SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript"> < We Blog: From grid to network

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

From grid to network

Building off of Donna's previous post (a metaphor in iteself: am I "grid-ing" or networking?), the idea is put forth that blogging (networking) is an extension of traditional literary culture/expression. Links provided in blogs aren't wholely different from what could be termed the link's ancestor: the reference. In scholarly works we reference other authors to support our own point or prove our knowledge and authority. But how do these different forms of expression fit into these spheres of grid-like organization and networking organization?

The fictional work (or the poorly written scholarly work) seem to reflect the visual organization of some urban campuses as Donna discussed in class. It's grid-like but not complexly so. Like this:

The buildings are relatively rectangular, uncomplex, stand-alone structures. Fictional work (and again, poorly written scholarly work), like these structures, doesn't often connect to other works; it stands alone.

Moving into a complex grid organization and closer to networking there are scholarly works (and perhaps a few pieces of fiction: satirical pieces that play off previous works; stories that extend the tale of specific characters from other works). These literary peices resemble the more art deco style discussed in class. It is geometric and relatively stand-alone, but has a more complicated structure. Like this:The structure, unlike the campus structure is more complicated. Likewise, the structure of the scholarly work includes references to other authors, ideas, and studies. The ideas in the work, like the features in the architecture, are supported by other ideas or features and demonstrate a relationship.

But, blogging takes this one step further. In any paper-published work references have limitations. Most often we read the work, acknowledging the reference, but don't seek the referenced author or work out to find out more information. And, if we do, we don't likely then take that author's references and seek them out.

With blogging, though, we do. Blogging establishes a network. It lacks the geometry or balance of it's ancestral literarly forms of expression. My site might contain one link to another site, which in turn contains 3 links to other sites . . . all to the point that a blog reader may end up following a blogging trail to a distantly related idea through a series of more closely related links. I might click on a post about the latest sports game, select a link about an athelete, then a link about a recent scandal involving him, then a link about the police report, then a link about rape statistics, then a link about how to protect yourself. All of the sudden I have gone from Saturday's big game to how to be careful when out at night. It's a hypothetical, but you get the idea. I never would have done this with a book. And it happens because with blogging it is so much easier -- a simple click replaces a drive to the library and time spent searching through the stacks of books.

*Update: Crossposted at Look to the Sky


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