On Blogging Part 4: nexistence and z-axis orientation

[Post by Lelangir]

←[85] (part 1, 2, 3) (collective train of thought: RyanA 1, 2 – Intro 1, 2)

RyanA: What would be really awesome, you may already be thinking this, is to have an aggregator of various reader/blogger’s lensing/noting (Shared Items in Google Reader). Unfortunately, this is more work for authors and asking readers to do such a thing is sort of fishy. If there were a sub-group of producers, not authors, that did this and that is all they did, it could be highly effective…. I wonder if any team-blogs have thought of designating that position to members.

Wow, that’s a really nifty idea. I hadn’t been thinking of that specifically, but I had been conjuring up some group google documents thing. The problem is that I think using platforms besides blogs enters into the “private sphere”, effectively damming communication. Twitter is for bloggers by bloggers just as these posts kind of are, but that’s a totally content related matter as opposed to form-oriented.

You could approach the following paragraph in two or three ways, I think:

(1) Get non-blogging readers to diversify along the “z-axis” – x is blog genre, y is specific content, z is the platforms for accessing both x and y related material. I think that if the barrier of mediums was breached, that would be a totally revolutionizing thing. It’s interesting and important to think about the significance of accounts. What is their relation to identity? To individuality? We know that in forums you need an account, but in blogs you don’t. This sort of contradicts the public/private binary too! – basically, the account-centric nature of forums refutes the very notion that accounts provide individuality, insofar as forums are not good locations to foster individuality, as the conversation has indicated thus far.

(2) You mention an interesting new breed, a “sub-group of producers, not authors [whose role was "limited"to precisely this task]“. I mean, talk about division of labor! Now, in relation to Author, this brings up a huge topic I haven’t talked about yet. If you type in “Pete Zaitcev” you get a boatload of other internet accounts, other nexistences (to quote Kaiserpingvin’s coinage). Is this the same Author? I don’t think so, not necessarily. Perhaps internet identity can be limited to their specific spheres. Anime blogging/notepadding Author isn’t the same on in a political blogging sphere or whatever else. This applies to me, I post in some music forums, and my nexistence may be linked (only to me), but they are totally unrelated. For all intensive purposes, I’m a completely different nexistence vis-a-vis respective content-oriented spheres. This is because, related to the ubiquitous Marx quote, it is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. I don’t want to get into a philosophical debate on the nature of “consciousness” since I haven’t really read any of that kind of text. But, here, I’m effectively saying that the real life individual has the potential to be comprised of a plethora of distinctive internet identities or, possibly, individualities because it is precisely the distinct social nature of each sphere which determines that very “consciousness” or identity. As I stated, the problem is that I’m indexing “identity” for “consciousness”, which isn’t really what Marx was getting at, but that’s beside the point; hopefully you get my gist!

In fact, Douglass Rushkoff said this:

What’s the continuing shape and shift of the bias of the media that we use; and the bias of the internet is shifting away from contact between people and more towards contact through content between people and particular content that is less and less local.

This idea of, as we have been discussing, a content-oriented digital society is extremely important because Rushkoff uses it to describe contact and social organization, I don’t necessarily think it’s redundant up to this point. Essentially, tying together Marx, Rushkoff and Kaiserpingvin, separate nexistences are the product of social spheres which are created by content-oriented individuals. “Division of labor” is too harsh a term, the aniblogosphere has no monetary system nor economy. I think what I’m getting at (it’s nearly over the top of my head) is that in order to breach the damming effects of the medium and de facto private spheres and channels, new forms of digital identity have to be thought of. These new notions of identity and nexistence might have the potential to challenge or at least engage with these incredibly stable discursive regimes and continuous practices of “private” and “public” spheres – there’s nothing really “private” about google documents at all besides the hype and representation it has received from the digital public, the aniblogosphere. Exclusivity in general is a good example.

(3) To totally forget about the previous two points, you say that team blogs can designate members to perform these tasks. The notepadder then becomes not a distinct nexistence but a role, as the individual can “defy quantum physics” by being two things simultaneously.1 By “things”, I perhaps mean representations, or perceptions that society superimposes upon the individual. Similarly, with fansubbing, you can have a typesetter who is also the translator. This method seems relatively unproblematic. It goes back to the structural hegemony vs. personal agency: can distinct nexistences spontaneously pop up out of nowhere, unbeknownst to the structure? – or do the social mechanisms of the structure necessarily have to (a) provide for a ripe social environment into which (b) new forms of nexistence arise? In this case, I think the structure wins. It is essential to have continuously progressive forms of software and blogging interface (Moore’s law?, but the aniblogosphere isn’t necessarily teleologic) to establish the “luxury” or “necessity” of new nexistences and social roles onto which people consciously subscribe upon their entrance into their preferred spheres. Basically, the structure of digital societies create slots for employment, and the people come running: if you build it, they will come! As we’ve discussed, however, the problem is that we need to avoid building bridges to nowhere. In order for a collective notepadding society to exist, those roles and their constituent technologies must have a function and use.2


1 However, I think it’s very hard and extremely rare for someone to be a notepadder and not, first and foremost, an aniblogger. How can they skip those successive phases of nexistence construction? It seems like one must first become steeped in aniblogosphere culture before they can progress to become a meta-blogger. Perhaps Author does contradict that.
2 I remember reading that functionalism in sociology is obsolete, so I don’t know why it sounds so enticing here, though.

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5 Comments

  1. This is great. I’m too new to the environment to comment with any substance, but rather I need some clarifications:

    1. The concern (or at least one of them) is that people tend to have different and perhaps inconsistent nexistences (i.e. people on my facebook may not know or relate to me as ghostlightning the aniblogger, but rather mike the tennis fagn).

    2. notepadding (I don’t understand the concept)

    I get the impression that the content we choose to write about, under the structures that distribute it to readers – do more to determine our nexistence than the actual production we do (quality should figure in this, but I don’t know how to fit it in yet).

    Let me know if I’m getting the ideas correctly. Maybe afterward I’ll have something to contribute.

    Reply
  2. I’m effectively saying that the real life individual has the potential to be comprised of a plethora of distinctive internet identities or, possibly, individualities because it is precisely the distinct social nature of each sphere which determines that very “consciousness” or identity

    and that’s a brilliant way to put it. We can put individuals into a specific context, and they may be very different from themselves in another context. It’s human, but almost always socially driven. Authors can exploit this safely and there should be nothing wrong as there is some amount of separation between contexts (mutual exclusion). Good stuff.

    is that in order to breach the damming effects of the medium and de facto private spheres and channels, new forms of digital identity have to be thought of

    Or proxies. I don’t think the damming effects are a matter as long as there is separation from the author’s perspectives between contexts/environments. If that makes sense…

    @ghostlightning, inconsistent nexistences is an issue if there is no separation of context; people in Facebook don’t need to acknowledge one’s existence in the the aniblogosphere in order to validate that existence as they are separate “worlds” (in other words, they shouldn’t effect each other).

    The notepadding is basically taking a short perspective on an article, it’s not necessarily a response/comment/conversation, just a “take” it’s external from the subject of the note. Or something like that.

    Reply
  3. lelangir

     /  26 November 2008

    RyanA: Hmm, I don’t think proxies can effectively reach the private sphere. Proxies are real concrete things. The private sphere is cultural. In essence, twitter and back channels are proxies in themselves – trying to proxy a proxy might, at first thought, be redundant and not effective. I think that, insofar as this becomes a cultural matter, using technology itself won’t work because technology hasn’t caught up with society and its culture. Omo has pointed this out in his more thorough investigation of google reader. Essentially, I think we must challenge culture with culture, engage with the private sphere with a cultural device.

    Reply
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