On Creating a Blog and the Internet Age

For a long time I have been wanting to create a blog. When Blogger was the rage, and long before Google acquired it, I did create and account with them. It was probably about 7 or 8 years ago, I do not remember. But I soon was discouraged because I did not find it very user friendly and its features limited for what I wanted it to do. I was too used to e-mail and e-mail groups back then, and felt quite comfortable with it because of its ease. However, e-mail groups were only limited to the people subscribed to such groups, and therefore its content inaccessible to people not subscribed. Then came Facebook, whose only attraction when I joined was its ability to allow me to find people (friends, family, acquaintances) I have not heard in a long time.

I found Facebook particularly fascinating in the beginning, because for the first time there was this media that allowed me to view the content of all the people connected to me, how they lived, how they thought about things, in real time — people I knew who lived at great distance from me, and allowed everyone to exchange ideas in one thread. And despite all the criticism and horror Facebook (FB) brings to the morally and socially apprehensive, it does something that other forms of communication had not done until then. One, the ability for individuals of all walks of life to express their selves with such immediacy, and two, the level of frankness people permit themselves on FB, who otherwise would not say such things in real and live polite conversation.

It may be that I am a little bit of a sociologist, but when it comes to human behavior, FB makes a wonderful lab, however disgusting or appealing it may appear to some. It brings the lowest and highest forms of our humanity to fore. Granted, live — a viva voce — conversation cannot ever be surpassed by social media, and one can truly know someone else through convivencia, the personal shared and constant space created between two individuals throughout a lifetime, however FB may come to a second best. Nonetheless, however enthusiastic I might be about FB, it lacks the ability to create context, that is, it does not allow the writer to explain the back and foreground of his thought. The tragedy of writing is that once it leaves the “pen” of the writer, the reader can decode it anyway he or she wants, it other words, without knowing where the writer may be coming from, the reader may not get the “full message” that the writer is trying to convey. Hence, the tautological savagery that exists in places like FB and Tweeter.

Blogging, however, gives context control to the writer. It would be second best to publishing books and articles, were it not for the ephemeral existence of on-line content. Yes, I do find on-line publishing still inferior to physical publishing for the simple reason that if the Internet’s storage would ever be erased, all would be lost. However, physically published books would still be scattered across the libraries of the world. If one would burn to the ground, there are still chances that another copy might exist elsewhere. Internet storage does not have that hope, adding to the fact that current storage technology still has a far shorter lifespan than an actual book, one which could potentially live for thousand of years. For those techies out there, just think how long a hard drive lasts. and you’ll get my point.

So here you have me, creating a blog to exert some control. And I feel comfortable with WordPress, although some of my friends may find other blog sites better. But to what purpose do I want to create a blog? It so happens that I have been trying to write a book, or rather, a series of books and articles; of different subjects and points of view. Having a a full time job makes it sort of difficult for the writer, because writing needs constant dedication. Maestro Carlos Fuentes once said that to be a writer, one has to have a “big ass.” In other words, one has to be committed to the chair and typewriter constantly.

The purpose of this blog, at least for me, is to put ideas down, sort of like a notebook. There have been many times that I have thought of things to write, from things I have read or experienced, that trigger themes to be developed, commented on or to be argued. But I soon forget, either because something else takes priority or eventually I discard it as unimportant, only to find out later that it returns, again and again. I admire writers who possess an encyclopedic knowledge, and who can recall a lot of things they read, thought or had a conversation with in great detail. Unfortunately, I am not one of those, nor pretend to be. I possess what I call a referential memory. I may loose track to what I learned, but not from whom I learned it from. My memory does not store, it catalogs. The blog also gives me the opportunity to share it with my friends, who may, for better or worse, bring another point of view which I had not considered before. Though some may not believe this, I do appreciate any type of input, as long as it is well reasoned and presented, it does not matter how much I may agree or disagree with it.

The Internet Age presents the opportunity to share knowledge — using the term very loosely. Unfortunately, and I know this all too well, most of the knowledge being shared is not precisely edifying or constructive, but to be fair to the Internet, all mediums of communication do not fair any better either. I cannot think of any communication technology in history that has received the unremitting support of society as a whole. There will be always someone who will express their most dire reservations. So, I do not loose sleep over it.

What is important to me is the array of information available from which one can learn from. And this is not mere information posted in some shabby HTML website by some unknown individual with only-God-knows what credentials or credibility, but media available through institutions’ websites is of immense value. It used to be that one was limited to what one found in the local library, music store, cinema or television. Today, like the saying goes, the world is your oyster. But it can be overwhelming; no single individual can ever keep up with what goes on with the world. And people tend, sometimes, to loose focus. And this is where your on-line friends come in. They all bring something to the table to clue you in.

With that note, I thank my current and future on-line friends for sharing a virtual moment with me. They all somehow form part of this blogging endeavor too.

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