"....The truth is out there."
-- Dr. Jerome Jackson, 2002 (... & Agent Fox Mulder)
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."
-- Arthur Schopenhauer
Saturday, February 16, 2008
-- Nature Blog Network (OT) --
Another off-topic post today. Recently, at her blog, Julie Zickefoose wrote about how joining the newly-created "NatureBlogNetwork" affected her blogging. The post has evoked a lot of comments and struck a chord with many of us who joined that Network. Rather than eat up more of her space on the topic I'll venture some additional thoughts/rambles here:
In some ways running a blog is a very UNselfish labor of love --- putting out some bit of verbiage day-after-day for a sometimes tiny audience, for no or very little compensation. But, in other ways, I've always viewed blogging as a huge self-indulgence. I'm reluctant to indulge in some of the further contrivances of blogging like carnivals and memes and groups (though I don't find any fault with those who do), but when the NatureBlogNetwork came along it seemed like a really worthy endeavor to help connect individuals, increasingly plopped in front of computer screens, back to nature. (The majority of the 'biggies' on the NatureBlogNetwork are part of the "ScienceBlogs" network, BTW; the rest of us are the also-rans.)
Though I am a birder, I've never thought of "Ivorybills LiVE!" as a 'birding' blog --- my subject is way too narrow and limited (it was originally promoted as "All Ivorybills, all the time," before I let it touch upon other topics). But even with that narrowness, I don't mind thinking of it as a 'nature' blog, because at heart, it really is about Man's relationship to nature as depicted through an iconic bird. I once commented to an acquaintance who runs a general science blog that I could never do what he does because the sheer volume of interesting science stories out there everyday would stymie me --- I'd reach the end of the day still undecided which stories to use! I'm more comfortable with a 'niche' topic that I can delve into deeply, persistently --- and more comfortable spending all day groveling, looking for something pertinent enough to use for that topic!
Some authors have written that blogs, and the Internet more generally, represent the 'dumbing down' of America ('Cliff notes' for the masses more-or-less) --- a generation coming up that will get all (or most) of its news, information, entertainment off a computer screen. There are dangers; it is a bit scary. But these great technological advances have a way of working themselves out for the best over the long haul --- evolution as applied to society and culture. When I first heard of Wikipedia I thought it was the stupidest idea I could imagine, but came to slowly realize it's benefits, and that it will get better and better over time; for all its perils it will evolve and become essential. 'Open source' is THE wave of the future, the wave of our grandchildren, and any who struggle against it are tilting at windmills. We need to monitor its progress, but also get out of its way. When every child in every nation has open internet access, the entire playing field will be leveled as never before in human history... there will be glitches and problems, but the best humanity has to offer will bubble to the surface given enough time. A few folks out there have the prescient vision to see it, and work for it; most of us just hope it is true.
Attending a science blogging conference last month, I knew I was one of the very least tech-savvy people there, but what didn't even occur to me 'til I left the building was that I was also one of the oldest people there... by far. Being surrounded by that youthful enthusiasm, energy, and idealism was infectious and heartening, a respite from my usual profound pessimism over the state of the world and my own country... a comforting flashback, in a sense, to the spirit of the 60's. Blogs are part of that future, that idealism.
Over on Julie's site, Mike Bergin, founder of the NatureBlogNetwork, wrote that he hopes his Network will introduce the "right blogs to the right people" reaching "more like-minded readers." And then he adds, "After that, we take over the world!" ....May it be so ;-)
(....and thank you Julie Z. and your wonderful commenters for inspiring this post)
I think that people were intrigued that I'd be so honest about being a craven approval hog at heart. But why write, if you aren't trying to please your readers by doing so? I don't care if you're writing gorgeous poetry or vile, hateful spew---you can't tell me you don't care what people think of it. If you make the effort to write it, you care. And by posting it, you're hoping somebody reads it. And likes it.
Ah, you've set me off again, and it's past midnight. Thank you. Keep writing, and I'll keep reading. And, in case you're wondering, I did not find this with a Google alert! Came here all by meself, lookin' for a Lord-God bird!
But per your suggestion I have linked to it now within my post for future reference.
I came from Julie's - late, I know. Browsing your site, I'm impressed. You are far more technologically advanced that I!
Julie's post on joining the NBN really hit home with many of us, didn't it? I still question whether I belong - I'm not an experienced birder, nor do I have the expertise and knowledge of many in the network. But I write about birds and life in general, hoping that someone will enjoy it. I publised a post on the same topic:
We all own a competitive heart - but need to let go of hit counters and keep doing what we do, offering our thoughts and experiences in our very own style.
Your post is wonderful.
Links to this post: