Friday, April 26, 2002

ARE BLOGGERS THE DJs OF THE INTERNET?
I've had this thought for the past few days - blogging is a lot like the DJ culture. By DJ culture, I mean the club music scene which consists of DJs playing and manipulating records (and CDs) for the evening's musical entertainment.

To be up upfront, I've never rated DJs as musicians. Yes, they deal with music and yes, the good ones certainly know about entertainment and how to work a crowd. But the job really doesn't demand musical skills. Face it, they basically pick and spin records. It is amazing to me that some DJs put out CDs of other people's music spun together in a collection and promote it as an original CD. The only thing original there is the packaging. Valuable? Yes, certainly, especially if I'm having a party. But I think it should be filed a lot closer to K-Tel Collections than original dance or electronic music. The DJs that I liked a lot (The Chemical Brothers, DJ Spooky or Orlando's own Q-Burns Abstract Message come to mind) are usually much more than record spinners. DJing is only one part of their act.

So what's the connection between DJing and blogging? Both rely heavily on the reuse of materials created by others. Many blogs are just lists of links, sometimes with a witty comment, sometimes not. We see something interesting or funny and think, Oooo, I should share this with the world. Similarly, a DJ picks songs, perhaps tweaks it a bit, adding reverb or sound effects, speeds it up or down to blend with the next song, and shares that with the dance floor. Bloggers are like the DJs of the internet, although most of us don't dress as sharply as DJs do (yes, we've got bodies built for blogging, just like FM DJs have faces built for radio).

I bring this up because I'm wondering about the value of link-oriented blogging. What's the point? Okay, if you use the link as a stepping stone and take off from there, adding lots of original thought and spin, fine. But too many times - and I'm guilty of this too - bloggers take the easy way out. Like a bad DJ who shows up at gig after gig with the same 50 records, bloggers surf the same news sites for weird stories, throw links back to the blog and go to bed satisfied that we done our part for the web's self-publishing revolution. Why bother? Does anybody really need us to point out general news stories or oddball items from Yahoo? I think not.

What does it mean? I don't know. If nothing else, I think it means I want to push myself harder to come up with original and interesting blog entries. The value of linking to general news seems just about nil to me, although pointing out a good feature here or there still holds some cred. Hopefully, by stating this on the blog here and now, I'll box myself into a corner and be too embarassed to add pointless links to items everybody knows.

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