By Thomas Moronic
In Stephen Duncombe’s unrivalled research into Fanzines and underground culture, he addresses the most obvious question – so what is a fanzine by stating ‘my initial – and probably correct – impulse is to hand over a stack of zines and let the person asking the question to decide, for this is how they were introduced to me’[i]. The medium is different, but the explanation still works when attempting to explain the concept of blogs; because every blog is different – depending on the intent of the person writing it – the only real way to get a true feel for blogging is to explore it for oneself.
When I first started my blog on January 28th 2007, I wasn’t exactly sure what I was doing, why I was doing it, or what I hoped to achieve. Now – five months and 91 posts on – from my first sketchy entry, I’m still not totally sure what I’m doing, but I’m glad that I am.
I use my blog as a forum for my journalism and fiction. For the last couple of months I’ve been trying to post something everyday. It’s become a bit of an obsession – part of my daily routine. I’ve been known to get up earlier than I need to, just so I can post something to my page before I have to leave for work.
I view my blog as an ever expanding, constantly shifting body of work.
The content varies – some days I will post short stories, other days I’ll put up interviews with artists, musicians, filmmakers, writers. Whatever I want to. My posts vary in length from three thousand words to one line sentences – it all depends on what I want to put out into the world that day; which probably says something key about why I, and others choose to blog: communication.
Another parallel to be made between the world of blogging and that of fanzines is the sense of community that a person can experience by taking part in something of that nature. Because of the nature of writing in cyberspace, I am able to post my work instantly. A piece can be finished and available to read on the internet within seconds – people to see and read – meaning that a public correspondence to be created in no time at all. I used to edit my own fanzine when I was a teenager, and one of the biggest thrills was receiving feedback from other ziners – not just in terms of praise – but in terms of other people’s opinions – their take on a specific subject – they could read my stuff and add their two pennies worth and vice versa.
It was liberating to be able to step away from mass media and create our own little world free from advertising, with the only driving force being passion and excitement as opposed to advertising revenue. I’ve been able to find this feeling again through doing my blog. My blog is my diary and my soapbox. It’s a personal thing.
The amount of talent lying in the depths of the blogging underground is immense. Itchy Dreams, DC’s, Tongue on the Wall, Thompson’s Bank of Communicable Desire, Kiddiepunk, Wolf, these are just a few of the wonderful blogs that I read regularly. But as opposed to more traditional media – I am able to interact with them on a far more personal level. I have made friends, collaborators, found amazing new artists and contacts that I would not have found without my blog. Which justifies the whole thing in my eyes.
Obviously – blogging is no perfect medium. Blogs are just as corruptible and susceptible to the dollar sign as television or newspapers – the amount of blogs set-up with no other motive than advertising new electrical equipment is proof of that. Also – perhaps the communication aspect of the internet is an illusion too. Shades of Baudrillard’s notion of false technologies spring to mind: sure, I’m communicating with lots of new people across the globe – but I am still just sitting in my home, staring at a screen. My interaction with many is operating at a simulacra-esque level.
Is blogging the future of literature – a completely free and democratic medium? Maybe that’s pushing it a little bit. The internet has definitely changed the way that we read. Just as one example: cross referencing can now be done is seconds, rather than the old fashioned way of tracking down sources of citations in libraries or bookshops. But whether this is an improvement is up for debate. I for one doubt that I’ll ever prefer reading text from a screen to reading from a real book. Also, maybe I’m just a materialist but I like the physicality of actually holding a book – aside from what it says inside, I have always also enjoyed the book as an object. I like the fact that I can throw one in my bag and pull it out on busses or trains, or when I’m sitting around in the park. So just in practicalities alone, I don’t think that the popularity of blogs will ever completely wipe out books.
On the issue of the Blog as a completely free and democratic medium – again such sweeping statements have a tendency to simplify things too much. For me, the word ‘Free’ tends to imply that anything goes – but I know of blogs that have repeatedly been hampered by issues of censorship, and have had their entire content wiped from existence in a matter of seconds. Are blogs democratic? Sure, in the sense that anyone who has access to the computer equipment needed, can in theory create a blog. But as I mentioned earlier – blogs are just as corruptible as any other media text.
So with the pro’s and con’s of blogging, much like those of any other new media device – it seems, for me, rather than seeing blogs as The Future of writing – it may be more sensible to view them as just another option in the sphere of writing. For some, they might not appeal. For me – my blog has been an invaluable source of satisfaction, interaction, and creativity. Like I said: it’s a personal thing.
* SI QUIERES SABER DE QUÉ VA ESTO, ECHA UN VISTAZO A ESTA ENTRADA.