Rebecca Blood’s blog entry “Weblogs: A History and Perspective” (http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html) gives some insight and background into the internet phenomenon of the weblog. Interestingly enough, I was only ten when she wrote this, and I think of all the weblogs that have probably emerged since which have populated and interwoven the internet even further. I have had more experience with personal blogs than meta-filters myself, though I once saw one such blog feature an animation I had made some years ago.
However, I find myself in disagreement with Blood and Greg Ruggiero’s ideas about definitions of media, and what media should be. I think that definitions of media are not limited to the desperate either-or of “corporate” or “public.” These two words seem very deceiving to me. Who is dependent on whom? Is a corporation all powerful? Especially if it is fed on the consumer’s money?
If one’s alternative views aren’t catching “mainstream” attention one might aim one’s displeasure at the public than the corporations. Corporations are not to blame, the public’s demands are. If people want to watch Montel instead of Marlowe then why should one blame the corporation if there is no TV version of Doctor Faustus? Changing the shape of media isn’t a crusade to adjust definitions, but desires.
One can take over the media and replace popular programs with poetry readings but people might decide to turn off their television sets. When people are willing to pay for something more than tedious talkshows and bleak sitcoms, then there will be a media revolution. The question of course being, how does one persuade others from Oprah to opera?
As for "consumers" and making them "creators." Consumers can be creators already. Everyone who has “made it” was once a consumer. The truth of people's passivity might be that not everyone is inclined to be a creator.
Being a creator is a risky business in any given society regardless of who “controls” the media, or what its definition happens to be. Being a creator involves time, effort and confidence. It involves sticking your neck out, showing a little leg and not being guaranteed a success. How many people jump at such a barbed opportunity?
Disagreements aside, I do understand and empathize with Blood’s interest in blogs and blogging. I only just started my own process blog here, and I do have a “livejournal” that I still frequent.
I keep my own journal, primarily because I like to read the blogs of my friends. I especially enjoy turning back through the posts, to see what they’ve said of themselves or others in the past. You catch phrases like “cigarettes are disgusting” written in dated entries by your smoker friends, and you laugh. I fall in and out of the habit of authoring my own posts. I don't like posting too often as it is, I like to remain somewhat of a mystery...
I do not lurk often, but when I do it is to catch up with people I am far out of touch with. I might not have “friended” them, but they still cross my mind.