Sunday, April 26

Metablogging

I love that prefix. I wish there was a way to use the term "meta-ing" to describe its use. Maybe now there is, 'cause I just said it. I mean, cognition (just call it thinking) is really interesting. But metacognition, thinking about thinking...now that's just fascinating (not to mention extremely cool). In my mind (a nice place to visit but you wouldn't want to live there), it's the reason that the Truman Show is such an interesting movie. I mean, it was a major studio release that, like all other movies, relied heavily on a fan base and a media-driven culture and economy to fuel its success, while really being a commentary itself on the inanity and maybe even immorality of those things. It's what makes parody funny.

I'm not the only one talking about it, that's for sure. 199,000 hits on Google is nothing to sneeze at (there's even a website, and apparently a non-profit at that, devoted to the topic!)though it seems maybe they're talking about something a little different, something a bit more like what I have seen going on a lot at Blogher (so it still must be alive and well, in contrast to this blogger's take on it, which implies that metablogging was dead and buried four years ago). I gotta say, though, that this one, is my favorite:

"The language of metablogging uses metaphors that emphasize communality and proximity, and thus offers an alternative to the social risks Reddy associates with the conduit metaphor. The associative principle of the "link" is central to the hypothetical information processing machine that Vannevar Bush calls the "Memex", as well as to hypertext theory; but in practice, the linking of electronic documents according to an architecture emulating individual mental associations has not been widely and democratically implemented until the emergence of the weblog phenomenon."

Okaaay. What?

No. Really. I love academics. Really. I do.

What most folks seem to regard as metablogging is blogs that talk about other blogs or blogs that talk about blogging. And by that, they mean blogs that discuss other blogs, or blogs that talk about "how to blog", i.e. the "practice of blogging". (bored yet?) That's not what I mean.

What I mean by metablogging (at least on this day at this time--it could change tomorrow, I'm like that), is the practice of reflection on our own process of blogging--a blogger blogging about their own blogging (don't you love it how words start to sound like nonsense syllables when you say them over and over? I love that). What I mean is more like what Kelly wrote when she asked loads of great questions, in exploration of what blogging actually is, in a wonderful post that really got me going when I was starting up a couple months back. More like what Maggie just said. Hmm. Maybe there's something in the water.

Yes, I have considered the possibility that it's what some of us write about when we don't have other things to write about, or because maybe, possibly, some of us think too much (ya think?).

The question remains. Why me? Why here? Why now? Well, I'll tell you.

This is a really interesting experience, blogging. It's a little self-contained microcosm, a snapshot that reveals who we are, not only to the reader, but to ourselves. It reminds us of things we have forgotten, or choose to forget, about ourselves.

For example, I see myself as a very self-motivated, somewhat driven (given the right context, not everywhere) person. For some reason, I frequently reject the idea that I need community or that I need the pressure of deadlines or the urging of coaches to do my best work. I cling to this notion despite truckloads--no, bargeloads--of evidence to the contrary. I see myself as someone who embraces being visible and successful--with the acknowledgement that self-promotion has always been a challenge. I see myself as someone a basically relaxed person with pretty high standards (those who know me would say that is a gross understatement--I can hear them laughing as I type), but not really a perfectionist (more laughter).

So it has been an illuminating experience watching what happened when I missed two days after 45 days of daily blogging, spurred onward courtesy of NaBloPoMo. Yeah, I know. It sounds little. It sounds silly. But becuase this is a public endeavor, there was no way to avoid watching what happened.

What happened? I stopped. The ideas were gone. The writing was gone. I missed two days. I strategized, as all NaBloPoMo folks sometimes do, about "catching up" or "filling in" with pre-existing unfinished posts. Nope. Two more days on. (So you missed two days, Robin. Just get back on the horse.) Still. Nothing. And completely coincidentally (and I mean COMPLETELY COINCIDENTALLY, OKAY??), the number of hits and comments on my blog were at an all-time high, suddenly up by a very significant margin, when I stopped writing eight days ago.

Oh, I did some fine rationalization. I thought about what Kelly wrote, about how it isn't important how many people read (which is true) and maybe it's even important to keep that number low (which is also true). I reflected on the feeling of many fine bloggers that stats are the work of the devil (also true). I thought of the other times that I struggled to "get back on the horse". I told myself that I had been traveling (which was true) and that cross-country travel with a 9 year old and visiting my mother allowed little time for anything else. I convinced myself that I just wasn't really thinking about much for that week (ha!). Most of all, I surprised the hell out of myself, simply by being who I have always been. Go figure.

Isn't this what writers say? (I ask as if I am not one, of course) The important thing is to write every day. The important thing is to keep writing. Get up every morning and write.

I guess what I'm saying is: I'm back.

3 comments:

Rebecca Anne said...

Occasionally, I will will write about blogging, as a blogger, my blogs and it's experience. The comments I get are always interesting. Some people don't seem to mind, some people do, as for me I can't resist talking about my experience and what it means to me.
I admit, I question my purpose. This is the first month I've ever attempted daily entries and at times I've struggled, at times I've loved it and I imagine at this point in time I'll continue on.
I enjoyed this entry and will go peek at some of the links you added. You're back and honestly I think thats all that really matters~

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

I just blog about my little life--things that I find interesting, annoying, quirky, art related and the day to day challenges that i meet. I keep my regular blog more art/creativity focused.
I have to admit I get tired of reading (or basically looking at) blogs that just are long ads for other blogs. I have only one friend who does it well, and he is hilarious and points you to interesting places.
But I would rather make a small post, or read a small post from someone, a personal bit, some thought, and that's it.
Number of words, number of hits, does not equal interest and quality.
Just write.
Don't worry about the rest.

Kelly (conversemomma) said...

I think reflection and blogging are often polar opposites for most. Do you know that I just published a paper on meta-cognition, as it applies to teaching students to read. I have also felt meta-cognition could revolutionize education. I believe it could revolutionize blogging too, but reflection involves taking a big fat look at yourself, and not many bloggers are actually willing to strip it down if it means they lose their cool points with the crowd. Gah, blogging is burning me out, lately. Glad you are here, writing, thinking, being.