Friday, February 6, 2009

a word of explanation for the puzzled

Some blogs are public, not much different in nature from an opinion column in a newspaper or magazine. Some blogs are truly private. (This one is obviously not, since you are reading it without special permission.)

A recent book, Here Comes Everybody, by Clay Shirky (2008), points out that, in a break from past patterns of communication, much of what is on "Web 2.0" -- blogs, pages on social networks, etc. -- is private communication (and some, I would add, is introspection) written for a target audience of one or a few, but published where all can see. There are imperfect precedents, for instance, a personal diary or a ship's log being published later, or an interview being broadcast to an audience. But for the most part, this phenomenon is new, and, being new, can be confusing.

So here is an explanation of this blog, and several others like it that are being created around this time:
It's an assignment (and will refer to other assignments) in a class,"23 Things," given by a library to its employees, exploring various aspects of Web 2.0. The target audience is other members of the class. However, because of the value held by librarians and teachers that information should be shared, anyone is welcome to read and learn. And in the spirit of the mixed-up mash of public and private that is one of the salient features of the new internet culture, it will also contain information that is of more general interest. (Warning: there may be, due to the topic, some navel-contemplation). It may even continue as a "real" blog after the class is over.


  1. Yes, I am always shocked at just how private some of the information my teenage daughter's friends publish on the internet. I think this is going to come back to haunt many of them in the future. But, often people only learn by making mistakes. :-)

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  3. The line between what will be seen as "TMI" and what will be seen as "antisocially secretive" is still being drawn in this brave new world. I've noticed that, in the absence of clear etiquette rules, I swing between self-censoring and what-the-hey bravado, even concerning my rather dull and prudish life. -- Will I seem to silly if I admit to being a fan of Pinky and the Brain? Should I add "Nose Pickers from Outer Space" to my Visual Bookshelf?
    (Or deleting this comment and re-posting it to fix a typo.)

  4. oh, boogers -- just found another typo -- line should read "...seem to be silly..."