Thursday, March 5, 2009

Op-Ed

Would you deny someone a platform on which to speak? Would you close your ears and avert your eyes to a voice because of the way it is transmitted? Would you refuse to offer your opinion for fear of being overtaken by the multitude of words already spoken? Do you balk upon entering a bookstore, overwhelmed and thus deterred by the sheer number of pages filled with words squeezed on the shelves?

Is entering the blogosphere, as reader or writer or both, any different?

Whether bookstore, airwaves, cinema house or blogosphere, people create common plateaus upon which to connect and live out their fantasies—or in some cases, watch them unfold before their eyes as an outwardly passive observer.

But blogs are different than other mediums, requiring nothing more than a desire to see one’s ideas or photographs in a place available to the public—that, and basic computer literacy and access. For anyone living in the United States, this desire is not akin to reaching for the moon.

Personal blogs, functioning as public repositories for an individual’s “shoebox” of memory objects, have a significant role in contributing to this collective identity.

People read and experience life through an already constructed framework of reference, dwelling place or ideology. These worlds are occupied and shared everyday with those at work and at home and at the store. Blogs have the ability to create these dwelling places in a less ephemeral manner—as symbols and as commonplaces upon which people in varied geographic locations, occupations and ages may converse. They function the way any newspaper or special interest magazine would, providing a temporary fantasy world in which to escape for a momentary lapse in reality-based spatial orientation. Indeed, the images transport the viewer to a place of beauty, of chicness, of shine and silent charisma, or to a world of high drama, international intrigue, war and other larger-than-personal-life narratives.

Like a camera projects film onto a blank canvas, blogs are a public screen onto which people’s fantasies shine. They out the mind’s inside with pages and pages of fairytale and of desire and fulfillment. Pages and pages offering a moment’s respite from a stilled dullness, perhaps from sitting inside before a computer screen or from a windowless room, perhaps from a lonely isolation. Pages and pages of mind, not body… though sometimes visualized in the form of a body.

This place, the blogosphere, sounds like a multitude of voices joining to produce the hum of human consciousness; images and words and symbols flowing as a river does, its current strong with thoughts added every second.

So, why is the blogospehere important? Why listen to the voices, some more polished than others, of bloggers? Should we feel the pang of voyeuristic unease at reading through others' personal musings on life and art and love?

Of course not. Blogs are presented in a semi-legitimate medium, the blogosphere, where published and public word is available at the push of a button--no editing necessary. Poetry and literature are similarly personal, the authors bearing their innermost thoughts in an attempt at truth. Using language, we attempt this same grasping at truth each day, knowing the words we use may never completely or exactly encapsulate what we mean. So we may choose to reference a visual—photo, painting, sculpture, newscast, film—to move our audience closer to this truth or point. Bloggers do the same thing, only permanently and for a larger public.

Perhaps the very number of individual bloggers illustrates a fundamental part of human nature: the desire to be recognized by the other, even if that other is oneself. Aspirations, hopes, are putting confidence in ephemeral ideas—things that have yet to become reality for the dreamer. And they are fueled by the few who've found a calling from this method of self-creation, or the possibility that you might just be the first.

In the blogosphere there is an opportunity to both listen and be heard. A vacant space for creativity, it provides for fresh, uncensored voices. Herein lies a huge possibility for open conversations and new ideas, unmediated by an elite group and decided upon by a citizen audience.

Blogs are a powerful tool that provides a space to cultivate voice, idea and opinion on a public scale. Why wouldn’t we listen? 

2 comments:

  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Miriam

    http://www.craigslistdecoded.info

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  2. thanks for visiting! I just read your message. So glad you enjoy the writing and ideas. This blog has not been updated for a while, but please visit my other blog at veeofvendredi.blogspot.com.

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