Sunday, January 7, 2007

Why Blog?

Having been trolling through the blogosphere for a few years, I decided to go in all the way. Why blog? For my part, I think of blogging as a way of attempting to reconstitute community in the age of the "society of the spectacle" and the concomittant fragmentation of "the public sphere." To be sure, I have turned to the blogosphere (and why "sphere"?) for consensus-formation on key political, cultural, and philosophical problems and issues. To that extent the blogosphere plays a vital role formerly occupied by cafes and salons, a role that cannot be performed by either mainstream media (whether "news" or "entertainment") or by communications technologies that serve the interests of specific institutions. Moreover, the blogosphere is the best forum currently available whereby experts -- artists, scholars, scientists, intellectuals -- can share their expertise with others.

On the other hand, it is difficult to avoid the suspicion that blogging is a rationalization of collective graphomania, an obsession with reassuring oneself through compulsive writing that one, after all, really does exist. But this is all the more reason to admire blogging, for it is a way of keeping alive the semblance of personalization and personality in a time where the forces that constitute the conditions of daily existence are increasingly depersonalizing.

It is, in other words, the superficial aspects of blogging, the ways in which it is akin to everything faddish and tawdry, that grant it whatever redemptive potential it may have.

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