The term blog is rather absurd. To be sure, that is what we are going with and it would be more absurd yet to try and start a movement to redefine terms for the world wide web.
So for the sake of pragmatism let’s at least take a look at why blog is perhaps lacking in clear definition.
To blog means to have a unique location where anyone can experience how you, the blogger, have chosen to participate in the arrangement of digitally reproduced content on the internet.
A type of befuddlement has also emerged with this digital technology. This can be attributed to the equally emerging illusory aspect of digital media. Our so-called “blogging community” in Hawaii suffers from this digitally created veil that hangs upon the eyes of an organic community of real people, responding to this current and increasingly dominant digital content.
While the purge of supposedly inferior media such as analog television, radio, and print media continues, we would do well as a community to educate ourselves about the very significant differences.
While the distinction between analog and digital or between paper and computer screen, has been largely supposed to be merely one of quality and efficiency, in terms of community health these distinctions merit further discussion.
The current confusion as experienced by both bloggers and blog readers stems from the bridge that blogs represent: from centralized computer technological innovation — to us — members of a real community using computers to share information.
Whereas the industry of consumer computing has little regard for the freedom of expression and the anticipated integrity, as aptly put by one of our community journalists; our actual, living, breathing community has (or should have) a very high regard for information with integrity — that is, integrated in healthy ways with our community.
Terms such as blogging with aloha and blogging responsibly are clouding the issues. As such, these phrases amount to a type of sloganeering that shouldn’t be confused for actual blogging policy. It would seem that readers, or viewers of blogs, are the ones who should be taking responsibility for how they participate. Let’s face it, what we have as bloggers are our own little high-tech broadcast stations and, as in television, you can throw virtuous slogans around all you want. And while I am not entirely knocking slogans, these things are not to be confused with the reality of one’s works. As much as I sometimes enjoy PBS, I give the example of said corporation selling marketed poignancy in the form of Monsanto or Exxon commercials. This amounts to wolves in sheep’s clothing.
This brings us to the current discussion regarding news reporting as viewed through a blog lens.
It would seem that our lenses are smeared with processed blog-product.
I offer –as a lens cleaner — the exposure of digital content as often having little regard, nay having antagonism, for ideas to be shared and discussed within our community.
If the point be made clearer — it’s the essential difference between how an Xbox 360 running Grand Theft Auto 4 and how a community newspaper regard our community’s health. The former doesn’t give a shit. It seeks to engage, indeed divert your attention so as to further its makers’ presence in your life: profit, and profit for the distant corporations who have engineered and programmed your entertainment. In the case of a locally run community newspaper, the utterly distinct difference is that of an emphasis on ideas — ideas concerning improvement and maintenance of community health, imagination, participation, and spirit.
However, the fact of the matter is that the allure and manipulative qualities of digital content are much more impressive to the non-discerning public than are clearly written words. You can consume digital content with your family or you can put your kid in front of it as some transfixing babysitter. Try doing that with a newspaper announcing a meeting of people intending on working for mutual benefit, organization, and health.
In summary, it’s not about quantity of bloggers as our naive blogger might posit. Nor is it about quantity of information. It is about understanding the nature of the content. Digital content will continue to heighten its definition in a technical sense. However, our community’s ideas will only be adequately defined if we educate ourselves and our children as to the very significant differences between these two distinct developments.