When asked to put together a multi-layered header for my blog, I knew this was going to be a challenge. Despite encouraging words that this is just like making a collage, I found that this sort of confidence comes from knowing how to use a computer the way one can use their fingers. Also I don’t like making collages, with or without my fingers. Needless to say, this was a double challenge of both creatively putting together a picture that I felt would help orient the vibe of my blog, and being done with image-editing technology. Before I start, I wanted to say first and foremost that this was above all else a fun experience.
Secondly, I want to say a special thank you to our teacher Mr. Tramell, and his ‘blog’ tutorials, clearly posted to help us reserve sanity.
I suppose my biggest difficulty with technology is that I’m trying to figure how to accomplish something without knowing how things work down to the basics of intricacies. So when a veteran of the field might bump into a problem where, say, their image won’t upload, they can go about to finding out what exactly is wrong, what they missed. When you don’t know what your doing, you can end up clicking the same two things “for the fiftieth goddamn time” and not understand why it isn’t working. This is because you have no idea what the problem is. Still a little bit, or a lot, of probing tends to give us the desired result, sometimes without us even knowing what we did. Much like a primitive intelligence banging a rock against another to produce a desired result.
This sort of idiocy helps define my blog. The trial and error mixed with feelings of cluelessness is what I can only imagine the first humans were experiencing when slamming rocks together to find the fire inside. It makes you think about those cries of success and pride you feel – so did the homo erectus jump and grunt when the few sparks caught flame in the tinder. What better way to describe my blog than teaching a monkey language?
In Stephen Duncombe’s “Zines”, the popular form of alternate expression is given an explanation towards it’s significance, and how it taps into the very human nature of our desire to connect. The Zines are seen as a way to reach out to others; to share and connect through an idea that isn’t popular enough to publish. Understandably, if the heart of the zine is to connect with others over unpopular opinions and interests, we can see why the publication of a zine is scorned by the so called “underworld” from which zines were created. I found this most interesting about the significance of the zine. From what I can see, the purpose of the zine is a double edged sword; it seeks to reach out and act as a voice for its creator, and it distributes ideas that are unpopular. As soon as that voice finds enough of an audience to be published, it is too popular of an opinion to be using a zine in the first place. An interesting paradox.
This strikes a similar chord in the blogging world. Originally created as a way to express yourself to an audience of potentially, well, the world, blogging’s nature is heavily rooted in opinion. It had the ability to send out your “zine” to an audience bigger than you could every hope for.
The least stale of blogs are the ones that have refreshing, different opinions on matters than what is spewed by the mainstream. Like the zine, a blog can understandably lose it’s edge once they go mainstream. While it was the purpose of the blogger to find an audience for their voice, it was the intention of the reader to find an unpopular opinion to empathize with, or at least appreciate. Once the blogger starts being supported by the constructs it is meant to oppose, the readers lose appreciation, and the blogger loses their audience. There’s a fine line to balance on, where the blogger achieves maximum popularity, while remaining discreetly unnoticed. An exclusive club loses its appeal once it stops being so exclusive. This is a weird reaction from web users. Essentially, it seems they search out for things unpopular or untouched, much like a cyber-hipster, but the truth of it is much clearer when we look at it through the small-big world of zines.
(Don’t worry he can handle this, he’s part of the meme avant-garde)
Setting up this blog has been perhaps the most frustrating 30 minutes I’ve spent in awhile. I suppose that starting a proper blog is like learning most new things; a pain in the ass when you start, but slowly everything starts to fall together. To be quite honest, I haven’t even finished setting up this blog yet, I’m just using this post to distract me from the frustrations of picking the right theme, and getting these damn pages to show up.
I understand, a successful blog requires one to sell themselves to the anonymous face of the internet. Bob Dunn’s article on “5 Interior Design Tips to Make Your WordPress Blog User-Friendly” spells that out easily enough. I’ve never been a fan of the idea of trying to impress people with pretty pictures and flashy tags, but in this day and age with information being so readily available at our fingertips, what choice do we have? I need to learn from the ground up, and despite this blogs shortcomings, it’s a work in progress.
There’s nothing like following in the footsteps of thousands before you. That mix of not knowing what the hell you are doing, coupled with the feeling in the back of your mind that so many have done this before you, and some even excel at it. Not a very positive mindset, I know. Still, a challenge is a challenge and a negative outlook on our problems solves nothing. Looking at the bright side, so many have done this, why shouldn’t I be able to? Instead of counting how many more footprints I have to follow after, perhaps I should be appreciative of the footprints leading me in the first place.
I swear to god though, if these pages don’t publish…
(armandocabba.com…I get the feeling this isn’t theirs either)