The one where the space-blog continuum almost gets disrupted.
I’ve posted and written about many things but none have a hit the nerve that my recent posting about the future of blog linking (aka the future of blog cliques) seems to have.
Firstly, thanks to everyone who commented, I did read every comment, and decided to post a little synopsis of the ‘findings’ (Note that I’m not claiming this to be scientific… I’m not that daft).
Putting aside the calls for me to organise some Scottish meets (which I may well do, one in Glasgow, one in Edinburgh… probably), one theme that appeared was the deliberate choice of many people to try and break their social and geographical constraints via the web. I do the same, hoping to get a glimpse into life elsewhere on the planet by reading about other’s experiences. Yes, it is a second hand method that will never be as rich as visiting the place in question, but the one thing the internet has brought is more opportunity to at least try and understand how life works in other countries, cultures, and social groups.
Another theme that was obvious was the (almost unconscious?) grouping by… social education/situation/class? that has evolved. I’m sure a greater mind than I could find some evidence of a self imposed class system, and I’m sure that a similar effect has long since been proven in real life situations (“morons hang out with morons” if you like), but it is very obvious. The evidence is there for all to see. (This thought, and a comment about the ‘Kevin Bacon effect of blogrolls’ made me wonder about pulling together a list of the Top 10 blogrolled sites… but I didn’t. Not yet anyway).
Most people have a few sites in their blogroll that break any rules or formulas that could be devised, call it cultural curiosity (cause we all likes alliterations) if you like, but I think it’s more simple than that. It’s the one world syndrome. The internet has probably done more for that than anyone thought possible. On any given day, I can chat to people from anywhere in the world (Ok Ok, anywhere in the world that has the money and infrastructure to support internet usage, unfortunately I don’t expect to be chatting to someone from a shanty town in Chad anytime soon – but that’s a different issue, and a damn sight more important too). I have friends in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and Tokyo. Without the internet I wouldn’t even know these people existed.
So, to clique or not to clique?
As others have pointed out, human nature lends itself to naturally formed groupings. The interaction and cause of these is a complex mix comprising educational, social, geographical, and psychological aspects. Not every link (both virtual via a hypertext click and mental via a common personality factor) needs to be in place for a grouping to begin, and equally every link is not necessarily part of a grouping. As for geographical grouping, well it’s too obvious and too limiting, I think, to ever be the main cause for a link between sites and people. Comfort in familiarity is probably a more pressing factor, albeit subconsciously, for most of us… although I think I’m heading off into self-affirmation land with this particular train of thought (which has long since come off the tracks and started it’s own little cross country run).
Of course this is all flawed to start with as I’m basing my thoughts and findings on MY blogroll… so I guess it’s a self-perpetuating issue that’s discussing itself… again.