Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Blog Paper Proposal

Anyone who reads this site with any regularity will know my position on transparency (I’m all for it). With that said, I’m currently working on a proposal to write a paper on blogging for a cultural studies journal. As I was wrapping up the short proposal I really felt like some feedback would be helpful and who better to turn to for feedback than all of you? So read this and let me know what you think. Feel free to suggest additions/subtractions, tell me what you like/don’t like or just give me your general thoughts. Anything would be greatly appreciated. If for whatever reason you’d rather email me, you can do that too. Just use the handy contact form. Thanks.

Blogging Paper Proposal

This essay will examine blogging as a renewal of many of the ideals of
oral society. Blogging’s democratic nature and conversational style
hearkens back to the oral traditions discussed by Plato and Ong, standing
in opposition to the authority that has been placed on the written word in
the modern age. What is more, the premium placed on debate and opinion
means the lessons of blogging could form the building blocks to a return
of public discourse.

While “blogging” as it is referred to now may or may not exist ten years
from now, its messages will undoubtedly resonate in future generations
as they take hold in other areas of communication. With that said, what
are the likely effects of this huge shift in communication technology
and style on a culture that has long relied on traditional modes of
authoritative communication to deliver messages?

Business, and more specifically marketing, seems like a great place to
examine those impacts, for in many ways blogging is the antithesis to
business communication. While businesses carefully monitor messages,
blogs are generally free form and open. It’s a battle between
transparency and opacity and examining what happens when these two
worlds collide provides many fascinating angles. How does the business
world deal with a shift in culture to where people expect communication
to come in a straightforward fashion, rather than hidden behind a
smokescreen of press releases and advertising copy?

Grounding the business arguments will be sources ranging from the
Cluetrain Manifesto which purports that “markets are conversations” to a
blog like Scobleizer, written by Microsoft employee Robert Scoble.

While there will be a business/marketing angle to the piece, it is by
all means a look at communication history, a suggestion that blogging
bears certain resemblances to oral culture and an argument that there
are lessons of blogging that can’t be ignored. Once that idea has been
set up, however, I think it’s valuable to examine what the effects of
such a huge shift in the way we communicate could be on a pillar of
society like business, which is so rooted in literacy, opacity and
authority. Business, in this case, then acts as a kind-of guinea pig to
examine the larger effects of blogging on twenty-first century culture.

July 11, 2005