As I headed over here to write my (forthcoming) post about The Social Network, I realized that this post was missing, and realized I’d posted it on my blog for Media Tech. and Cultural Change from last spring, which I’ve done several times but always caught myself. When I log into sites.middlebury.edu it automatically takes me to that blog’s dashboard, but I finally realized that you can change your “primary blog”, so hopefully that won’t be happening anymore. Anyway, here’s my post on the readings from the other day:
While Rettberg’s book is (or seems like it’s going to be) a comprehensive and accessible analysis of blog culture, it does not have the specific persuasive (or political?) bent that Ross’ book seems to have, and I guess this makes it harder for me to discuss it without just summarizing. Basically she wants us to do something that a lot of the scholars we’ve read this semester want us to do: slow down and think more patiently about the phenomenon we are observing. Blogging is neither the death of intelligent discourse as some academic luddites would have us believe, nor is it a completely new, revolutionary, democratic, ideal media environment as those on the other end of the spectrum might believe. It has many precedents and takes many cues from earlier forms, and it has both great strengths and a few drawbacks.
I have a blog myself (besides the one for this class…it’s a mostly-music blog called theashtraysays.wordpress.com and I’ve been bad about updating it the past few months — this is about to change!), but I don’t consider it a replacement for the other forms of expression that I engage in, not by any means. In terms of how it relates to me as an “audience”…well, I suppose it is there as a sort of encouragement for me to cohere my thoughts on the stuff I’m constantly consuming — even though this is usually music, not film. (Also, I suppose it lands somewhere between a filter blog and a topic-driven blog, in her terms). But I’ll shut up about my blog now. I’m looking forward to discussing all this in class.
The second chapter of Ross’ book, as I mentioned, has what I’d call a more explicitly “political” focus — she is looking at the relationships of power between the entertainment industry and the digitally-enabled fans of the (in this case) TV shows that come out of this industry. I’m tempted to repeat my “fans really can’t complain; no one’s forcing you to be a fan” statement from a few posts back, though I suppose I’ll have to stop that kind of talk if this is to be a major theme as we proceed. I guess I’d just also like to add that the idea of some industry control over extra-textual tele-participation is not inherently a bad thing. Sometimes the industry possesses resources that allow fans to come together in more fulfilling and efficient ways than if the fans were, say, starting up a website of their own accord. Of course, the industry is usually clumsy and a bit too greedy, but I’m still hoping that the current state of our media industries will eventually cause them to be a bit more humble and lower their expectations a bit. But who knows. Okay that’s all for now.