Thousands of lives have become an open book.
Thanks to personal websites oddly called blogs. Humdrum writers, wanting ego massage, post their daily thoughts, their day-to-day experiences, and literary attempts in their blogs. One thinks about a random thought, then s/he enters it in his blog. One reads someone’s exegeses, then s/he posts a comment. Definitely, blogging has become this decade’s robotic yet addictive habit.
According to Dave Winer, one of the pioneers of blogging, weblogs or simply, blogs are “often-updated [internet] sites that point to articles elsewhere on the web, often with comments and to on-site articles.” Simply put, blogs are personal websites with links to your friends, thus making an intricate web of thousands of “netizens” reading and cross-reading other blogs.
Nobody is sure who set up the first blog or why is it called such. A quick Google search would yield minimal information about the history of blogging. They only say the same thing: blogging started in 1997 and flourished in 1999 when Blogger.com offered free weblog service to the public.
Of Blogs and Politics
The most controversial of all forms are political blogs – set-up by bloggers who use it as a political tool to criticize the existing status quo, which is the hegemonic flow of information controlled by the mass media.
Political blogs gained increasing notice and coverage for their role in breaking, shaping or spinning news stories. Blog authors link several articles from news web sites and post it in their blogs with corresponding comments. According to a political blogger, they mostly criticize what they consider as systematic errors or bias in an online newspaper or news site.
Political blogs gained unexpected prominence during President Bush’s War on Iraq. These blogs provided a counter-point, as well as counter-weight, as bloggers, and even journalists covering the war, gathered news and posted “on-the-spot” reportage on the war, giving flesh to the “real horrible face” of the war.
Likewise, blogs have become an alternative venue for dissent and protest. K Marx the Spot, for example, is a progressive blog that became a space for critiques and leftist commentaries about politics, economics and culture submitted by liberal journalists across the globe.
Interestingly, most of these sites are digital revolution advocates, promoting alternative softwares, which provide free source codes, like Linux, Mozilla and Firefox instead of Microsoft software applications. They believe that softwares should be shared and acquired freely and free from capitalistic clutches.
A Blog Life
But the sudden exponential gush of new blogs and authors/journalists rendered the network of blogs unnavigable. Instead of browsing on all alternative sources of news, one is forced to just click CNN.com. Thus, the power, or potential, of the blogs to become a site of debate and contestation is easily negated because of its sheer number and convoluted network.
Unfortunately in the Philippines, there are few blogs that have political content. Most Philippine blog authors are still pajama-writers, writing their own day-to-day experiences and mundane existence – who is their crush, what they ate last night, where did they go. And would go on writing why they felt bad yesterday, what they are looking forward tomorrow and, sometimes, their answers to countless and mindless surveys and questionnaires usually found in Friendster.com or e-groups.
One time, during one of those lazy afternoons where I have nothing to do but surf the net, I read one post of a blogger who was so pissed-off and so antsy because she applied first the conditioner before the shampoo. And I was like, “What the?” Now that was a concrete proof of misplaced existential angst coupled with twisted values plus a tinge of incongruous vanity.
As I see it, all these self-glorifications and me-I-centric musings are nothing but pure masturbation and ego-massage. Such bloggers are then reduced to just another senseless writer – anonymous and voiceless.
I admit I am one of those faceless pajama-writers/bloggers before. But I kissed blogging goodbye simply because I realized it was senseless for me to maintain an online diary or a blog. I’d rather pour my thoughts in a piece of paper, where it is private and for my eyes only. I firmly believe that a blog should be a medium for change and a space for debate and contestation of pressing social issues that concern us and the nation.
Written by apocalypse, edited by blue_kuko and first appeared on www.peyups.com on 20th March 2005.