content creating, user-generating

How Orwell reminds us that blogging is just a new way of doing an old thing

we talk a lot about new behaviours and emergent trends in our industry.  so much so that we sometimes tend to forget the distinction between the behaviour and the motivation behind it.

take blogging.  the number of blogs in existence is debated in the tens of millions.  we think of it as an emergent behaviour.  it's not.  it is merely a new way of fulfilling a fundamental human need.  to communicate to the world.  we're reminded of this by the Orwell Prize who are – in a wonderfully 2.0 way of delivering pre-digital content – publishing George Orwell's diaries as a real time blog seventy years after they were written.

in the welcome to the blog, Peter Davison writes:

"In a curious way, reading what Orwell jotted down so informally as
events occurred, domestically and internationally, seventy years ago
will be far more intriguing for readers than when they are faced with
slabs of print.  Next year I hope very much that it will be possible to
mark the weeks running up to the outbreak of the Second World War … as an appropriate reminder of the awful events of what will then be seventy years ago."

whilst the need to capture and share our interpretations of the world is as old as culture, a digital world does offer significant advantages…

firstly, in a pre-digital age blogs (or diaries) would be unlikely to be published.  now we all publish by default, we're all broadcasters now (as Clay Shirky observed at the MGEITF this year "we're now in a world of publish then filter – all the filters are after the fact").  secondly, because everything we publish is tagged, the outputs of our collective interpretations begin to self-organise.  a blog isn't an isolated entry but instead an integrated part of a global conversation.

but these relatively new plus-ins to the conventional diary aside, the blog is just a new way of doing we very old thing.  every generation thinks that they invent something for the first time.  not so. 
what each generation does is develop the new technology that allows them to
fulfill fundamental human needs in new ways


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