Hello Internet, It’s me ‘the blogger’ …Any comments?

30 May

Writing a blog is like talking to God. One can keep talking but one can never be sure if anyone is listening. I assumed, like any novice, that the number of comments my blog got would be a measure of its popularity. By that measure my net popularity is at -1. The only comment on my blog is from my roommate, who I think commented because I whined all day about writing this post. To be perfectly honest before the sympathy comment, I was quiet upset. Perhaps I anticipated my blog to reach the pinnacles of glory. However this week’s reading suggested that I should have a ‘Nihilistic’ attitude towards my blog.

My opinion about Web Theorist Greet Lovink’s beliefs are somewhat mixed. I agree with his view that

“Most bloggers would admit that it is not their aim to foster public debate. If you disagree with a fellow blogger, it is even unwise to write a comment. Instead, it is much safer to post the remark on your own blog. “I blogged you”. The chance that someone will respond to it is almost zero. Herein is the limit of blogging.”

Lovink’s believes today’s bloggers are personal and view others as guests rather than users. He points out that many bloggers turn off the comments option on their blogs as they are not concerned with popularity. Though I agree with the point about people not commenting, as I found out through my futile attempts to find a comment threads longer than two comments, it’s not always true and I for one wouldn’t want it to be.

However I wouldn’t quite agree with some comments in his article “Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture” which reiterates that blogging is inherently ridiculous because when everyone has right to speak, everyone feels they have the right to being heard and when everyone in general thinks they have a right to be heard, you end up in a situation where no one in particular is listened to. This causes nihilism. He believes this new form of Nihilism evokes a “yawn” rather than “Terror”.

I would definitely appreciate some online popularity and have trouble viewing myself as Nihilistic. On this front, I concur with Dannah boyd’s argument that social network blogs are sites that allow publics to gather. At the same time, by serving as a space where speech takes place, they are also publics themselves and in no way private. I totally agree. Blogs cannot in any way be “private”. However the blogosphere is a far cry from Hebermas ideal public sphere where people can get together and freely discuss and identify societal problems, and through that discussion influence political action.

Greet Lovink believes that blogs “creates community of likeminded people. Debates happen within homogenous web clouds”. The blog post by celbitchy Sex and the City got 86 comments. Thus this can be related to Chris Anderson’s “theory of long tail”. By focusing on a niche audience that likes sex and city, the blog gained immense popularity.

Since most bloggers in my niche chick lit have similar tastes they rarely disagree and foster little debate. The comments generated by the book review of ‘Are you there vodka-it’s me’ exemplifies this ‘homogenous’ thinking.

That is why when I stumbled upon this post on Trashonista, a very reputed and mature chick lit blog, I was a little taken aback. I feel strongly about Netiquette and agree with views of Netiquette by Virginia Shea where she says “Help keep flame wars under control”

Comments like “Eric r u like weird or something”, “I agree Eric is a weirdo” are positively offensive and totally uncalled for. Basically I feel “Erich” has been attacked for having slightly different views and being the only boy in the comment thread. This supports Greet Lovink’s argument that only likeminded individuals comment on blogs and others who are even slightly different are not welcomed. It is also critical to note that the book being discussed in this post is primarily a teen book.

According to caféaspira almost one in four children between the ages of 11 and 19 are the victim of cyber bullying. I’d think there’s much sense in the saying ‘Do unto others as you’d have others do unto you’

Personally I am personify, the typical blogger that Greet Lovink talks about, who go through blogs and never comment. However I’d like to clarify that I love the commenting culture. I would like to be more into it. I feel it makes a blog personal. When and if my blog get a second comment, which doesn’t seem likely, I intend to welcome it with open arms. However, much as I would love to foster a debate and act as host to the public sphere, I would delete and monitor any offensive or derogatory comments. Cyber bullying of the kind that happened with Eric puts me off.

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