.COM vs .BLOG“…with a .com, a comments section ceases to become the reason why you’re there and becomes a relatively dispensable opportunity for others to add to one’s observations. All you need to know is that other .coms are being equally versatile as opposed to being part of communities where such others do not exist.
But honestly now. What’s wrong with a xxx.blogspot.com, yyy.vox.com, zzz. Wordpress.com as opposed to xyz.com?
Does it change my content in any way? Does it change who I am? Or perhaps we should ask this another way. Would I change my content in any way? Would I change who I am?
When you put the meaning of the two together, it translates to, ‘would the association between the experiences that come from doing what I want to do and the community wherein it is done impact on what I do and what I become thereafter?’
To be a part of a community brings about expectations and induces varying degrees of conformity on the part of the ‘blogger’ for the fulfillment of the said expectations. At the core of this is the desire for self-validation. The need to know that we exist, and all that makes up the ‘I’ and which comprises the facets of our existence is worthy of recognition and interaction. And here is where the pressures to conform mounts.
Let’s not forget that the entry of the juvenile into the mainstream of social discourse; the ease with which ill-thought through ‘rants’ and ‘analyses’ may be hurled into cyberspace; the sheer numerousness of this yet-to-know-any-better sector of humanity; the degree of validation received by them by similar minds by way of ‘hits’ and ‘blogstar awards’ that basically indicates that they are great just the way they are, imposes a significant standard on what is ‘cool’ and what isn’t. Hence, we see awards being given for accounts of misadventures in the kitchen to personal experiences of a prostitute, and accolades lauding the quality of politically inclined blogs for not bothering about the world but simply focusing on their own national interests.
Perhaps, in part, the low intellectual and perspectival standards set for bloggers is an attempt to include the young whom are more inclined to act with immediacy as opposed to giving priority to humility, education and reflection prior to expression. But this is great news for The Corporation as the validation of the juvenile as ‘adult’ or significant enables the production of goods and services that were previously reserved for adults (fashions, pop culture, etc), bestowing upon them that degree of recognition that reduces their self-doubting tendencies, and thus renders fertile their ability to mindlessly imbibe trends and conform to the majority – both required to turn the individual into a billboard-abiding consumer.
A brief history....
First we had an open or non-familial blogging platform where just about every individual could ‘post’ her/is thoughts with a click of a ‘publish’ button, with a still moist and recently discarded pacifier in the background. Then came the less tech-savvy older generation whom found this to be most conducive for a virtual cuppa-cum-banter after a hard day’s work. With the former, they didn’t know better. With the latter, they didn’t want to know better. Enclaves were formed with ‘myspaces’, ‘voxers’, ‘facebooks’ and other whatnots that enabled the creation of self-absorbed virtual nations with global validation of like-minded persons. Hot topics included that latest concert, a fluffy pet, what one had for dinner, work-gripes, fetish for mobile phones, holiday pictures, or, at best, one’s own national issues with complete disregard for whatever that was happening in the rest of the world unless it was a hot topic in the .coms.
Its not that such topics are a problem, but when one just moves from handling a significant issue in a trivial fashion, before moving on to a trivial issue; or moves from the self-absorption it takes to just talk about oneself to using other's observations to, again, talk about oneself; or waltzes between one's personal issues to one's national ones; than we can begin to recognise the various manifestations of self-absorbed venture that 'blogging' has turned out to be. With the validation received by trite and trivial comments, instead of the net bringing the world together, it gives them a reason to be a part whilst being self-absorbedly apart.
So the message was clear. No .com cosmopolitan-mindedness was going to be much of a hit, or be afforded ‘hits’ in the bloggingsphere. It seemed that there was a pervasive recognition amongst them of their relative inferiority, and hence their shunning any blogger who might be .com in perspective if not in web address - particularly in reference to more insightful .coms and not those which might appeal to the 10year olds amongst or within us. Overtime, I couldn’t help but notice ‘posts’ petering out in the few blogs with versatile interests and intelligent views that I came across – and with their comments sections providing unobstructed hunting ground for tumbleweed. They either didn’t cater to predominant interests, their articles weren't as brief as the lyrical produce of some overpaid singer, or failed to touch on issues that would enable others to use it as an opportunity to talk about themselves.
‘Pro’ bloggers came out of the woodwork sermonising about how one might be a 'blogstar'. The steps to the heaven of social prominence was simple.
Focus on one issue.
Comment on other blogs so that they might visit yours.
Which can be paraphrased with,
Don’t inflict on others the tedium of thought.
Dwell on one area so that singularly minded individuals might find your site relevant.
Constant gratification must be supplied.
Validate others as significant even though they might be focusing on the trivial or trivialising that which is significant.
With this, the integrity of the .coms was maintained. They were allowed to monopolise versatility whilst the proletarian class of 'bloggers' were kept self-absorbed by the young and tired. 'Pro bloggers', whom are basically people who have been successful in reaping the rewards from 'monetizing' their site, even went on to suggest that bloggers get .coms so that their site might 'sound professional' and be taken seriously whilst failing to complement this advice with emphasis on producing intelligent and prolific content. That did not matter as the focus was on getting the most out of the status quo with an intelligent design, name, and build. In this, is yet another illustration of perceptions of self-inferiority and competition amongst the blogging classes that refuses to recognise the potentials of themselves to be more than they have been taught to recognise themselves as by the work and 'pop' milieux. In this, an 'intelligent' design and 'intelligent' approach basically meant catering to and attracting an unintelligent mass.
As a result...
So then we have intelligent and versatile people in blogging communities being ignored. Being a part of a community whilst being valued on the basis of how one can pander to existing communal interests, or on the basis of how much one values them by way of giving their pictures of hamsters, tiramisus, latest mobile phones, trivial observations, comments, so that they might consider your relatively significant views on matters of relatively greater significance. So what option is there for them but to just withdraw from one’s blog spot, go back to their own mundane lives, and cast aside those intellectual potentials that might be developed further from expression and interaction with intelligent others. So the intellectual potentials of the mass of bloggers diminishes greatly and their relative self-absorption and perspectival docility is maintained by the inbreeding of like-minded individuals.
But the other option is to go .com. In that, expectations that might come from being part of an online little-blog-on-the-prairie community ceases. One becomes part of the communicative population that transmits information for its own sake. One is not disabled by being part of a community and being ignored by it at the same time - for one does not expect validation from the family down the corridor as one might expect from one’s own. Hence, if the family is too absorbed in their tiramisus or banging on about their latest mobiles, holiday events and so on, and one wants to aspire to being more than a self-absorbed and trivialised individual, one gets rid of the family and the prairie of families altogether.
Prefixes are like surnames. i.e., .vox, .sg, .uk. Take on the surname and you take on the expectation that the adopted family validate you as a member of the community with attention, whilst simultaneously validating their standards by being a member of the community. In that, expectations go both ways and produces either your conformity, or their withdrawing their attention when you fail to do so. Given that blogging is generally a self-absorbed venture, the standards that emerge does little to make much of one’s potential to be anything more than the average .etc. And if you don’t conform, you risk becoming little more than a .whatever.
It is a matter of association, as .coms, and especially focus-versatile sites like news sites, are generally viewed as community-independent. Putting aside the profit-motive, they do what they do because that’s what they do and it needs to be done. Of course, some bloggers, having received lots of ‘hits’ for their short skirts and pretty faces, or what they got up to during their 1025th one-night stand, might go .com to distinguish themselves from the peasantry of adoring bloggers, and thus bask in the hallowed glow of the historically and relatively upper class of .coms even if their IQ does not go beyond a pair of binary values. Whilst the traditional .coms might get their kicks from doing what has to be done or revenue from ads, the .blog turned .com is validated by hits.
But for the intelligent and prolific mind that refuses to allow the low standards of most blogs out there to determine their own development, the .com bestows independence and disengagement from any online community that can deter one from going beyond accepted standards. With a .com, a comments section ceases to become the reason why you’re there and becomes a relatively dispensable opportunity for others to add to one’s observations. All you need to know is that other .coms are being equally versatile as opposed to being part of communities where such others do not exist.