Here’s a higher quality audience perspective video of my presentation as guest speaker for Chris Ferrari’s New Media Class (DMS155) at the University at Buffalo (SUNY).
Chris invited me in as an experienced blogger, where I told my life story on how I got started and how I got as far as I did. Popular bloggers plan for readership by focusing on a particular genre. Good bloggers write really really well. I do neither. What I did do is enjoy writing about anything and keeping it at a comfortable pace.
Presentation now available via ShareSlide
Who are you blogging for?
It’s great if people like reading what you write, and unless you’re blogging for a profit, I believe that the number one audience for your blog is none other than you. I write what I like because it’s a self-actualization process, where I live out the thoughts and opinions I hold dear (i.e. muse), manifesting them into the real world.
On Lifecasting + Privacy
In the presentation, I also gave a short history on lifecasting (from cinema verite to justin.tv), why I personally do it and how. Students fielded questions on privacy which I was alluded to how I’m being more aware of it than the regular Joe simply because I am putting more at stake. Even though it seems like I treat my life as an open book, I exercise greater control over my privacy as I become very aware of it. For instance not everything goes on the blog and I typically turn off the sound on my video stream. Remember, we are already constantly being surveyed involuntarily, if not for surveillance cameras, it’d be through sacrificing our personal information for something of value (to join Facebook, use Gmail, etc).
Ironically just this morning, USA Today published an article relating to how teens in their 20s are reared on reality TV, paparazzi, cellphone cameras and the insatiable maw of the World Wide Web, so it’s no wonder most of them think a little differently when it comes to privacy. Thing is not all of them do (like most of the students I’ve met), so age might not be a good enough factor in considering one’s privacy preference.
Finally, an age old question returned with a second life:
Isn’t all this contributing to internet pollution?
I’ve always been mindful of how everything we produce, be it infantile blog postings, to gigabytes of lifecasting videos, all contribute to a greater though messier web. Andrew Keen put up a good fight in explaining how web-based amateurs affected journalism and the news industry, while most other critics argue about the benefits that come from collective intelligence, wisdom of the crowds and so on. I tend to sit on the side where sharing something is better than nothing, no matter how immaterial it would seem to the masses. Aside from my argument that it would eventually be valuable to someone (if not now, then later) and how the web intrinsically affords us that ability to share even the most minute of things, I do see the validity from the other side of the fence, where less can be more.
As we debate on how and what we should share online, most of the content that is deemed valuable today emerges through the process of popularity. From Google Search ranks preferring web pages that have higher inbound links, to popular articles being Digg (or voted) by users. While it seems fair game for all, there are really interesting things that fall off the sidelines never to be noticed.
The virtuoso factor
As I’ve realized from my reading from Paulo Virno’s “A Grammer of the Multitude“, there is a heightened performance (read: virtuoso) factor that plays into the selection process, which perhaps also factors into Susan Blackmore’s study of memetics.
Memetics is a controversial field which seeks to explain how our minds and cultures are designed by natural selection acting on replicating information, just as organisms evolve by natural selection acting on genes.
I believe that’s where presentation or the packaging of content comes into play. We can’t expect an intellectual web (or blogosphere) to emerge all of a sudden, but the fact that more of us are engaged in some form of discussion on the web allows an opportunity for gaining enlightenment. Over time, more of us would be able to sense the patterns of mass consumption, and play on it much like how we understand the subtle rules of a new game.
On virtuoso, I offer a simplistic notion that a few of us are capable of using contexts, such as humor, to frame ideas and thoughts, making them not only attractive, but readily consumable by the masses (i.e. easy enough to understand). Returning to the problem of internet pollution, while everyone sharing bits of everything might make searching for something a little harder, I do see this as a natural trial and error process by the human collective. Still, those who want to be found, would over time know how to make themselves that much more findable.
Presentation slides are available from my earlier post and a lifecast video has been archived over here (see the action from my speaker perspective).