Monday, July 5, 2010

Noo Rool: No YooToob...

Well, that's not quite right. That was an old rule at the old Medley, one I managed to hold onto for a year or so. I believe my blogging there slowly went downhill after I abandoned the rule. I'm reconstituting it here. In just about every other blog you go to, the main page is loaded with video clips. I'll have none of that here.

Video clips are useful in some ways, but that medium and the printed word medium require the viewer/reader to engage them in two separate ways. It's a lot like television versus books, respectively. When you read a book, you have to devote at least enough attention to its contents to make sense of what you're reading. As you gradually work your way through the pages, assuming it's a good enough story, you tend to become more absorbed in it. That's what the printed word does -- it compels you to focus your attention, it compels you to think. And an interesting, salubrious side-effect of this is, you tend to block out things that might distract you from your reading. Personally, when I'm reading a book, or even writing a blog post, there is no music playing, no television in the background. Much as I love music, I don't listen to it all the time. In fact, I probably listen to it a lot less than most people, if only because I'm doing something other than chores at the time, and I don't care much for background noise. I like to concentrate on what I'm doing. Books encourage that.

Then there's television. The ultimate distraction. All it requires you to do is sit and stare at it, or, at the very least, have it on in the background while you're doing something else. I know people who turn on the TV when they get up in the morning and leave it on until they go to bed at night, even though they only watch it for three or four hours of the day. Often, there's a radio on as well -- and that's for background noise, too, as if television wasn't sufficient for that purpose. Makes me wonder what they're trying to block out of their minds. I'm glad I don't live with people who do these things. That environment would drive me nuts.

Now, I don't have anything against visual media per se. The Internet is sort of a cross between TV and books -- you read words on a screen. I love the Internet. It's just that when blogs started out, and in Usenet before them, they were largely extensions of the printed word. As such, they compelled you to engage them the same way books compelled you. To pay attention, to think. Blogs had a power they no longer have today when they were all words. Pictures played a small hand in the diminishing of this power, but it was moving images that did the real, lasting damage, in exactly the way television did lasting damage to books.

So... no video clips here. I'm not trying to be an A-list blogger here, nor am I trying to be a purist. I'm just trying to figure out where I lost my way on the old Medley. It has little to do with blogging, and just about everything to do with reorienting myself. I'm trying to do that in many other spheres as well, and lately, I've made noticeable progress.

Thought I'd apply it to blogging, too...

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