Friday, November 19, 2004

morphologies of attention

Is anybody studying whether attention moves in patterns -- waves, pointillism, or building cumulatively, or some sequence of such -- and what effect this can have on vectors of influence?

E.g., while the concerned citizens of the US appear to be resigned to four more years of White House Ecstatics, Terrorist Faith Healers, Crystal Children Economists and more, others, poor saps, seem unable to let the election thing go. So there are days of linking and pointing and commentary, then from out of nowwhere come entire directories of links, mini libraries, overviews, round ups, and so forth, e.g.,
Does their existence make a difference? Can we look back and see how and where and in what form net attention has had a discernable shaping hand? Is there a critical mass of shock and awe, or of skepticism, or of just plain disgust?

I don't know who studies things like this, if anyone. We hear famous bloggers predict that blogging will do all sorts of things - I believe at one point it was even rumored to be going to influence the recent presidential election. But the people who thought that don't seem to be focused on it much now. Looks like we're back to blogging about how important blogging will be in more diffuse ways.


Blogger Juke said...

Blogging now will influence blogging in the future immeasurably, the cumulative force of blogging today as it moves forward - gaining momentum and inertia from the increasing weight of blogging tomorrow, and Monday, will create a gravitational pull, which will in turn create a stronger gravitational pull, which will cause more bloggers to blog about blogging, and that will result in an exponentially increasing accuracy of posted and commented reflections of blogging, on blogging, by bloggers, and commenters, some new some old some young, some extremely distasteful, but mostly just people like you and me everybody else, doing this, and then doing it some more, until the blogging singularity is reached, that moment in/outside time when the reflective aspect of blogging, its semantic albedo, exceeds its epistemological resource, its mirror-input sucked in more quickly than it can be generated online, thus creating a kind of vacuum of...

11/21/2004 12:36 AM  
Blogger Juke said...

...calligraphy and font and XTML, void of content, shrieking keyboards beginning to stutter on their own, books beginning to lean and fall and skitter toward humming scanners, and all the words in the world flowing toward the wormhole that was once blogging, blogging as it was for a few months in 2002. And a week or two before the November election.

11/21/2004 12:36 AM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

And maybe that's how it is ... the patterns move and shifts when there are rocks in the stream, and the rest of the time the millions of voices are the particles of water in the river of thought and attention.

As rivers have and will shape the landscape of the earth, so maybe will words, text, html, links, blogs and wikis play a role is shaping the mindscapes of human societies ?

I think we're all quick to analyze linearly, decry anything other than what we perceive as raw truth .. and for me my truth is that we don't really know, or understand, what individual human attentions and imaginations will and can do when linked together.

Sure history and some of the fundamental probably-unchanging or very very slowly changing nature of the human condition offer us some extremely useful perspective, but 6 billion today as opposed to 500 million thousands of years ago, with planes, televisions, computers and hyperlinks as opposed to footpaths, candles and oral transmission, ear to ear of information ... has a chance of creating different vectors of influence ... and action. What I believe, fwiw.

11/21/2004 12:22 PM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

Ooops. forgot to add this.

What I mean is that I do think blogging is important, and is likely to continue to grow in importance as a form of influence. Why, just the other day Janus said ....

11/21/2004 12:24 PM  
Blogger Juke said...

Any serious discussion of blogging should perforce include a capsule history of Jorn Barger's efforts and subsequent alienation from that amorphous landscape.
He had one before he coined the word.
It's like "hippies".
What that was already existed, and people were getting uncomfortable because they could tell something was happening but they couldn't name it.
Some journalist from Look magazine came out to the Haight in San Francisco in '66 and dug around and decided that was going to be it, so then when the story broke nationally finally people had something to call it. "Hippie" had been a jazz put -down of wannabe hipsters.
It was the beginning of the end of what that was, as many were quick to realize. Not that naming blogs changed much, but certainly lots of writers-ahout-blogging insist on their own (necessarily limited) experience as definitional.
What it is is bigger than anyone can say, it's too atomized and it's growing too fast, and it's too full of information to be pinned down in any final way. It's alive, a new thing. Mutant... Help! It's eating me!

11/22/2004 3:20 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Before we have any idea what is going on, we know something is going on. Babies know there's a world out there. Later on, they think they've mastered it because they have words. I am sympathetic to thinking blogging has potentialities beyond what has been thought, but all the thought about blogging, about what it is and should be, as if it had reached some plateau, some stasis, could tend to limit that which is being described. That shift - from description to prescription, and onwards christian soldiers to proscription - the bollocks of that.

11/22/2004 8:26 AM  
Blogger Jon Husband said...

Amen ... so to speak.

11/22/2004 8:21 PM  
Blogger Juke said...

Amen so too say I. Exactly.
Like speech resolving from vocables, with its earliest utilitarian boundaries expanding to the most arcane Castalian exegeses, so to speak, as we watched. Over the years. Speech hasn't delimited, no reason to expect prosthetic speech to, either.

11/30/2004 11:12 PM  

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