Friday, January 14, 2005

How far can "blog" stretch?

Rune Røsten of Dagbladet.no writes about freewayblogger.com. This is a group that states you can "blog a road".

What they mean is
Here's how it works:
When you put a sign on the freeway people will read it until someone takes it down.
Depending on its size, content and placement it can be seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

So you write your message on a large piece of cardboard, and put it up on the road.

This is, obviously, not blogging as we know it. If they had then put in the requirement: "take a picture of the sign and post it on this blog" we could talk about freeway blogging. But the fact that they call it blogging without any kind of online publishing except for the initial initiative is interesting, as this indicates that the word "blogging" is about to change meaning dramatically.

From "posting online in a public journal," it changes into: "Writing a statement and make it visible and available to a large group of strangers." I can see how this drift can happen. Over the last year the focus on blogging in US media has highlighted the free expression, the political statement and the random viewers. The discussion has been less focused on the meaning of blogging to the online culture, and more on the effect of blogging as a political tool and an open, free channel.

And so putting up a poster on a freeway may become blogging. Not the way I would have used this word, but definitely an interesting twist.

2 comments:

two_dishes said...

I have a non-computer based blog example too.
Especially from the most original definition of weblog as just being a log of links and URLs.

My mom has a habit of clipping newspaper articles. It's way more than I could ever want to read. She clips 2 or 3 a week. Several times a month she mails an envelope of these newspaper clippings to me. Sometimes she encloses a photograph from her camera. Often there is absolutely no handwritten letter. It really is just a log of all that she reads and finds interesting, hence a weblog from someone with no computer and therefore no URL's.

Torill said...

A very interesting example, and it exemplifies how the word "blog" has taken on a much wider meaning than the phenomenon itself.

What you describe as a weblog on paper without links becomes a backwards definition, as what your mother sends you isn't a web log, but simply a log, a log of her interesting things and her life. It is that activity which has given name to the activity of web logging - blogging - which is why it is so strange that the word "blog" now takes over for a lot of activities that had perfectly good names before this.

Thank you for the interesting example :)