Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Just been over to More evidence for my suspicions that all good things come to his readers -- see the Cthulhu Springtime lyrics portion in February 18th's journal entry.

Meanwhile, Google has purchased Blogger. Both Google and Blogger offer services that made little sense before the internet, and work fabulously with it. Consider how they are both reshaping my experience. I now almost take it for granted that if I want to know something, there's a very good chance that I can use Google to search the Internet for it. And I spend a significant portion of my reading time on public journals, a previously non-existent form of literature.

Here is the illusion of intimacy -- the kind of daily details I seldom hear from my friends. I know more about the lives of certain web diarists than of the lives of any of my family who don't live with me.

There are two critical differences. First, the information exchange is one way. They are not learning equal amounts about me -- and they wouldn't have time to keep up with all their readers. And there is a certain randomness of information in what I know about my family. I might, for example, learn about the embarrassing incident with the lipstick tube and the Pinto at a family wedding. Or the escaped mule and the patch of not-entirely-corn.

But a blogger need never tell if such an event happened to her or him. Everything published in a web journal is there by the author's choice. They have a certain control over the view they offer the world of themselves.

That view might actually be larger than the one offered by knowing someone in the flesh. Especially if you are more interested in others' thoughts than their actions. Nor is it necessarily less true. The bloggers I follow strike me as truthful, or they'd stop interesting me.

I wonder how web journalling will develop. Will we have new celebrities? Some have followings in the tens or hundreds of thousands already. As far as I know, some other sort of celebrity attracted the initial interest in these cases, so far. Will we have new words for the relationship between journaller and reader?

The whole area of a single person being known to very many is relatively modern. The printing press made it possible, but broadcast images seem to have strengthened the effect many times over. And now we have nearly democratic access to a world-wide medium, so that much of the world's population could potentially send messages to the rest.

A web journal conveniently presents more personal information to a wider audience than has ever been practical before.

Yes, I really want to see where this leads.