cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

Blogging added value

From Tales from the Reading Room in a post called Something worrying

the arts encompass all the spectrum of values that have nothing to do with making money. The arts have tremendous value, only because it’s non-monetary our culture is blind to it.

Litlove discusses, amongst other things, the thing about keeping-on-posting and what to post on.

My immediate, half-formed, reaction to culture is that not a single ionic column would exist if someone hadn’t made money out of it: the beauty of the Greek vase, say, was only possible because slave labour knew no knocking-off time.

For me these – we can now say, perennial – blog questions about why blog and what to put in them, and whether they are of high enough standard, always drops back to a more basic one of private and public writing. Leave aside for the moment whether something in a post is deemed generally of quality or not. It is not usually expressed like this, but anything made public (here, it is content on the web) has a potential for adding value.

The writer of a post in a blog may do it (and keep on posting) because writing and communicating facts and ideas is a pleasure. But once in the public domain it is exploitable by someone in a way the writer may not have been aware of. In some cases, a new way of exploiting what is accumulating in blogs (all web content) may only become apparent later.

In practice what goes into blogs gets concentrated, quoted, boiled down in other blogs, while at the same time dissipated as well by the very same process – not unlike Chinese whispers; the ‘value’ being degraded by misquote or misunderstanding. Comment streams within a blog often illustrate this, let alone posts by others based on the reading someone else’s post.

Links within posts ‘add value’, as they do in any type of website. The constant circulation of the same ideas (often in different form) creates meta-data and meta-knowledge (the re-explanation, refinement of the explanation of ideas). Mining everything in blogs alone could provide someone with valuable information which could be used for profit. Governments and businesses, for example, could (almost certainly do) trawl them for personal information and for trends in thinking.

One of the things bloggers do is read other things on the web and then comment on them. The constant re-circulation of information and ideas, can concentrate a core of what it generally considered to be interesting or worthy within those blogs written by reasonably intelligent, articulate and knowledge people. Here is the centre of value-added. The social network sociologists write Ph.D.s on the Venn diagrammatic associations between bloggers

The man who designs and implements blogging software does it for money. The user, the blogger, does not pay (in the case of free blogging) for the privilege of posting content, which ends up for ever on servers scattered around the world. What the blogger (and other social) software does (apart from allow people to communicate with each other) is increase the number of people actively involved in adding to the bit-stream on the web. And the more people use the web the more someone can find a way of making money out of what is deposited on it.

An example is worth a thousand pictures:

In the literary blogosphere – which ought surely to be the blitosphere, to rid us of that hard g – a ecological niche as it were, there is a willingly deposited set of facts and ideas, which have either come from the mind of the blogger or from elsewhere, such as an old-fashioned book, and which in their turn might be of value to someone, either to re-use in other literary posts, perhaps to help someone deal with or think about something they want to put in a post. At some point someone somewhere is going to dip into the circulation, find something considered useful and reuse it for profit, either back on the web or elsewhere.


I can write a post Little Rock, Pasternak…….


November 15, 2007 - Posted by | added value, blitosphere, blogging, blogosphere, Pasternak

1 Comment »

  1. What an interesting discussion! Funnily enough, shortly before reading this, I had been reading this:

    ‘Since the time of Flaubert and Mallarme, literature has been set up as an end in itself, with no external justification or function beyond being a work of art. With no religious or ideological sanction, there is nothing by which to judge art. All that art has as criteria for judgment is its own claims. The writer can never, therefore, be sure of the real value of what he or she has written, and fears being an imposter.’

    I feel this has tangential relevance to your post, and I wonder whether the modern response to the lack of intrinsic value in art is to embrace it in the wider sweep of use-value, a sense that art might not have a definable value, but that it will always inevitably have a value to someone, somewhere.

    Anyway, most intriguing and lots to think about!

    Comment by litlove | November 16, 2007 | Reply

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