Thoughts on Blogging the Future

Over the last few weeks I’ve been re-evaluating what exactly I am trying to accomplish by writing on sites like this and why I even started in the first place.  I had some very interesting conversations this past weekend and I think it’s helped me tie together some ideas.

I have a very strong belief that the internet will indeed change the world for the better.  Right now it is in the initial stages of exercising that power.  Blogging news is viewed as extremely credible (more so than anything on TV), internet fads are followed in the mainstream and networking sites are growing larger every day.  The events in Burma showed just how powerful communication and organization can be when you have access to the world via the intertubes. 

What I find very interesting right now is the draw that online communities hold over people from all walks of life.  The friendships that people are making virtually are just as tangible and important as those in the physical world.  I once saw a documentary about online gamers who were meeting for the first time at a LAN party.  The gathering was huge, and it seemed almost like an experiment in balancing a virtual existence with a physical one.  Despite having never met each other physically, they already knew more about each other than most of us know about our closest friends.

The world outside has become so twisted that it’s much more pleasant to exist virtually.  Why would you want to live in the world we have now?  There are so many other places you can live.  World of Warcraft.  Second Life.  The blogosphere.  It’s addictive.  I have seriously lost good friends to World of Warcraft.  When I was a manager at a video game store I saw it all the time.  There were regular customers I didn’t see again for 3 months after the second expansion pack was released.  When they did return they were usually in wrinkled clothes, unwashed hair and had a disconnect from normal physical human interaction.

I’ve also met a lot of people who “quit” WOW and refuse to even go near it again.  Most of them now seem to live their lives to a fuller extent than they did before.  There has been such a breakdown of community over the last few decades that my generation especially was barely even exposed to the concept.  Community used to be very important, and for a good reason.  Despite the Conservative bullshit implemented over the last 30-40 years, we can not all pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.  Emotionally, spiritually, financially and politically we all need each other to lead fulfilling lives.

Well, now we all have communities again.  And not only that, we are no longer confined to space or time within these communities.

I played Second Life for the first time a month or so ago.  It’s amazing.  Every single aspect of the world is user defined and created.  Whole universes exist that you can drop in and out of in an instant.  The societies that have formed from this are incredible.  An economy, land, shopping, social norms.  It’s all there. 

I stopped playing it 3 days later.  I know how I am.  I used to read a lot as a kid and I think it’s the same principle, except now there are millions of other people indulging your virtual existence.  Society has not yet defined what the balance of these forms of existence should be.  I think it’s why I often hesitate about staying involved in the blogosphere.

I originally started reading blogs because I wanted direction and answers.  What I found was a community.  But the community feels like it is in a perpetual state of anarchist limbo.  I’ve read a couple interesting essays here lately about leadership, and I completely agree.  We are lacking it, and we need it.  Not only for political purposes, but to bridge the gap between the blogosphere and the physical world to create communities that co-exist with each other in a way that maximizes our impact. 

I don’t think we need to look at this as a business leadership, but rather a democratic leadership.  The netroots and the blogosphere seem to have the same problem as the anti-war movement.  There are so many small groups with very diverse agendas and interests.  Each group is trying to be heard as loud as they can.  Despite this though there are a few very important core principles and beliefs that still tie us together. Sounds kind of like America right? 

I love the idea of the Manifesto.  That’s why I joined this site in the first place. I wanted to be involved with it because I think it’s an important idea.  Lately though I’ve been thinking maybe it should be a Constitution instead.

Treat the blogosphere as its own nation.  Bring democracy to the blogosphere.  Top bloggers, who head larger sites are clearly the stronger leaders out of the masses.  Let everyone vote, have a central site where the top voted representative is in charge of organizing the netroots to affect those around us and in our communities.  Bring more people to protests.  Bring more people to the blogosphere.  If the netroots are going to effectively change anything there needs to be some sort of order to the chaos  and the internet would allow for just about the most equal form of democracy you could ever have.  No gender, age, appearance.  Only ideas. 

I’m tired of waiting for change and know there are a lot of others who feel the same way.  How much longer until the netroots takes action?  How much longer until our country takes action?  Someone needs to start, and the sooner the better.  Hold a constitutional convention, re-write it until it works.  I figure we have about 2-3 months before the shit starts to really hit the fan so that sounds like a good time frame to me. 

Any suggestions?

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  1. called If Nothing Else: A Semi-Manifesto that I absolutely love.  He wrote:

    We didn’t do what we set out to do but in the meantime we did something else.  We built a city of light.  We don’t live there any more, either, but we did for awhile.  We conversed and argued and dreampt and considered and we gamed-out and story-boarded and talked.  And we saved something from the darkness.

    That really connected a lot of things for me, and I think of it often.  I just wanted to say thank you.

    • pfiore8 on October 31, 2007 at 2:45 am

    is that it’s SMALL

    no matter how many people are on it, it scales in our sense of one-to-one or one-to-thirty

    it’s personal

    no stadium filled with 60,000 people. no 1.2 million iraqis dead. no 6.5 billion people.

    it’s just you. and it’s just me. your mind can reduce it.

    that’s why it works.

    there was something i read a few days that has changed my whole way of looking at how we got here and why. how we think…

    in a way, it was liberating. i’m still building the ideas from that one piece in my mind.

  2. Good essay, very thought-provoking

    I’m not ready to let go of the “real” world, but I am fascinated by the possibility of creating and participating in online communities.  The other side of quick joining is quick dropout, with perhaps no hope of recovery.  It is like little deaths all the time–hello, goodbye.  You could run into someone you knew online in the real world and not know it. 

    I’m not sure I like the idea of blog central, with elected leaders, but then again, considering that there can really be no blog central that blocks out all others, or at least I don’t think there is any real will to create that (well, there could be, but it will be a long time before the authoritarians among us can figure out how to bring it about, at least I hope), then a blog-central, like a city-state could make sense because it might be useful.

    But then again, any thing that can be useful can be misused.  I guess I’m concerned about anyone gaining too much power without the human check of ordinary people. 

    I am a thinker, and I love to think about ideas, but I also love my “gender, age, and appearance,” and I dont’ want my relationships to be separate from who I am, including gender, age and appearance.  So even though I dont’ post a picture of myself, or talk much about the fact that I am a 46 year old mother of two, that stuff does matter.

    But still I am intrigued by the idea of Blog Nation. 

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