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Techno-bio update

I’ve gotten a bit behind in my posts for this blog, even though I’ve had a lot of ideas!  There are two reasons for this.  The first is the insanity of the last week before break, with midterms and suchlike.  The second reason is more interesting: a lot of my internet time has been devoted to my other blog, which I just started using (“writing for”? “posting on”? not sure of the proper verbiage here) again.  This music-centric blog, which can be found HERE, is one that I created over the summer because I thought, hey, it’s the summer, why not give this blogging thing a try.  After spending quite a while picking the right platform/theme/personal design, I stuck with it for about two weeks (when I used to play The Sims, I enjoyed designing the house WAY more than trying to maintain my whiny little avatars’ shitty lives).  There were some weird issues with my embeddable audio player, and more importantly, I thought to myself, “wait, why do I have a blog?  What’s the point, exactly?”

The posting just felt a bit obligatory.  But now I’ve had a bit of a change of mindset, and I think it has a lot to do with this class.  About a week ago, I started posting on the Ashtray Says blog again (a date which roughly coincides with my silence on this blog), and I’ve been really enjoying it.  Perhaps this class has turned me on a bit to the “value” of blogging (something I’m not quite sure of myself, yet), but I think it has more to do with some sort of vague value I’ve picked up in our class about using the internet with…intention, I suppose.  In a way that feels beneficial and not frivolous?  Perhaps this will make more sense as I continue.

Several factors converged in my decision to start blogging on The Ashtray Says again.  First of all, I had been meaning to write a review for Titus Andronicus’ new album The Monitor for a while, just to try my hand at writing a longish album review, something I haven’t done much of.  If not post it on my blog, what the hell was I going to do with it?  Post it as a Facebook note, I suppose, which has sort of been my lame excuse for blogging in the past few months when I’ve wanted to post music-related lists.  Also, a few of the internships I was applying for want to see writing samples, and they wanted at least one to be on a blog.

Then, just as I was finishing the Titus Andronicus review, a serendipitous thing happened: my Arts editors at the Campus asked if I had a record review they could use, because the column “For the Record”, usually covered by two guys, needed a review for this week.  Then I thought, I write blog-appropriate articles for the Campus pretty often, why not have those in a consolidated place like my blog?  (I have no idea the legality of this with a free newspaper like the Campus…)  Then I thought, well hey, by that token, I do mini reviews of new albums for WRMC all the time, why not have some record of those as well?  Then there’s this idea of just having some sort of canonical (ish?) record of the music/culture/internet stuff that interests me, all in one place.  When I actually think about it, it’s pretty silly, because it’s not really a record of all the things I consume at all, but….well, you get the idea.

So far, these are all self-centered reasons: having my thoughts and writings on culture consolidated in one place so that I can look at them all.  Plus, there’s that Sims-house-designing pleasure of making them look nice.  But there’s publishing/distribution reasons as well.  A lot of the time lately, I’ll hear a great new song or see a video I like, and I spend a lot of time doing some combination of: sending them to individuals via facebook or email, posting them as facebook statuses or tweets, and telling people verbally/showing them in person.  This brings me to my favorite discovery about wordpress: automatic publishing to facebook and twitter!  Now, whenever I post on The Ashtray Says, a facebook link and a tweet are automatically generated.  I apologize in advance for this…

This saves me some time, I think?  And it creates a better chance of someone reading the posts I make, even if these people are only directly connected to me via twitter or facebook.  This has also led me to discover the awesome “blog stats” section that our ridiculously, hilariously limited MIDDBLOGZ don’t have.  I can see patterns of how my posting and publishing correspond with the number of views on my blog, down to how many views each specific post has received and how people linked to it.  I won’t get into it too much, but one cool thing happened when I made my new posts just an hour or so ago.  Within minutes of me posting, 14 people had visited my new posts (not a bad number for such a short time on my measly little blog).  I figured these stemmed from the facebook/twitter auto updates, but they had all originated from a site called “alphainventions.com”, which is some weird site that cycles through recent wordpress posts in an almost chatroulette-like level of rapidity.  Since that initial flurry (again, about an hour ago), my blog has received no more visits.  Thought that was kind of interesting.

Suppose I should tie this back to our class.  My reasons for explaining all this crap: 1) there was a direct, seemingly significant connection between this new habit and my lack of blogs for “Cap’n Toren’s blah blah”.  2) Because I think my decision to start blogging again has very much to do with the internet-stuff we’ve done for this class, and my decision to link The Ashtray Says, facebook, and twitter together has to do with something I’ve learned in this class as well.  Something like…thinking of the internet as a tool, and trying to use that tool intelligently.  I feel I’ve created something that is very enjoyable for me and has a tangible, if not immediately practical, output.

I think I could delve deeper here, but I’d better go to bed now, because I’m getting up and going to Boston and Providence for most of the week tomorrow morning.  In the spirit of “Disconnected” (that’s what it was called, right?), I’ll be refraining from texting this week….more on that in a later post.  I leave you with a ballin remix video that my brother just showed me.  It mashes up clips of John Locke to fit the lyrics of “Like a Boss”, the Lonely Island song originally paired with an Andy Samberg digital short on SNL.  The last minute kinda sucks, but a lot of the middle section is real clever.  I’ll probably post it on my other blog later….or something.  I’m still figuring out just what to do with all my favorite bits of culture….so many options.  GO INTERNET.

One Response to “Techno-bio update”

  1. Ian McBride says:

    Cool idea. I’d recommend sticking with consolidating all the stuff you write and not worrying about the ownership issues of your own content. Bring people around to that (hopefully) new norm by brute force.

    Another note: you can turn on the WordPress.com Stats plugin for this blog. You’ll find it near the bottom of the plugins list. You’ll need an API key from here http://en.wordpress.com/api-keys/ after you enable it.

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