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November 17, 2003

Comments

Dee

Thank you ; )

Raquel Recuero

Thank you for the reference! I keep discussing the subject and have a post for you also. :)))) BTW, where are the trackbacks? I'd like to make one for this post. :D

I believe that such different things have become literature, so why not weblogs? They are a tool of self-expression, just like paper and pen or typewriter. So they can also allow literature to raise.

cheryl

Actually, this will be helpful for my essay, so thank you!

Anne

Funny this should come up . . . I just referenced a paper I wrote in high school on Stephen King, in which I asserted that what we define as literature today was in all probability the historical equivalent of pop culture. Essentially, the works that survived and became "literature," like Stephen King and John Grisham's works of today, were the things that were most widely read.

Considering that most current "literary" works have notoriously low press runs, while Tom Clancy, Nora Roberts, Danielle Steele, etc. have astronomical press runs, it is safe to assume that the same thing held true through time.

Blogging, however, is a horse of an entirely different color.

Fifty years from now the technology will have changed so significantly (remember Moore's Law?) that current web technology will be obsolete.

Our current pages will be dead, unless we transfer them over.

Fifty years from now I hope to have grown intellectually enough to abandon my current essays and cocktail party reports as obsolete to the person I will become.

Hence, a disposable medium.

An extension of stream of consciousness.

Pure ego, The Husband insists.

I disagree with that, but the fact remains that even the best blogs are essentially personal magazines that have the added feature of producing interactive communities.

Classifying blogs as literature is the equivalent of attaching significance to discussions at the water cooler.

The most significant feature and positive effect of blogging is that it brings together a like-minded group spread across the planet.

I have regular readers in Japan, South Africa, England, etc.

People I never would have met in real life.

And yet the web brings us all together.

Online, the world is a village.

That is what makes blogging significant -- not pretensions to the grandeur of literature.

Crawford Kilian

Anne wrote (in admirably concise Web prose):
Classifying blogs as literature is the equivalent of attaching significance to discussions at the water cooler.

The most significant feature and positive effect of blogging is that it brings together a like-minded group spread across the planet.

I have regular readers in Japan, South Africa, England, etc.

People I never would have met in real life.

And yet the web brings us all together.

Online, the world is a village.

That is what makes blogging significant -- not pretensions to the grandeur of literature.

Water-cooler discussions, though, are just another form of "orature," one of the many genres of the spoken word. Plato built his reputation on transcribing such discussions (while substituting wine for the water cooler).

And I think one could argue (well, I could argue, anyway) that one of the functions of literature is to draw together people who share an experience,,,even if it's only Americans and Britons united in their grief over the death of Little Nell, communicated via magazines in the holds of sailing ships.

On the Web, we draw people together quickly, through a different medium, but it's still the same experience.

Is blogging not literature because it lacks grandeur? Grandeur is a matter of taste, and it comes and goes with changing values. Whether we're writing literature or not, in any genre or medium, is not up to us to decide. That's the verdict of our grandchildren.

Melanie

As a professional writer (web and otherwise) and new blogger I find myself asking the question raised here quite a lot. Is blogging writing? In fact, I just posted a longish piece on this at my blog. I argue that many of the most famous blogs are being produced by people who make their living communicating ideas to large audiences - whether they be writers or the cyberelite. Blogging has produced its own market, audience and genres. I still think blogging, like so many other forms, is dependent upon the paradigm that shapes it. That's why I believe more traditional mesaures of quality govern this and other electronic forms. That paradigm has yet to fully shift.

Bill Ackerbauer

Valuable insights. I've cited "Are Blogs Literature" in a recent academic paper, "Carving out a Space for Cyberspace in the Literary Tradition."

http://hometown.aol.com/depotstorage/bloglit.html

I'm also thinking about starting a blog on the relationship between literature and songwriting. My music-related homepage (not a blog) is located at

http://hometown.aol.com/smokinbill

Bill Ackerbauer

Well, it's been a couple of weeks, and I finally did start that blog. Nobody warned me that blogging is addictive...

http://journals.aol.com/smokinbill/exmentis

Daniel L Baughman

I would disagree that today's blogs are literature. Despite many valid points that much of the mindless drivel from the past considered to be great literature today, I must call to attention the idea of permanence.

By today's standards, Blogs lack permanence. Very similar to some online literary journals, the URL could be active today only to vanish tomorrow. Also, the author could easily choose to delete their works at anytime. Are their deleted works still considered literature at the moment they cease to exist?

There is a need also to debate the credibility of blog writers. Blogs often go unedited and lack the necessary academic clout to be credible. If I was the chair of a department, determining whether a professor should become tenured, I would need to evaluate their published works. In this case, if one candidate published nothing but blogs over their career, and the other has extensive literature printed in journals, and bound volumes, I would be inclined to favor the candidate that has worked to build credibility through journals and traditional literature.

I do feel that the potential for blogs to evolve into literature one day is evident. However, until proper editing and permanence can be applied to modern blog technology, blogs will not be anything more than obtuse, doltish text.

Ramona

I wonder what age group are talking about? I teach middle school age students and blogging is a part of their lives now. Don't you think this is catching on and could be used as as start for literature? Blogging is important to them and they respect it. Shouldn't we make it an avenue for students to learn also? Sure the kids these days know technology much better than most adults, but they are not learning how to spell when they text message. Why not start blogging in an intellectual light? I think it can be good. It really depends if today's blogs are considered literature, but I would love to see that happen in the future in my classroom :)

Ember

Quite interesting topic but it may be too late to comment I suppose. But actually my comment maybe relevant because Internet changes enormously every couple of months!

Ok, my latest feelings are that BLOG is something whose power mainstream media have realized. Now it's not some unknown writers blogging but all the famous authors have blogs, so do most public and commercial broadcasters, newspapers, their journalists, columnists etc. And even the politicians and members of parliaments, Senate, celebrities and so on...

As for blog being literature, why not? Here's why. Commercial writing and blogging is converging anyway as I tried to show in the above paragraph. Moreover, many bloggers ARE converting their whole blog into books and getting it published! In fact I see there are some websites now that offer to turn your blog into a book, electronic or traditional form. If your book sells you get some percentage of profits.

At last, Now Amazon's wireless electronic book reader Kindle is here. Amazon provides same kind of services to writers, mentioned above. Amazon folks will turn their works into electronic books to be sold to kindle users. You see, it's not if blog is literature. It is literature. But how good, it is highly contextual. :-)

By the way, I wrote a post on Kindle that has great links to other reviews. It might be of some interest to readers of this post, so here is the link:

http://emberglow.wordpress.com/2007/11/29/kindle-amazons-ipod-for-books/

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