Liza Sabater
Since the beginning
Works in New York, Nebraska United States of America

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DISCUSSION

Re: Blog vs Board (re: Blogging Survey)


On Tuesday, Jul 6, 2004, at 13:53 America/New_York, Dyske Suematsu
wrote:

> In fact, someone does need to experiment with new technologies, for
> the rest
> of us to be able to use them appropriately. The question as a director
> of IT
> is: Is my role to explore the possibilities of new technologies, or to
> use
> them to serve a certain purpose? I find that many directors of IT end
> up
> doing the former because it is more exciting, better for their
> careers, and
> offers more recognition for their achievements. It is rare to see IT
> directors who put objectives before the allure of new technologies.
> I've
> personally witnessed millions of dollars go down the toilet because of
> these
> tendencies of IT directors.

Completely agree with this. Just to reinforce my opinion about the
'culture' that this new service will be serving.

I have just finished designing a blog for Napier's potatoland. Not
ready to launch yet but once I finish the post on metablogging, I'll be
pointing to some examples of how I will be using the site for archival
/ curatorial purposes.

There are people out there actually using blogging technology to create
art. Will give some of those as well. But these possibilities might not
be available to users if you are centralizing the system.

If decentralized, how different would that make you from TypePad? Then
there is the kind of licensing you may be using for the software
itself; the amount of blogs allowed per user, etc. etc.

Lots to think about.

/ l i z a

DISCUSSION

Re: Blog vs Board (re: Blogging Survey)


On Tuesday, Jul 6, 2004, at 10:32 America/New_York, Francis Hwang wrote:

> I'm up to my eyeballs in this stuff these days. Here's my take on it:
>
> First of all, it's only 2004 and I'm already sick of the word "blog".
> Unfortunately, there aren't many words that serve its purpose well, so
> we're stuck with it for the time being. In the long view, the
> particular technology that gets used isn't as interesting as the
> technical philosophy behind how people communicate. The best phrase
> here is, to use the title of a book by David Weinberger, "Small Pieces
> Loosely Joined". The good things about blogs are:
>
> + Small Pieces: They are highly atomized, individualistic venues for
> self-expression, more so than on more centrally administered services
> like email lists or wikis.
> + Loosely Joined: They use standards-driven technologies to help
> readers aggregate them into meaningful, manageable chunks of
> information. If you have an RSS reader (you can download good, free
> RSS readers for every operating system under the sun), you can
> channel-surf 20 blogs in the time it might take you to visually read 4
> webpages.

David has a great post on Many-to-Many at Corante. It's called
Redefining Friendship
http://www.corante.com/many/archives/2004/07/07/
redefining_friendship.php

What I found interesting a year ago (and still do) is how the
technology of blogs are CONCRETELY changing the web; whereas 8 years
ago net art redefined the web METAPHORICALLY --including this here site.

> In a broad sense, the internet is now a big enough technology that the
> economics of such a case are compelling. You can no longer build one
> central community site that harnesses more energy than all those blogs
> out there.

Absolutely.

> In the specific sense, this lines up well with the development of the
> field of new media arts. Once upon a time Rhizome was a gigantic fish
> in a teensy tiny pond; now we're a biggish fish in a much bigger pond.
> This is a much healthier situation, of course. It also means we might
> want to rethink how we relate to that pond.

Agree.

> But, blogs are very different in tone from email lists, wikis,
> UltimateBBS, MOOs, etc., etc. They're much more public, and they
> drastically increase the "15 minutes of fame" factor of online life.

Actually, that even has been redefined. On the web your famous is more
than 15 know of/read your blog.

> It happens all the time that some no-name blogger comes up with some
> really great idea that gets passed around blogspace really quickly,
> and bang they have hundreds more readers and lots of emails and maybe
> comments. Having a blog increases the chances that some stranger will
> point to your work and say "This gal's a goddamn genius." It also
> increases the chances that they'll say "She's full of shit." Caveat
> author.

I know people who have gotten hired just for their blogs. No resumes or
applications needed.

> So adding blogs to Rhizome would mostly be about offering options.
> Blogs won't replace email lists, just like television never replaced
> radio. But a proliferation of forms for online communication will mean
> that people will be free to discover which forms are better for which
> sorts of content.

It would also would get them out of the ghetto that net art has carved
so well for itself. That would be all due thanks to Google.

> As to how quickly it would take if introduced here, it's hard to say.
> If you look at our space (tech/arts/culture), you see a lot of very
> smart people who don't write or read blogs, they prefer to hang out on
> mailing lists like Rhizome Raw or Nettime or thingist or Syndicate or
> what have you. I don't believe that's an accident, or simply a
> function of technophobia. People have their own preferences, and of
> course those preferences matter a great deal.

There lies the rub. The culture from whence most net artists come from
is very different from the writers/bloggers culture. Especially now
that NA/NMA has become so institutionalized. "Into the blogosphere" is
a new academic source about blogging and I fear by its tone and the
articles that people are rushing to clamp down what a blog is and is
not --much like what has happened with net art--- thus taking the life
and spontaneity out of it.

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blogosphere/

> Mostly, though, I think of this as a big experiment. Experiments are
> cool.

Definitely. And the experiment can be about transitioning people into
this new technology.

/ l i z a

DISCUSSION

Re: Re: Re: Blog vs Board (re: Blogging Survey)


On Tuesday, Jul 6, 2004, at 11:48 America/New_York, curt cloninger
wrote:

> Ah, those were the days! But I digress. Unlike Thing/NetTime, RAW is
> totally self-policing (due to Mark Tribe's original fascination with
> Beuys' "social sculpture" notion), so sometimes it's boring as crap,
> sometimes it's lively, sometimes it's hijacked by poly-pseudonymous
> eastern european situationist rhetorical tar babies. Often it talks
> about itself and how it can become more interesting. People get fed
> up with it and stop posting, but they usually return (brad brace, eryk
> salvaggio), because you gotta be in it to win it.

But so are most blogs and boards and email lists and wikis ... the
point being that it all is dependent on the interaction. It has nothing
to do with the technology itself. That the technology can be changed
and molded based on the human interaction is one thing but to expect
that the technology take care of us animals, well, that is asking too
much. And no 'bot is going to be as bootilicious as I am ... or you
curt, for that matter :-)

/ l i z a

DISCUSSION

Re: Re: Blog vs Board (re: Blogging Survey)


On Tuesday, Jul 6, 2004, at 10:05 America/New_York, Dyske Suematsu
wrote:

> Let me avoid a confusion, and use the word "list" or "email list"
> instead of
> "board", because the latter is a medium of its own (generally
> web-based).
>
> I don't see the "ego" argument in this context. Ego is certainly the
> motive
> for both an email list and a blog (and a board). I do not believe that
> a
> blog is fueled more by ego than a list is. In many ways, a list is more
> ego-fueled since it is a "push" medium. You are pushing your message to
> people who may not be interested in what you have to say. I find a
> blog to
> be less egotistical because only those who are actually interested in
> what
> you have to say would come visit. It is less intrusive and less
> presumptuous.

Ironically, because it is not pus technology it can be diffused and
disseminated more effectively than posts to an e-list and certainly
messages on a board.

>
> On my last post, I provided a link for those who actually read my
> post. So
> far 13 people have read it. When you hear that Rhizome has 17,000
> members,
> you might get an idea that at least hundreds of people would read your
> posts, but no matter how big the list is, those who are willing to be
> involved actively are always handful.

Always the case in centralized organizations. What I see on some blogs
just amazes me. How people come in and out and how resources flow from
that looseness. One example I'm thinking of is Lazyweb.

> In fact, there is a natural size of
> active participants towards which all lists tend to incline. If too
> many
> people start discussing, it becomes impossible to keep on top of it.
> Part of
> the nature of email list is that there is a point at which the number
> of
> posts per day becomes unacceptable for most people. Like population
> growth
> of a city; at some point it becomes uncomfortable and people start
> leaving.

Absolutely! There was an unschooling list which I love but just could
not keep up with at all. On a slow day I would get 100 emails from it.
On a busy day exchanges went up to 600. 600 emails on a day from one
list! Too much. Would have loved to scrap it but it was a closed list.
So no I went on no emails.

> All these characteristics of email list encourage and discourage
> certain
> behaviors. Because of the way Rhizome is set up, I would imagine that
> my
> last post will not be read by too many more people even after a year.
> So,
> when you write something for this list, you want to keep in mind that
> what
> you are writing is going to be read by about a dozen people. This will
> certainly influence most people in terms of how much time and energy
> they
> would spend on writing something.

And it gets lost in the way things are archived on Rhizome; whereas on
a blog it becomes way more efficient --if having Google find your stuff
is important to you. So getting a blog and a Google API makes more
sense than just posting to Rhizome. At least I do both (although here,
less and less).

> This is not a bad thing. This encourages people to casually express
> their
> opinions. In fact, that is my impression of Rhizome; a casual place,
> not a
> serious one.

More like a coffee house than a conference room.

> For the same reason, it is a good place for announcements. 76%
> of the members being artists, if you post an announcement for a grant
> or a
> commission, I'm sure hundreds of people would actually read it.

Pass the tin cup syndrome? HA!

> The bottom line is that Rhizome cannot be everything you want it to
> be. It
> is what it is. It is good for what it is good for. Beyond that, you
> either
> have to find some other websites/lists/boards, or start your own with
> specific designs that encourage desired behaviors.
>

This is so true.

Best,
l i z a

DISCUSSION

Re: Re: Blog vs Board (re: Blogging Survey)


On Tuesday, Jul 6, 2004, at 07:29 America/New_York, Jason Van Anden
wrote:

> The comments have been enlightening. To summarize, blogs serve
> different purposes not achieved by paritipating in a community message
> board: Ego (1 - Lee Wells) and protecting fellow message board
> participants from topics not necessarily appropriate for discussion (2
> - Dyske Suematsu). Each raises an interesting question:
>
> 1.) Eyeballs == Ego Fuel:
> Does the typical individual's blog draw more traffic than Rhizome?

You cannot compare the typical blog with Rhizome. It would be more like
does "Gawker" get more traffic than Rhizome or something like that. And
still it's not a good comparison because longevity + hits has a lot to
do with ranking on places like Google.

> 2.) Raw == 'Enter at Your Own Risk':
> Do the levels of Rhizome's board distillation
> (Raw as opposed to Digest, etc...) poorly protect the membership from
> inappropriate topics of discussion?

There's always going to be drivel. I just think that it's better
managed on sites like MetaFilter or /.

Best,
l i z a