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josef k.
22-08-2008, 05:22 PM
The importance of blogging has been both talked up, and talked down... much of the mainstream media thinks they're a decadent scourge, (some) bloggers themselves believe they will save humanity.

What does Dissensus think? How important are blogs? And what of the enormous diversity of blogs? Can we even really talk about blogging as it were one thing?

mms
22-08-2008, 06:08 PM
"dissensus - a study of an online community" by jf k.;)

josef k.
22-08-2008, 06:37 PM
Ouch.

mixed_biscuits
22-08-2008, 08:31 PM
Mmm yeah - have there been many studies on online forums?

waffle
23-08-2008, 10:08 PM
As with your other provocative recent 'feeler threads' in situ, Comeraderie Daniel, could this one have any possible connection with your own theory-versus-experience abandonment of blogoland?

Komeraderie Dejan of the Cliteral Parody Centre wishes to acknowledge your anti-K-punk et al rantings in this haunt and the complete inversion of this forum's original objects.

Desperate Hipsters hereabouts, Komanchi Miller, in search of a new Master!

Elijah
24-08-2008, 01:25 AM
blogs will free the world of the medias grip on it

josef k.
24-08-2008, 10:22 AM
blogs will free the world of the medias grip on it

Yes... this is is what I mean. This idea was the thesis of a book called "We, the Media" which came out a few years ago. The book suggested, if I recall correctly, that the internet in general and blogs in particular were democratizing, and would, as you say, work to loosen the grip of centralized media control and allow more voices to be heard.

Interestingly, none other than Rupert Murdoch has endorsed at least some of this theory, declaring in 2005 (http://www.newscorp.com/news/news_247.html):

What is happening is, in short, a revolution in the way young people are accessing news. They donít want to rely on the morning paper for their up-to-date information. They donít want to rely on a god-like figure from above to tell them whatís important. And to carry the religion analogy a bit further, they certainly donít want news presented as gospel.

Instead, they want their news on demand, when it works for them.

They want control over their media, instead of being controlled by it.


For myself, I wonder whether or not this is real control, or only the illusion of it. It seems at least possible that media control - control by images, news cycles, trends; by a certain kind of understanding of time, perhaps - doesn't really require a sinister figure directing it all towards particular ends, but might instead be something more like an intrinsic property of media itself; so that there are certain kinds of control that emerged with radio, certain kinds which emerged with television, and so on. This is to say, instead of blogs freeing the world from the grip of the media, perhaps they - and the internet more generally - are in fact effecting to ramify it.

I guess I'm interested in a couple of things here.

1) The structure of blogs is not really democratic. There's actually a kind of feudalism to them; big blogs (or sites more generally) can very effectively throttle traffic, or channel it, effectively, where they like; smaller blogs or sites are dependent on blogger blogs picking them up, and there are of course any number of reasons why they may choose to or not. Then again, this is not the whole of blogging, and some people (the notorious cat blogs, perhaps) either genuinely don't give a shit, or else use blogs in a completely different way. I don't know. There are hundreds of millions of blogs in the world now, and perhaps it isn't really possible to generalize about them.

2) There is an interesting psychology associated with blogging, and the net more generally. This can often be very - in fact, insanely - negative. The NYT recently ran a fascinating story (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03trolls-t.html) about trolls and "the logic of lulz" which captures some of this, and explains at least an aspect of it - for my part, I wonder whether or not "lulz" is not maybe a more general term, related to the necessity of attracting attention. The NYT piece contains this germane idea:

/b/ is the designated ďrandomĒ board of 4chan.org, a group of message boards that draws more than 200 million page views a month. A post consists of an image and a few lines of text. Almost everyone posts as ďanonymous.Ē In effect, this makes /b/ a panopticon in reverse ó nobody can see anybody, and everybody can claim to speak from the center. The anonymous denizens of 4chanís other boards ó devoted to travel, fitness and several genres of pornography ó refer to the /b/-dwellers as ď/b/tards.Ē

Measured in terms of depravity, insularity and traffic-driven turnover, the culture of /b/ has little precedent. /b/ reads like the inside of a high-school bathroom stall, or an obscene telephone party line, or a blog with no posts and all comments filled with slang that you are too old to understand.

Elijah
24-08-2008, 04:57 PM
pick up a book called flat earth news. the media companies are scared of the big blogs. o yea pirates dilemma as well.

swears
24-08-2008, 10:12 PM
Best bloggers = kranky marxists.

Shonx
24-08-2008, 11:44 PM
I do kind of enjoy reading music blogs even when the ratio of worthwhile points about the music mentioned takes a back seat to the sociological connection that the writer tries to attach to it. Mind you that's been the same since I read the NME/Sounds/Melody Maker years back watching the latest collection of talentless yet polemical hopelesses starting a trend (if two other similar sounding bands could be considered a movement of sorts) due to the fact that writing about how music sounds is kind of pointless as most people with ears can figure that out anyway.

I must admit I'm far more interested in the music that journos don't know how to deal with due to their being no (real or imagined) cultural shift around it.

straight
27-08-2008, 03:20 PM
what i think is interesting is how the traditional newspapers have incorporated bloggers within their structure now and how it has affected the standard the quality of the writing and how much empty bilge is now tolerated; case in point the guardians music writing and how most of it seems to centre around things from youtube.

vimothy
19-01-2009, 08:33 PM
Just discovered this thread -- and 4chan, actually... /b/ is totally demented.

craner
19-01-2009, 08:41 PM
Dissensus was spawned by bloggers. All of this is the offshoot of a specific constellation around Matt Ingram, Simon Reynolds and K-Punk in 2003-4. I should think that the general consensus would be that they're pretty important. But there's nothing quite like blogging to inflate your sense of self-importance.

I think it's mostly an important form of therapy. It's certainly better than alcohol or SSRIs.

vimothy
19-01-2009, 09:02 PM
But there's nothing quite like blogging to inflate your sense of self-importance.

Probably depends on how much traffic you're getting. But good self-absorbed fun though, I agree.

vimothy
20-01-2009, 03:47 AM
Weev, the hacker from the NYT article: http://www.poetv.com/video.php?vid=40904

What's he going on about?

nomadthethird
20-01-2009, 04:45 AM
As much as I like a lot of them, I find it really hard to swallow, the idea that blogs are democratizing anything.

Sure, just about anybody can up their unfiltered, unedited rants to the nets thanks to easily accessible blog interfaces/software and even more easily accessible free blogspot webspace, but the kind of blogs that agitate readership and are able to keep it and build it up over time are written by the exact same sorts of people who could if they wanted to--and most likely already do-- get their work published in the mainstream print media.

More than that, the idea that blogs sidestep that all-important Editor-from-on-high who is there to tell us what is important (usually a rich white man) is kinda silly, since even the pretty revered blogs like the Huffington Post fall prey to the "quickly recycle or link to an item that's making the rounds on other similar blogs whose readership demographic matches our own" insta-post slow degradation of content. Many a time these hot items are snatched directly from the NY Times, the AP newswire, or similar Old Media Monoliths, since these are, let's face it, the sources with the resources.

Seyfried
26-01-2009, 06:01 PM
http://www.nyinquirer.com/nyinquirer/2006/11/an_interview_wi.html (worth a look, er...)

He raises an interesting point (even if he's a complete ass, otherwise); I'd love to see more work, research on just how thoughts, ideologies, "memes" disseminate around the web; also, particularly, on how the web social-sphere obviates, or skews, intellectual prowess and knowledge.

littlebird
07-02-2009, 12:55 AM
What is happening is, in short, a revolution in the way young people are accessing news. They donít want to rely on the morning paper for their up-to-date information. They donít want to rely on a god-like figure from above to tell them whatís important. And to carry the religion analogy a bit further, they certainly donít want news presented as gospel.

Instead, they want their news on demand, when it works for them.

They want control over their media, instead of being controlled by it.


the thought that this brings to mind, to me, is two-fold (at least initially):

a) quite often it seems certain blogs, esp. in regards to media/news/current affairs are often links to other news sources/bloggers. does this not, in some ways, just repurpose the media? obviously with the slant and leanings of said blogger, but still, it is almost a trail of links/mentions.

though, tbf, i suppose that often these mentions/shout outs are of media/news sources that may be missed otherwise, so one could argue the merit of "news on demand"/"control over their media" in that regard.

b) sifting through the mass blogs can be overwhelming, and after awhile it does become a case of who you know/where you hang about. it seems that most people i know who blog all know the same 10-15 bloggers ("know" in the online-sphere kind of way), or at least there is that 10-15 music blogs everyone knows, 10-15 news/politics blogs that everyone (who is of a categorized leaning) knows, etc. but this takes a certain about of notoriety, time online, and reputation to be a part of.

(thus the merit of forums, in some ways)

but how much impact do these people have on the media? or on the viewer/reader's media choices, overall?

littlebird
07-02-2009, 01:04 AM
More than that, the idea that blogs sidestep that all-important Editor-from-on-high who is there to tell us what is important (usually a rich white man) is kinda silly, since even the pretty revered blogs like the Huffington Post fall prey to the "quickly recycle or link to an item that's making the rounds on other similar blogs whose readership demographic matches our own" insta-post slow degradation of content. Many a time these hot items are snatched directly from the NY Times, the AP newswire, or similar Old Media Monoliths, since these are, let's face it, the sources with the resources.

yes, exactly.

so many blogs re: issues/news/media are links to stories that if you keep tracking backwards are "usually" source back to the bigger media sources. or if not the big "Monoliths", then from he same string of 10-15 bloggers/sites that are being bandied about.

and as you also pointed out, the bloggers who make the most impact are usually publishing elsewhere, either in print publications, educational forums/formats, or someplace else outside of the online-sphere.

at the end of the day, how much affect is it all truly having?

scottdisco
11-02-2009, 07:38 PM
Dissensus was spawned by bloggers. All of this is the offshoot of a specific constellation around Matt Ingram, Simon Reynolds and K-Punk in 2003-4. I should think that the general consensus would be that they're pretty important. But there's nothing quite like blogging to inflate your sense of self-importance.

I think it's mostly an important form of therapy. It's certainly better than alcohol or SSRIs.

Ollie OTM.

i like the Nomad quotes that littlebird has been citing.

political blogs are a useful way of extending a conversation, people you wouldn't get to meet in the pub, etc. in many cases not much more, though certainly no less.
if someone can make even one little ripple, that's good enough for me.

blogs maintained by academics or activists can be a particularly good read in this area.
i like when politicians themselves have a good understanding of blogging, as it's a way of (for example) the people they represent being able to reach them alongside all the other ways constituents have traditionally reached their representatives (via surgery or letter or what have you), such as the British MP Tom Watson.

a blog like Benn loxo du taccu has, anecdotally, got a lot of people really turned onto world musics.

i do want to quote a couple of posts from Normblog (and as is the case with points Nomad and littlebird raise, Normblog is a retired academic and someone who has seen his name in print, he's the sort of alpha blogger that littlebird was referencing), one of the most widely read UK political blogs. he's responding to his friend Oliver Kamm, who used to blog - on politics, economics and culture - away from his day job in finance, until his blogging got him noticed to the extent that he is now a leader writer for The Times (Kamm had written a book on foreign policy whilst blogging as well, so had already had fingers in different pies before he started the gig with the Thunderer).


It's another spin of the same wheel. Oliver Kamm sets out his view on the all-round negative effects of political blogging in today's Guardian. As I said in my previous discussion of his arguments, I agree with him that much of what passes for political exchange in the blogosphere - a term I for my part have no trouble with - doesn't encourage the careful weighing of opposing viewpoints (see also here). Still, I remain puzzled by three features of Oliver's argument...
Second, Oliver writes that blogs are 'purely parasitic'. Yes, true, they depend on the press and other media, but this in itself is presumably not an offence against democratic debate. So do other ordinary, non-blogger citizens depend on these same sources. There seems no reason special to bloggers why they should be disqualified from discussing what has come to them via the media...
From all of which I conclude that Oliver wrongly generalizes from one of the regrettable features of blogospheric debate to a damning of the medium as a whole.

it's only a short post, available here (http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2007/04/in_defence_of_p.html) (if anyone's arsed to read it: i deliberately cut out some of Norm's argument to whet the appetite).

same again, really, with

I'm not sure exactly how valuable a resource blogs and blogging are to democratic deliberation and debate. It's probably too early to form a confident judgement. But I do think they are such a resource and so I disagree with what Oliver Kamm says in this post...
But if, from a democratic point of view, there is this shortcoming of debate on the blogs, it needs to be dealt with practically by trying to improve the culture of Internet discussion. There is nothing about the medium as such, about the sheer availability of this new space for debate, one open to much larger numbers of people and to every point of view, that impoverishes democracy.

that post is available here (http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2007/02/blogging_as_a_d.html).

on a vaguely related topic, i'm a bit interested in what free web content at newspaper homepages is doing for the print paid physical daily editions (i'm a guy who often has the ritual of his paper), in the long run certainly. i think i remember a thread on same here where we discussed advertising.
the media crit at The Reader, Michael Miner, is often quite interesting on these sorts of things.

nomadthethird
12-02-2009, 12:25 AM
Just discovered this thread -- and 4chan, actually... /b/ is totally demented.

/b/ is great--if you like child porn and middle school humor

craner
12-02-2009, 12:52 AM
I think that the fact that dicks like Guido Fawlkes and Juan Cole have managed to build or enhance their reputation or career by blogging is a good argument against the worth of blogging as journalism/comment/etc. I think it can be damaging to public debate and cultural climate, actually.

And I think we miss the role of charismatic editors and public intellectuals, actually. I quite admire, for example, the New York Intellectuals. It's a great lost tradition, combining erudition, fluency, combat, reportage, activism. I do think you have to earn your right to comment, by being good enough to get paid and published.

craner
12-02-2009, 12:58 AM
Have some time for Kamm, but can't stick, or really read, Normblog, or Harry's. They get up my nose. I have a lot more time for Oliver Kamm's mother, Anthea Bell, who, alongside Dick Hockridge, translated all the Asterix books into English, and is therefore one of the greatest translators in the history on translation (read the English Asterix the Legionary if you don't believe me).

josef k.
12-02-2009, 01:08 AM
And I think we miss the role of charismatic editors and public intellectuals, actually. I quite admire, for example, the New York Intellectuals. It's a great lost tradition, combining erudition, fluency, combat, reportage, activism. I do think you have to earn your right to comment, by being good enough to get paid and published.

You should read William Dereszwzwzwz in the Nation on James Wood. He also misses the New York school.

Regarding the second point - it is quite clear, is it not, that many people who are paid to comment are total morons, who owe their position to the fact that their ill-considered opinions reflect some of sort of demographic.

craner
12-02-2009, 01:24 AM
It is, but that has a lot to do with the degeneracy of the modern world, and in the last few years, the influence of bloggers. Jouralism and commentary was once a lot better than this. I am totally compromised on this point by 3 instances: I really admire and enjoy reading Christopher Hitchens, Charles Krauthammer, and Judy Miller. Apart from those slips, I am completely correct.

craner
12-02-2009, 01:25 AM
Fine bloody book. (http://www.amazon.co.uk/New-York-Intellectuals-Reader/dp/0415952654/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1234401962&sr=1-6) Sontag's in there too, not just Kristol and Podhoretz.

Trotsky's always around, in the background.

craner
12-02-2009, 01:29 AM
Sidney Hook. Clement Greenberg. Two you can't dismiss.

I studied Art History under Griselda Pollock, who I adored, and she put me off Greenberg, and so many others, for years. It took a while to work out she was half-wrong. I now have a lot of time for Greenberg.

littlebird
12-02-2009, 05:00 AM
on a vaguely related topic, i'm a bit interested in what free web content at newspaper homepages is doing for the print paid physical daily editions (i'm a guy who often has the ritual of his paper), in the long run certainly. i think i remember a thread on same here where we discussed advertising.
the media crit at The Reader, Michael Miner, is often quite interesting on these sorts of things.

as someone who works in advertising for some years, and has worked with print publications and newspapers specifically on and off, i will say that the free web content at the papers' homepages has had some impact on the circulation/readership most newspapers (and i am admittedly only speaking for US papers, as that is my base of knowledge), which has been rapidly declining especially over the last 10-12 years. but, overall the bigger dynamic here is the decline of a newspaper-centric society, and the aging (and diminishing population) of the newspaper reader.

from an advertising spend/negotiation perspective, most newspapers still sell their paper's homepage ad space as "added value", meaning thrown in for free if you buy space in the paper themselves. they have also taken the angle of partnering with companies such as Google, allowing Google representatives to sell print space in the newspapers, along with say a Search/keyword buy.

Sunday editions still hold their own in ritual readers, as do some of the bigger city papers with boast-worthy reputations (NY Times, Chicago Tribune, etc), but even in these cases the circulation declines year over year, as does the marketing dollars spent, and interest in advertisers to place their ads within.

blogs, and newspaper websites have an impact - but i think it goes well beyond that. i think this could veer easily into a discussion of the tech-overload society that inhabits non-third world countries, and how the age of texting, Blackberries, mobile phones, Iphones, cable/satellite television, DVRs, and yes, the internet, has altered the exchange of information. most people do not have the luxury of an hour to pour over the pages of a newspaper, not while fielding off texts from friends, emails from work, reader alerts for favorited blogs, and news blasts from particular chosen sites (and of course, more and more marketing messages).

(that was possibly more than you were asking for :slanted:)

scottdisco
12-02-2009, 09:43 AM
Have some time for Kamm, but can't stick, or really read, Normblog, or Harry's. They get up my nose. I have a lot more time for Oliver Kamm's mother, Anthea Bell, who, alongside Dick Hockridge, translated all the Asterix books into English, and is therefore one of the greatest translators in the history on translation (read the English Asterix the Legionary if you don't believe me).

you'd already said so Ollie but can i second your view on Guido Fawkes. again from a British pov can i just add my atavistic two c against Tory flange nut Iain Dale.

agreed re Anthea Bell.

we've had the Normblog conversation before and i haven't really changed my position, which is i agree with you on some substantive points (some of it is so fussy, although that's his background bleeding out), but sometimes his commitment to universal rights really shines through (c.f. taking slight issue with Hitchens here (http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2004/05/the_shame_of_ab.html)) and you know i am down with that. (also some of his specific regional interests, such as southern Africa and southeast Asia.)
also down with the NY intellectuals, as you know.

i didn't know you'd been taught by Pollock!!

speaking of British bloggers with neat mums, Marko Hoare's mother is quite cool. (here's (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/obituary-franjo-tudjman-1132142.html) her obit of Tudjman in The Indie.)

thank you littlebird.
points well illustrated :D

scottdisco
12-02-2009, 09:51 AM
Sidney Hook. Clement Greenberg. Two you can't dismiss.

I studied Art History under Griselda Pollock, who I adored, and she put me off Greenberg, and so many others, for years. It took a while to work out she was half-wrong. I now have a lot of time for Greenberg.

it was actually only through Kamm i got into Hook!

that Brecht anecdote he's retold a couple of times is first-rate, when the playwright visits Hook.
really shows up Brecht's vile personal politics.

josef k.
12-02-2009, 02:56 PM
that Brecht anecdote he's retold a couple of times is first-rate, when the playwright visits Hook.
really shows up Brecht's vile personal politics.

in my experience, right-wingers tend to be much more personally pleasant than left-wingers generally... i'm not sure why this is.

vimothy
12-02-2009, 04:45 PM
War, famine, economic collapse -- We love our work!

vimothy
15-03-2009, 02:11 PM
Clay Shirky on newspapers and the internet: http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/

craner
19-03-2009, 03:55 PM
I've just been astonished to learn that that twat Guido Fawkes = Paul Staines of Sunrise fame. I really never twigged this before.

josef k.
19-03-2009, 04:00 PM
I am surprised to hear you say that, Craner. I would have thought you would be sympathetic to his politics.

Nick Gutterbreakz
19-03-2009, 04:48 PM
[QUOTE=craner;164566] But there's nothing quite like blogging to inflate your sense of self-importance.
[QUOTE]

fuck yeah. blogging messed me up good and proper. i like to think i've got things back into perspective now.

blogging is like parenting. it requires no qualifications, so any idiot can do it, but so many prove to be hopelessy incapable at the task. abuse is rife, lives get ruined, monsters are spawned, the world gets a little bit grimmer.

and, like parents, blogs fuck you up. just say no, kids..

Agent Nucleus
20-03-2009, 03:19 PM
in my experience, right-wingers tend to be much more personally pleasant than left-wingers generally... i'm not sure why this is.

not the case in Atlanta. here right wingers are bull headed. they always want to talk politics (retread issues like abortion, evolution, or gun control) yet, no matter how precisely you explain your point, they never seem to get it. you can try to explain evolution with as much neutrality as possible but there's no use.

josef k.
20-03-2009, 05:46 PM
Fair point, there.

The American Right is stunningly obnoxious, actually...

craner
20-03-2009, 06:19 PM
Apart from the lovely Sarah Palin.

synapticat
03-10-2009, 11:34 AM
www.synapticat.blogspot.com ;)

alex
05-10-2009, 12:51 PM
The NYT recently ran a fascinating story (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03trolls-t.html)[/I]

jesus, that article has made me really paranoid about my internet use!

how easy is it to get hacked/trolled.!!

LoraHup
03-12-2009, 01:35 PM
People have been predicting the end of the world for centuries, 99 of them trying, or claiming, to interpret the The Book of Revelations. Many days have come and gone of supposed dates the world was to end but what people dont understand is Gods time is not remotely comparable or comprehensible to our earthly time.

Basically, no one will ever be able to predict the end of the world. Its just not possible. Its like trying to comprehend an infinite space with our finite minds.

I do believe that The Book of Revelations will come to pass, but not how its described in the Bible. The Book of Revelations is great with imagery and figurative writing and the Bible is known to use these to make a point, one we need to understand on a different level at times. I do not believe a seven-headed dragon will rise out of the ground when Armageddon occurs.

2060? I wouldnt count on it.

sufi
03-12-2009, 05:34 PM
hi lora, are you another non-sequitur-bot?

sufi
03-12-2009, 10:37 PM
Sidney Hook. Clement Greenberg. Two you can't dismiss.

I studied Art History under Griselda Pollock, who I adored, and she put me off Greenberg, and so many others, for years. It took a while to work out she was half-wrong. I now have a lot of time for Greenberg.
mmm interesting
a crucial part of my history of art education was visiting the home of john latham (http://www.flattimeho.org.uk/project/22/)to interview him for my a level dissertation (failed)
he (literally) chewed up & spat out greenberg
whoa, conceptual!

LoraHup
04-12-2009, 10:16 AM
People have been predicting the end of the world for centuries, 99 of them trying, or claiming, to interpret the The Book of Revelations. Many days have come and gone of supposed dates the world was to end but what people dont understand is Gods time is not remotely comparable or comprehensible to our earthly time.

Basically, no one will ever be able to predict the end of the world. Its just not possible. Its like trying to comprehend an infinite space with our finite minds.

I do believe that The Book of Revelations will come to pass, but not how its described in the Bible. The Book of Revelations is great with imagery and figurative writing and the Bible is known to use these to make a point, one we need to understand on a different level at times. I do not believe a seven-headed dragon will rise out of the ground when Armageddon occurs.

2060? I wouldnt count on it.

sufi
04-12-2009, 11:32 AM
is there an echo in here?

Mr. Tea
04-12-2009, 01:14 PM
is there an echo in here?

I think they're adjusting the Matrix again.

vimothy
08-12-2009, 04:35 PM
The rise and fall of Myspace (http://us.ft.com/ftgateway/superpage.ft?news_id=fto120420091036103397) -- FT

scottdisco
19-12-2009, 12:46 PM
Sunday editions still hold their own in ritual readers, as do some of the bigger city papers with boast-worthy reputations (NY Times, Chicago Tribune, etc), but even in these cases the circulation declines year over year, as does the marketing dollars spent, and interest in advertisers to place their ads within

we were discussing the decline of print newspapers (eg Seattle has no daily print paper these days, metro area 3.3 million) on the first couple of pages, so here's a reboot from north-west England - plugging myself if i may, here (http://somedisco.blogspot.com/2009_12_01_archive.html#3471023671962766793)

synapticat
25-01-2010, 03:59 PM
My philosophy and science studies blog for those who are interested.

www.synapticat.blogspot.com

woops
08-03-2010, 07:13 PM
ads without products is on fire at the moment.
marcelduchamp (variously crumbling loaf, =) has gone a step further than deleting his archives and deleted his whole account, it was emotional