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Blogs as comic strips

Blogs are interesting things. They’ve given an inexpensive publishing voice to the masses and they’ve allowed us to watch individuals grow and learn over time. We’re able to see, through language, who someone is without ever meeting them in the ‘real world’. Not unlike books and magazines and every other publishing medium, without the heavy infrastructure and editing overhead of these older industries.

In addition to being insightful in their own right, Eliazar Parra has posted about how blogs are comics and wikis are movies

Then the blogs started to appear. It took a while to notice anything had changed. The diary metaphor obscured as much as it enlightened. With some hindsight it’s easy to pinpoint what happened—and to marvel at how simple yet radical a change it was. The blog era is when websites learned about sequence, spatial sequence. They stopped being fractal trees of buried content and became, yes, comics—post became the new panel.

He then points out how the sequence of individual posts are what tell the true story, the shifting of space and the filling in of the ‘rest’ by the reader are what give blogs their interestingness.

And then there’s sequence. Sequence brought context, interface and development to websites, it gave them personality, motion, and tension, made them subject to change and thus to evolution. Sequence brought time.

Every page in a blog has a natural context: it comes after the previous post and before the next. A blog’s homepage is simply a broad sweep of the most recent panels posts in the strip—an easy way to glimpse the website’s personality and recent happenings. If you’re faithful (or diligent), you can see the writing and the themes evolve through time. The mind fills in the gaps, the bleeds, and the continuity that emerges can feel as real and intense as reality itself. Spatial interface is a brilliant interface in its almost ridiculous simplicity.

What we write says a lot about who we are – and don’t think for a second that the signaling we’re doing with this new medium isn’t solidifying our identities in the world. For good or bad – what we write is who we are. And the longer and more we write, the richer that picture (comic strip, perhaps) becomes.

When reading someone’s blog, reflect on the things that aren’t written as much as the things that are. Reflect on what isn’t shown, on what isn’t laid bare.

And then reflect on your own. What is it that we say to the world? And then, again, when we don’t say a thing?

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  1. jkd | January 16, 2007 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    A blog metaphor that works! Hallelujah!
    This really is perfect, down to the fact that the most successful blogs and comic strips have character development and inside jokes that, while not necessarily accessible to outsiders, create added value in product for long-time readers and help foster a sense of community.