Blogging Footsteps

Bridge Reflection

Recently, Liz Strauss at Successful Blog asked the question How is a blog like a bridge? The question over defining blogging through metaphor has played in my subconscious for a while now after reading Darren Rouse’s post Blogging is Like. Despite the issues I had over the confusion over metaphor and simile, I found it very interesting as it links back to a whole project on blogging metaphors. A little while back I posted about a photo I took of a swan with its head dipped into the loch and the ripples circling out from it. I suggested then that that was a visual metaphor for our interactions in the blogosphere. However, after reading Liz’s post about bridges, it got me wondering about whether architecture and space might offer another way of thinking about collective blogging.

I love reading about space and spatial practices, and I’ve presented a couple of papers at academic conferences about how space functions in literary texts (which you can read more about here). One of my favourite theorists on the subject is Michel De Certeau. I want to quote you a section from a chapter in his book The Practice of Everyday Life called ‘Walking in the City’:

“The chorus of idle footsteps

Their story begins on ground level, with footsteps. They are myriad, but do not compose a series. They cannot be counted because each unit has a qualitative character: a style of tactile apprehension and kinesthetic appropriation. Their swarming mass is an innumerable collection of singularities. Their intertwined paths give their shape to spaces. They weave places together. In that respect, pedestrian movements form one of these “real systems whose existence in fact makes up the city.” They are not localized; it is rather they that spatialize. They are no more inserted within a container than those Chinese characters speakers sketch out on their hands with their fingertips.” p. 97

I just love the way De Certeau writes, but I think that this quote in particular draws me like no other when it comes to questions of, what is the practice of blogging. For me, blogging is a footstep which spatialises the virtual. It sketches out, it defines, it creates, it deconstructs and it measures out space within the net.

Blogging is not the bridge; it is the footsteps of those that have crossed it.

For more on architecture and space, check out today’s Tumblr.


January 22, 2008. Environment, Inspiration.


  1. Penelope Anne replied:

    Ah, but is not blogging a bridge that connects us to make those footsteps?
    So many ways to view the statement.

  2. amypalko replied:

    There are aren’t there, Penelope Anne. In fact, the more I think about it the more complicated it becomes!

  3. Slutty McWhore replied:

    Is that bridge down by the river Kelvin in Glasgow? Looks like it.

  4. amypalko replied:

    No, Slutty, it’s actually along the Water of Leith. I posted a slideshow of photos that I took while walking along the tow-path if you fancy a look.

  5. nouveaufauves replied:

    The photo is compelling. There is something about a bridge, I guess. It certainly lends itself to many emblems and analogies. So do footsteps. I can see, clearly, your likening footsteps to a blog. In my mind, the thoughts and expressions of people make the blog……not the technology. The American politicians love the catchphrase “bridge to nowhere” to represent “pork barrel spending” in Washington. Every time I hear that, however, I envision a bridge arching off into nothingness and I, then, realize there has to be something at the other end of the bridge to define it as a bridge. (I think this proposed bridge was to link an island off Alaska to the mainland) If the bridge stops mid-span it isn’t a bridge. I can think of worse things to spend my tax money on than a bridge. I could think of the bridge as a work of art….. and I really like art. Our blogs can be bridges too but they have to reach someone. I hope they all do.

  6. amypalko replied:

    What a wonderful comment, Nouveau Fauves. I think you are absolutely right that a bridge is not a bridge unless it takes you to the other side. I suppose with bloggers, like with all writers, artists, performers, the other side is the reader, the viewer, the audience. The only type of art that doesn’t conform to this is outsider art, where the art is not intended for public view. I suppose the equivalent would be a private blog not open to anyone but its blogger. I wonder what the ideal geographical metaphor for that would be? An island disconnected and isolated from the mainland, perhaps?

  7. toni replied:

    Oh wow, Amy! This is absolutely spot on! I do see how blogging can be a bridge, but the imagery of footprints you presented also works. Nice perspective!

  8. amypalko replied:

    Thank you so much, Toni! I’m glad you liked it 🙂

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