Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Blogging: New Age Literature?

The print media has deliberated the definition of web logs ever since the odd, little electronic columns first appeared on the Internet in the late 1990's. By 2003, the name morphed into “blogs” and critics began to accept the fact Marshall McLuhan was absolutely correct in his 1964 dictum “the medium is the message.” According to Rebecca Blood, author of Weblogs: A History and Perspective, the first universal definition of a web log, for lack of any other yardstick, was that the web entry had to have a time stamp!

Blogs were originally docked in the Narrative Journalism slot, then shuffled a bit as Literary Journalism, and now considered Creative Non-Fiction, a literary classification. Truman Capote's 1965 book “In Cold Blood,” was generally acknowledged as narrative journalism in novel form, although the genre can be traced back to 1957 and "OperaciĆ³n Masacre," by the Argentine writer Rodolfo Walsh In 1957. Blogs have taken a respectability that has the ethereal, temporal world of electronic distribution in competition with the traditional printed word. That competition is for readers, and younger readers like the blogs. It is far easier to carry the display medium in your pocket rather than a heavy, cumbersome bag of books or magazines. Besides, the electronic display device has no practical limits to the amount of information it contains, and it is absolutely current. The blog may two days, or perhaps only two minutes old.

Bloggers have taken complex journalism that brushes against the boundary of e-books to new levels. E-books are single, one time publications, while blogs progress as long as the writer cares to continue. Unlike a book chapter that cannot stand on its own, each issue of a blog stands like an article and yet is considered an independent entity that can be expanded as the writer sees fit. Blogs, considered a monograph, have also been tagged as Immersion Journalism. A blog is basically an article that doesn't know when to quit.

Blogging has a power that is unique in human communications. At this very moment, I can post this anywhere in the world, possibly to an international audience of millions of people and I can do it in one keystroke. But I'm not done yet. I could send it up as is, and many bloggers unfortunately upload material that isn't ready to be posted. In the old arena I would have said printed, but that would infer it had gone through editors and publishers. Editing is not used by most bloggers, at least not human editors. Computer programs often perform that function today, but they offer grammatical checking better than only two things: no editing at all and self-editing. Self-editing is harder to do than cutting your own hair, and the results look even worse. Spell check isn't even used by many bloggers, and plagiarism is rampant.

Yet, many competent writers have adapted to the instantaneous medium with a flair and created a new environment of mobile, universal distribution of thought. With a blog, it happens across the world instantaneously. A new literary form, indeed.

George Mindling
Port Charlotte, FL

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