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.