I’m a geek, I know. But I just loved this post on “blogging restructures consciousness?” by Ben Vershbow at if:book. I mean really, really loved it for a lot of geeky reasons, not the least of which is that it models everything I love about blogging. It’s a topic that I have a deep affinity for and probably would never connect to in physical space or through traditional publishing. It’s a topic that resonates with my own search…does blogging literally change who we are? It’s a post that synthesizes a lot of different ideas from disparate sources, all linked of course. And it’s a post that challenges my brain; these ideas are just out of my reach without doing some mental stretching. Ben’s obviously crafted this essay with a great deal of thought from a bloggers’ perspective.
And in terms of the ideas, mull on this a bit:
The kind of communication that he and his fellow rhetoricians have been orchestrating in recent years in the blogosphere — not to mention parallel developments elsewhere with wikis, message boards, social media, games and other inchoate forms that feel as much like public spaces as documents — has a speed and plasticity that approaches oral communication. A blog post isn’t so much a finished opus as a lump of clay that readers and other bloggers collectively shape through comments and discussion. Are these new technologies of the word (and beyond the word) restructuring consciousness?
And this thought provoking description from the blog that spurred Ben’s post:
After two and a half years of virtually non-stop blogging, my perception of myself as a distinct individual has dramatically waned. My interior monologue has virtually disappeared. I no longer have aesthetic-based epiphanies, and I almost never concern myself with examining internal passions or emotions anymore. Blogging has not just changed the activities in which I engage–the activities in which I engage in order to be a successful blogger have profoundly altered the way my mind operates and the way I conceptualize my agency in relation to others. In effect, I do not exist in the same way I once existed.
Whoa. Now I know this is a guy who blogs 65-hours a week…extreme blogging, anyone? Even so, as I read the rest of that post, I wonder how my own 10-20 hours a week of blogging and writing (if not more) have transformed my own existence…
I would say that it’s not the blogging per se, but that in/through blogging Bowers has experienced more “flow” experiences than he did previously, which, according to Csikszentmihalyi, have complexified, or restructured, his being.