Blogging, audience, oral tradition and the difference

“audiences”

But for all its pretensions to be an extension of this everyday orality, blogging is instead a) textual and b) radically public. In the blogosphere there’s no possibility of controlling audience boundaries and the numerous voices I use to speak to those many audiences who don’t overhear my conversations with the other audiences. Blogging requires me to choose one way of expressing my thoughts on a subject, one persona, for all possible audiences once and for all time. The fact that I can later elaborate or change my mind or my tone pales in comparison to the massive reduction of that oral multiplicity of audience and voice I described above to a single text which is not only archived–thus welcoming exegeses to which an oral conversation is rarely subjected–but which all potential audiences anywhere in the world can read upon its first posting. There is a rather severe sense in which blogging makes impossible any flexible, modulated negotiation among audiences; there is only the One Audience, the Mass Audience, and it imposes a good deal of constraint on how you speak and what you decide to say at all.

I post this because somewhere I just added to the already stale notion that emails and weblogs are somewhat of a revival of oral tradition. Turbulent Velvet (pseudonym) writes on the refreshing ufobreakfast. There are comments on the site, and there of course the more usual idea that this is a conversation is defended.

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