Brief Digression on the Blogosphere


I am new to the blogosphere. The aspects that resemble a desktop I get, I can open up a tool and type, I can cut and paste, I can drag and drop. The aspects that are new, tied directly to the connectedness, I don’t quite get. In particular, how do I find the blogs I really want to read? Technorati says there are 70 million blogs. That is a big number.

When I look in places like Alltop, Technorati, BlogHer, they list topics, categories, and tags – usually tags about topics. The thing is, I’m not interested in topics. I’m interested in people. I don’t care what anyone is blogging about, I care who they are, how they talk, what is their attitude. I’m looking to be surprised by someone else’s way of thinking, having inhabited my own thoughts for over 50 years.

The software product manager in me thought, “Couldn’t we all tag ourselves rather than our posts?” My years in software made me think about icons. It might look something like this:


I think that gender is the prime determining characteristic of a blog’s character. So, level 1. Then we have demographics, do you work or not work? How old are you? What country/ethnicity? That’s level 2. Then level 3 is your attitude. You can choose as many as you like. Religious, Indie, Humor, Bride, Preppy (can you even tell that’s a pink and green square?), Lesbian, Intellectual. Then at the bottom you can design your own icon, could be our avatar. I have a High WASP. At least for now.

This is a goofy answer. I know that. But it’s a serious question. Does everyone in fact rely on word of mouth? Of questions asked of blog circles? And does everyone prefer it that way? People can resist categorizing themselves even while seeking it for the world. It may be a generational thing. Maybe in my generation we expect someone to be in charge, or at the very least, keeping track at the door. However, I have vowed not to be the old person who starts grouching to anyone who will listen, “The world is going to hell in a handbasket!” So if this is the way, I will take up my virtual walking stick and start walking.
(image by me on Powerpoint except for the Indie icon)

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9 Comments

  • 03/30/09
    7:56 am

    Reply

    carboniferous said...

    i love the blogsphere, because like so much of the internets, i find the strangest things in the greatest places, and vice versa. i do not think we really need to tag ourselves. or at least i don`t. because i identify myself differently on different days.

    “character is what you have when you think nobody is watching”: i find that there are a lot of bloggers out there who feel constantly watched and therefore more or less inclined to say certain things. i am one of those people, sure, because i know that my professor and my boss both read my blog.

    i find that your hierarchy of the blogosphere is somewhat partiarchal and western-minded, and i`m not sure if that was your intent. but, i`ve researched a lot about queer theory and sexual identities, and studies show that often homosexuals will associate first with their sexuality and then their gender. speaking as a bisexual, i would say that i identify my gender first, but my sexuality before my class standing.

    my professor is right, i am a post-structuralist.

  • 03/30/09
    8:02 am

    Reply

    Ashley said...

    i do think there are websites to help with this sort of thing (ex: twenty-something bloggers, women bloggers, etc.)-but i still found this to be of little use to me.

    i do wish was an easier way to find those i’m interested in than spending hours digging through other people’s followers, reading list etc – still i do think it can be fun to have to do it that way – to “discover” a new blog rather than have it laid in your lap.

    but, i do find it really overwhelming to think of how many blogs there are out there and the difficulty in cracking the code that will lead me to them lol.

  • 03/30/09
    9:23 am

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Having worked all my career in male-dominated fields, having once had a boss who told me he was surprised I was pregnant because he thought I was a “career girl”, it is wildly NOT my intent to be patriarchal and Western. But I am 52 years old, brought up in the heartland of the Western Humanist tradition, by a traditional father. So I am humbled by the fact that I am patriarchal and Western but not surprised. I am completely open to re-sorting my categories and hierarchies. That’s the key task of the human mind in my opinion.

    That’s interesting that sexuality comes first if you are gay or bi-sexual. Makes sense. I came up with this walking down the street, examining my own thinking. I am hoping for a more global view. To crack the code, but it’s what we call “wetware” in the software world, not software or hardware. People.

  • 03/30/09
    10:10 am

    Reply

    Pam said...

    I really enjoy the serendipity involved in finding the blogs that I like to read.

    I used to write a blog myself, back in the days when the blogosphere was a lot less crowded, and my only commenter (apart from a couple of flesh-and-blood friends) was an odious troll, to whom I was infinitely polite. Repeatedly. The novelty of this wore off after a while.

    Because I no longer have a reciprocal blog, I tend to be generous in the comments boxes of the blogs I follow. (Too generous, some might say.)

    So I’ve found all the blogs I enjoy through friends, and friends-of-friends, rinse and repeat. I don’t go through the blogrolls or comments sections in any sort of disciplined way. Sometimes I’ll just click on something that takes my fancy, and if I enjoy it I’ll probably drop round again. I actively enjoy being this casual about it.

    I absolutely agree with you about topics and tags. I don’t care what anyone is blogging about, I care who they are, how they talk, what is their attitude. Amen, sister! However, I disagree about self-categorization. I think too much in this world is categorized to within an inch of its life. I prefer to go with the flow, because anything else feels too much like work. I’m happy every time I find another blog I’d like to follow, and I don’t care how many other wonderful blogs I haven’t found yet. Maybe someday I’ll find them, and when I do, that will be another reason to rejoice. So I honestly don’t want to crack the wetware code of the blogosphere, even assuming that such a thing could be done, though I do have a PhD in psychology. Go figure!

    Actually, I think it’s because what I like most about the people who I like best is their refusal to be categorized, or their transcendance of categorisation. One or the other.

    Too generous… going now… mumble.

  • 03/30/09
    12:43 pm

    Reply

    LPC said...

    Generous is in my can’t-be-too category.

  • 03/30/09
    6:32 pm

    Reply

    Katherine said...

    The blogs that I've found via other people's blogs and enjoyed the most were found when I went to comment on a post that I particularly enjoyed & then really like what another commenter had to say. The commenter's blog usually also ended up on my blogroll.

  • 03/31/09
    11:00 am

    Reply

    Pam said...

    OK then, I’ll risk a recommendation: http://thegoddiaries.blogspot.com

  • 04/01/09
    12:39 am

    Reply

    eemusings said...

    I do agree, I mostly follow personal finance type blogs – but not the really dry kind, I prefer ones with personality and pizzazz which branch out into other topics. Blogs are so muc better when you can get a feel for the writer and who they are as a person. So I don’t really like to seek out blogs by topic per se.

    But there are so many great blogs out there! It’s overwhelming trying to find the ones that you click with, and then keeping up with them. I’m kind of trying not to follow any new ones at the moment because I can’t handle the overload in my Google reader!

  • 04/04/09
    6:45 pm

    Reply

    Elisabeth said...

    Finding good blog personalities is hard. Like you said, it’s the PEOPLE I want to look for, not a certain subject.

    I tend to find blogs by looking at blogrolls of blogs that I like. I figure if I really love the personality of that blog I will probably like the personalities of the blogs on that blogroll as well. This usually does fairly well for me.

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