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Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening?
What's the Point of a Blog?
Are you part of an online community?
Nicolas van der Leek (Nick)     Print Article 
Published 2008-02-27 09:42 (KST)   
A blog is a chance to get a detailed behind the scenes picture of your favorite writer, celebrity or normal person. It's more detail-orientated than Facebook (which is also a blogging platform), and it's more personal than e-mail.

In my case, when I have stuff appearing in publications, it can be viewed first on my blog, with bonus footage or content and context.

Also, while we may be used to a one-way flow of data (from a page through our eyes into our brains), a blog allows the opportunity for the reader to respond. Increasingly, you might find a curious detail and want the writer to expand on it. Or, as is often the case, you might want to show or tell the writer that you are more intelligent than he or she is.

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Broadband Heaven

I started to appreciate the power, usefulness and thrill of blogging while living in broadband heaven: South Korea. I had read what I thought was a rare and astutely insightful book ("The Long Emergency" by Jim Kunstler) and then was referred in the epilogue to his blog. It's not the best design, but he writes well, and it has millions of visitors. It was fascinating following his commentary on events (updated daily, plus a weekly column) and seeing how predictions and reality became increasingly congruent.

In Touch With Your Favorite Author

I have also e-mailed the author a few times and received several interesting responses, which is something you could never do until modern times. The same thing occurred with Weston DeWalt, author of "The Climb," who actually contacted me via reading my blog.

It is amazing that we have the capacity now to read one another's minds, and for one person to infiltrate millions of minds, and for those millions (I almost said "minions") to respond en masse. Kunstler says he wades through masses of e-mails each day.

My Space for You

The point of a blog, for me, in the beginning, was to provide a place for those people who wanted to get in touch with me to visit (instead of sending group mails and getting five irritated responses each time). I am still shocked, surprised, awed and wearied of the fact that what is published on the Web can be read by a little girl on a computer in Australia or a hairy-nosed scientist at the North Pole, and everywhere in between.

I only worry that few of us take this technology seriously. So much of what enters the public consciousness -- the majority by far -- is drivel. And drivel begets drivel. Drivel and our fascination with drivel (rather than what is necessary) is what has driven us to where we are as a civilization, and we know it is not a safe, happy, sustainable or even sane place.

Blogs -- if enough people experience a cuckoo moment -- may be able to reverse this effect, this mental malaise. Change begins with a change in mindset, and blogs can do plenty, I believe, to shift the zeitgeist to a more meaningful level of functionality.
For background on the writer, visit www.nickvanderleek.com.
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Nicolas van der Leek

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