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Rettburg Readings

From Bards to Blogs


Rettburg has managed to me that blogging has brought us right back around to Plato’s idyllic use of discussion. He makes good points and good comparisons; Rettburg’s logic seems sound to me. I bite.

Although the irony of Plato’s writings warning against writing is not lost on me, their message makes sense. Disseminating (preaching, to be simple) takes the value out of speech. If speech is to be considered an art, speaking at people instead of to them is a violation of the practice and diminishes its value.

Rettburg makes a good point when he writes “With every media shift there have been sceptical voices lamenting the loss of whatever characteristics the previously dominant medium was perceived as promoting” (p. 44).  No matter what is considered classic or respectable, new methods will be introduced, and there will be criticism. But only new media shifts can determine what is traditional as new ones continue to be developed.

What could have been considered vulgar about the publication of newspapers when it first arrived? Or the internet itself? Or magazines, or even fiction writing?

Blogs, Communities and Networks

The social network supported by blogs is unique in that is not a network made to interact with family or friends, but rather to spread media around to others (who aren’t necessarily even acquaintances).

I like the commentary on the fact that all forms of social media become cliquish, and fall prey to the “power law.” This is easy to see in almost everything media-related, if taken broadly enough. Only popular actors have enough viewers to become more one of the top celebrities; only popular newspapers have enough readers and funding to publish into larger regions; only popular blogs get enough attention to become the most popular. It’s a vicious, hard-to-break-into cycle.

He also discusses our online lives in this chapter. He compares expressing ourselves with the pressure of colliding social spheres. Do privacy setting detract from the point of social networking?






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