31 August 2011

whither the blog

I guess as time passes the act of blogging diminishes in significance. It was useful when we travelled to Italy in 2010 and 2011 to have the blogs unmese (one month) and duemesi (Italian for two months) - valuable for keeping in touch with family and friends at the time, also of great value in supporting later recollection.

I had earlier 'blogged' before there were resources on the web for doing it easily, this remains my best record from those earlier times.

I had begun recording life via the web when it was important in 2000-2001 to keep people informed of my wife Margaret's wellbeing when she was being overwhelmed by a brain tumour. That experience led on to my hosting site 'aplaceof.info' hosting this collection of brain tumour resources I wrote several years ago.

I have used that hosting site, located at www.ipower.com, for a variety of other community projects some far away. I have also used subfolders of aplaceof.info to express some views, such as these. And it remains useful to build web pages for particular needs.

Along the way, it became clear that a web presence for community needed several vectors:

  1. a web site, which at best should be a static, easily encompassed calling card with background information. Web sites are not simple to conceive and design, and it becomes very mucky when you change them a lot. They are not the best means for recording news. Research has shown that people 'like' or 'dislike' web sites in fractions of a second, so in a fraction of a second you must grab the reader.
  2. a blog, now so easy with this blogger technology and others, which lends itself to the writing of the record as it happens. This record becomes of accumulated value over time IF you put good labels on every substantive entry, so you can track not only the chronological record, but mention of issues, places and people over time. 
  3. An email group, for private exchanges between members of a community, with email group hosts like yahoo and gmail offering huge free resources for holding files and photos, etc. This email group has been a very valuable group for hundreds, since I set it up in 2000.

Much has changed in the very recent past, however, with the emergence of Facebook and Twitter, where a whole new world of social interaction has begun and continues to evolve. I don't go there, however, as I value my privacy more than seems relevant to Facebook or Twitter, and I prefer reflective communication to brief passing utterances. I don't have time, if I am to paint, photograph and get the novel back on the rails. My apprehension is that those social media may tend to diminish individual creativity. The blog remains a different form of expression. Yes, there are trite blogs out there but it is inherent in this format that one write some substance. As it is inherent in the putting of labels on a blog entry that one gets to consider if one has said anything at all.

For the moment, I go back to the garden in spring. I must provide photos of my approach to edible landscaping, in a permaculture design.
Permaculture as a design system deals primarily with the ... need to establish plant systems for our own use on the least amount of land we can use for our existence.
My own view is that this can be done with a high degree of aesthetic concern and content, to build surroundings which are fun and uplifting, amusing and comfortable, personally reassuring. It is remarkable how, as we take a relatively small space and build within it smaller spaces, with passage from one to the next as surprise, how much larger and attractive all the space becomes... we can bring personal landscape to a scale where we can speak quietly and interact warmly with each other and our surrounds.