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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Am I Just Forwards? (Or Why Blogs Are Causing The Collapse Of Society)

This is just still bugging the heck out of me. (Bear with me as it's about blogging, but before I go paint I wanted to get this out.)

I've been reading blogs all morning, most I found by following breadcrumbs in Seth Godin's or Mark Hurst's archives of brilliance. From Fred Wilson to Nick Carr, from Infothought to WorldChanging, I perused some heady, intellectual posts written by well-respected bloggers. Then I found Creating Passionate Users by Kathy Sierra. I got really excited because she had clearly been very influenced by Godin in her intent, packaging and enthusiasm. The one thing that was very different was that her and Dan's posts were long. (I'm not linking to any of these as the actual examples aren't important. Again, bear with me.)

Seth's posts generally fit on one screen. Bite-sized. Grabbing my attention, delivering, and releasing me to move on to something somewhere else, usually much less profound. Kathy and Dan's posts are mostly 4 screen lengths long. (This still isn't the important part. Almost there.)

The result of the length difference is that while Creating Passionate Users is full of, well, passion, I didn't enjoy going through the archives as much as Seth's perhaps more sedately stated quips. Neither is better, I love both. Both are brilliant. I stay jazzed enough to read all 4 screens of Kathy's and I love the quick A-HA of Seth's terseness. (We're getting close now, but not yet!)

It's the fact that blog posts are listed in reverse chronological order. It's a hassle to keep scrolling up and down, bouncing up the archives: go to the bottom of the page, scroll up to the top of the last post, read down, scroll up to the top of the penultimate post, read down, and so on. With Seth's blog, that bouncing is rarely necessary, so my brain and eyes can flow much better up through the posts.

Why the devil are the posts displayed that way? (There it is!)

I wish (if one can, please tell me!) one could provide the option for re-reversing time. Thoughts flow forward in time, not backwards. I know that most people reading blogs either subscribe and get each post in order, or they read the first couple posts and move on. I must be weird in that when I find a blog new to me and I get excited to read more, I want to go back to the beginning. I usually find the archive links and find my way to the very first post on the blog. I know posts are usually meant to stand alone, but I like to see them as they came from the author. A serialized piece of the author's life, if you will. Doesn't make sense in reverse.

I think that the fact that blogs are set up this way is either symptomatic of or an influence on the atomization of our attention, communication and relationships, at least online. People are chunking their lives into asychronously cross-linked pieces, and because it's difficult to read a blog in time-order the pieces get smaller or they get more isolated. Can anybody say "today's kids"? (don't get me started on Twitter! No, really don't get me started using it.)

I'm not judging this in general, or blaming anything or anybody. I'm just observing myself and extrapolating to a philosophical and sociological argument that makes me feel better because then it's not just me.

Is it you too?


1 comment:

TarBabyJim said...

I subscribe to about 3 blogs (yours being one). I read them as they are emailed to me then I move on. I rarely read back issues of blogs.
PS: I'm mailing you a record today ;-)