Blogging out of context

Reflecting on Matt Webb’s post on designing social software, Ryan Shaw realized the significance of one of his lines: “Outside the context of [their creation], most of the weblog posts just don’t make any sense.” He argues that this is a pretty damning criticism of blogging as a serious alternative to journalism.

If i think of my own posts, very few are ever written to be used elsewhere. They are set of rambling commentaries based on what’s in my head and the only relevant context is me. The information that is useful to others is often the information that is part of an ongoing dialogue. Of course, it’s frustrating when you try to collect those thoughts. They require a massive rewrite to be truly valuable long-standing. What is it about this format that doesn’t permit us to collect our efforts into a coherent package? I mean, for centuries, professors turned lectures into books. Of course, they required editing too.

I don’t think of what i’m doing as journalism, but i do recognize the problems with persistence of information. As far as whether or not this is a damning critique…. i wonder if journalism is better off in a dialogue? I wonder if that means it’s a different kind of journalism? I mean, as much as i go back and read old newspapers, the information has a social/political context that’s really hard to get when you read back. So, even if the text makes sense, that doesn’t mean a lot isn’t lost. (Ah, Benjamin on translation….)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

3 thoughts on “Blogging out of context

  1. Orcmid's Lair

    Blog Me Context

    How do I get from blog as privately-contexted sticky notes to writings and the level of conversation that involves organized thought? Can I keep the blog around and lead from it to the refined materials? I have questions.

  2. Scott Moore

    As someone who’s hobby is “researching” the lives of past people, I not only agree that there is social and political context to any writing, but extend that to any artifact: clothing, art, music. What is someone going to think 100 years from now when they read that “wifebeaters and baggies” were fashionable?

Comments are closed.