Saturday, October 3, 2009

Not only connect

A typically interesting speculative post from Graham Harman on the use of blogs. His basic thesis is that blogs (and the internet and new media in general) are great for the exchange of information, but less great for critique, which he feels "works best when it is quantized, not constant and rapid." I think I agree, which may be why this blog has been evolving from a more dialectical style, inviting argument and discussion, into more of an online commonplace book, or even a collection of placeholders, ways to mark texts or store information for future retrieval. It strikes me that the accumulative, archival aspect of blogs is less often emphasized than their immediate communicative power. For instance, I like to discover blogs that interest me (like Harman's) and work my way through the archives, getting a sense of what the writer is like and what things and people he or she is connected to. Every once in a while I'll become a daily reader of a blog, checking it every day for updates, but this habit is usually temporary: I'd rather move on and find something new. Not sure whether this means I've got a more "old media" approach to the internet, treating it more like a library than a public forum; or if it's just that some people tend to emphasize new forms of exchange over new forms of access. Either way, it's clearly a new kind of landscape.