?) The whole situation is utterly perplexing. And now I feel how I imagine a sociology student must.