Let me pause for a moment from my normal rants and raves about sports and culture and take an introspective look at what I am doing here. Not introspective as in “what is my purpose in life?” or “why do people still remember Kato Kaelin or Clara Peller?” but introspective as in “what is this blog thing you speak of?”. Although this train has been a rollin’ for quite a while, I think it’s high time I took a look at the phenomenon of blogging, or Weblogging, to use its original name.
Thanks to Al Gore’s Internet and the Freedom of Speech, we have arrived at a time where most everyone can express themselves for the world to read (everyone of course, refering to those with computers and internet connections – you know, the civilized among us). From documenting the battles of war to analyzing the intricacies of college lacrosse to discussing the drama of the 9th grade dating scene, many people have taken the opportunity to type their piece and “publish” it for the world to read.
But imagine this phenomenon at an earlier time. How different would history have been if we had people blogging their thoughts on events through the years?
Take, for example, this prehistoric blog found on a Commodore 64 in the caves of Western Europe:
– Went hunting today for a bit. Decided not to draw on the walls like everyone else. I hate art. Maybe one day those Neanderthals will understand my idea of writing. But anyway. Gotta go. By the way, its getting a bit cold. Its been -38 degrees all year. Hopefully it warms up. Later.
And this blog from old England:
– Saw that Shakespeare guy the other night. Do ye a favor and do not go to see his plays. They are a complete and utter waste of time. Romeo and Juliet both die. Where is the drama in that? And his women characters? They are boys dressed as women. What a rip off. And when I walked out early, did they give me my shilling back? Not at all.
And could this blog have changed history?
– Hi world. My name is Adolf. Although I am not a big fan of Jews I think I am going to voice my opinion on here to let my stresses out. They iritate me so much! They need to go away. Move out of Germany, you Jews. My family thinks by me letting out steam on this blog I will be a more happy-go-lucky person, and I think they are right. So sorry about being so anti-Semitic but I gotta go. Peace and God bless.
Through their accessability and resulting impact, blogs have become our online diaries of sorts, accurately revealing the perspectives of today. Quite possibly even to a level of over-saturation. But those I feel truly sorry for with this blogging phenomenon are tomorrow’s literary historians. Whereas in the past, they had only the works of the literate minority to shine light on culture and popular life, with today’s “blogosphere” they will have an infinite clutter of information to sift through. How might a future historian determine what sources and opinions define the 21st century? In a strange way maybe the question is its own answer. Perhaps blogs have become our culture – a society defined by its freedom of expression, modern communications, and self-importance but with little to no restraint, moderation, or the substance of a defining voice.