Who are these bloggers? They're not trained editors at Vogue magazine. There are bloggers writing recipes that aren't tested that aren't necessarily very good, or are copies of what really good editors have created and done. Bloggers create a kind of a popularity but they are not the experts. We have to understand that.
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Some of my clothes are things that we'd play dress up with when we were little, and it's funny that now I'm wearing it, like, as an everyday thing. But if I say 'vintage' or 'thrifted' on the blog, there's this community of fashion bloggers, and I've become sort of tight with some of them, and we, like, just send each other packages.
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Even the financial disclosure statements that political bloggers were required to post hadn't stemmed the suspicion that people's opinions weren't really their own. "Who's paying you?" was a retort that might follow any bout of enthusiasm, along with laughter - who would let themselves be bought?
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My parents always have taught me 'you're good enough'. So, whenever I got bad comments from the judges, or I'd get on the Internet and read what bloggers have written about me, I would get so down, and I would get so sad. The biggest support group was obviously my parents, and I'd call them. And they'd build me up.
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The queen of aggregation is, of course, Arianna Huffington, who has discovered that if you take celebrity gossip, adorable kitten videos, posts from unpaid bloggers and news reports from other publications, array them on your Web site and add a left-wing soundtrack, millions of people will come.
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Silicon Valley isn't usually where aspiring authors go to kick-start a literary reputation. [...] How'd he do it? By courting bloggers and influential techies like Joi Ito, Stewart Brand, and Craig Newmark demonstrating that if you can get the geek grapevine on your side, you don't need Random House.
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I've got to challenge myself more, and not listen to anybody else, and not listen to any media or bloggers, but just listen to myself. I've got to push myself. If I don't believe I'm growing, and I believe I'm just coasting, then I've got to get off the train. If I feel I'm growing, I have to keep going. It's a long marathon.
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The Internet is allowing for us to really experience people in some of the most distant places in the world - as other people just like us. So get to know people, seek out bloggers from a country you're kind of curious about. It's about building empathy and breaking through to the point of recognizing people as people.
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Political reporters no longer get to decide what's news. The days when a minister gave briefings to a dozen lobby correspondents, and thereby dictated the next day's headlines, are over. Now, a thousand bloggers decide for themselves what is interesting. If enough of them are tickled then, bingo, you're news.
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Bloggers and other flavors of lone wolf are publishing heart-wrenching photo-essays from the front line of the recovery effort. Newspapers and TV networks? They're writing about the temperature of the water in some part (they don't specify which) of some damaged reactor, illustrating it with video screen grabs of machinery they don't understand enough to explain.
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I think the pleasure of completed work is what makes blogging so popular. You have to believe most bloggers have few if any actual readers. The writers are in it for other reasons. Blogging is like work, but without coworkers thwarting you at every turn. All you get is the pleasure of a completed task.
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Most bloggers have no institutional credibility, and so they must build it, by linking transparently, and allowing you to easily double check their work. But more than anything, because linking sources is such an easy thing to do, and the motivations for avoiding links are so dubious, I've detected myself using a new rule of thumb: if you don't link to primary sources, I just don't trust you.
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A reckoning is coming on the state of the internet journalism, because right now, the way it's set up, there is so much room for libel to squeak through that you're going to see...they're going to rewrite the rule book on journalism very soon. They have to, because the bloggers are getting away with so much rumor-mongering about public officials and even private figures because they don't have editors and they don't have fact checkers and they don't have lawyers. There is going to be a price to pay somewhere down the line.
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Throughout the history of the Internet, most of the innovation has come as a by-product of efforts to facilitate communication within social groups of various kinds (academics, bloggers, peer-to-peer file sharing), rather than as the result of profit-oriented investment. Rather than taking the lead, the business and government sectors have adopted innovations developed in Internet communities, and realised significant productivity gains as a result.
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I ate a lot of candy and engaged in light stalking: I prowled Blythe's Instagram and Twitter, I read her reviews, considered photos of her baked goods and watched from a distance as she got on her soapbox - at one point bragging she was the only person she knew who used her real name and profession online. As my fascination mounted, and my self-loathing deepened, I reminded myself that there are worse things than rabid bloggers (cancer, for instance) and that people suffer greater degradations than becoming writers. But still, I wanted to respond.
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After simmering years of censorship and repression, the masses finally throng the streets. The chants echoing off the walls to build to a roar from all directions, stoking the courage of the crowds as they march on the center of the capital. Activists inside each column maintain contact with each other via text messages; communications centers receive reports and broadcast them around the city; affinity groups plot the movements of the police via digital mapping. A rebel army of bloggers uploads video footage for all the world to see as the two hosts close for battle. Suddenly, at the moment of truth, the lines go dead. The insurgents look up from the blank screens of their cell phones to see the sun reflecting off the shields of the advancing riot police, who are still guided by close circuits of fully networked technology. The rebels will have to navigate by dead reckoning against a hyper-informed adversary. All this already happened, years ago, when President Mubarak shut down the communications grid during the Egyptian uprising of 2011. A generation hence, when the same scene recurs, we can imagine the middle-class protesters - the cybourgeoisie - will simply slump forward, blind and deaf and wracked by seizures as the microchips in their cerebra run haywire, and it will be up to the homeless and destitute to guide them to safety.
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O YEAH I'M BRAND NEW LIKE YOU HAVEN'T UNWRAPPED IT HEAD OVER HEELS GOT BLOGGERS DOIN' BACK FLIPS AM WHERE I AM CAUSE MY FANS AND SOME PRACTICE I COULD GO FOR 90, BET THE KID IS MATCH FIT GIRLS ON MY PAGE WRITING SAMMY IS A BASTARD THINKING THAT THEY SPECIAL, BUT GOT TREATED LIKE THE LAST CHICK KNOWING THAT MY FAN BASE STRETCHES LIKE ELASTIC JAW DROPPIN' BEATS LIKE IT'S BETTER THAN THE LAST SHIT BUT STILL, I'M IN THE PAINT BY THE BASKET THIS THAT ONE TAKE NEW FLOW STRAIGHT CLASSIC YEAH I SEE THE TRUTH SHINING BRIGHT IF YOU LOOK CLOSE RAPPERS DROPPING NAMES FORGOT TO ADD THE FOOTNOTES IN ALL HONESTY, HATING'S NOT A PART OF ME RESPECT'S IN MY BLOOD, I DON'T NEED A BIBLIOGRAPHY I SHOW LOVE CAUSE THAT'S WHAT I'VE ALWAYS DUG IF YA ASS AIN'T GOT A SHOVEL GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE MUD IT'S SANDBOX I'M SMALLS FIRST TIME ON THE SANDLOT TRYIN' TO LEARN THE RULES MAYBE GET MYSELF A DAMN SHOT YEAH, I'M HITTIN' VEINS YOU COULD HAVE NEVER DRAWN PUMPIN' BLOOD NO RUBBER BANDS AROUND THE ARM BUT LOOKING BACK WHEN I STARTED AS A CRITICS YOUNG TO MAKIN' HITS WITH A GRIN AS THE CROWD APPLAUSE, PAUSE I'M DIGGING DEEPER WITH MY GRITTY PAWS TRYIN' TO GET IT POPPIN' WITH A PRESENCE NO SANTA CLAUS YEAH, AND I'M THE SPITTER WHO DEFIES THE LAWS BRINGING THE HEAT, UNEXPECTED LIKE SOME MENOPAUSE HA, I NEVER THOUGHT THAT ONE OF MY SONGS WOULD SPREAD QUICK ON A THOUSAND DIFFERENT IPODS YEAH, I'M HUMAN AND I GOT BENIGN FLOWS RAPPING WITH THE COMPETITION CHILLIN' UP IN MY JAWS THINKING IN MY MIND HOW TO WRITE MY WRONGS TURNING ALL THIS CHANGE INTO ENDS THAT DEFY LAWS CUT IT OUT I WASN'T TALKING 'BOUT THE BEAT THOUGH AIMIN' TO MAKE EM GET THE POINT LIKE A FREE THROW TELL MY GIRL TO PLEASE RECLINE MY SEAT SLOW KNOWING THAT I'M COLDER THAN THE BOTTOM OF A SKI POLE AND IF IT'S SNOWING IN THE CITY I'M GETTING BLOWN WITH A COUPLE BITCHES DOWN TO RIDE WHERE HE GOES LATE NIGHT IN THE JACUZZI WITH THE SAME HOES CATCHIN' BRAINS PUFFIN ON THEM MONTE CHRISTOS UHHH I'M BACK ON MY SPITTAH SHIT BACK, BA-BACK, BACK ON MY SPITTAH SHIT YEAH, YOU KNOW I'M BACK ON MY SPITTAH SHIT BACK, BA-BACK, BACK ON MY SPITTAH SHIT
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Many people in this room have an Etsy store where they create unique, unreplicable artifacts or useful items to be sold on a small scale, in a common marketplace where their friends meet and barter. I and many of my friends own more than one spinning wheel. We grow our food again. We make pickles and jams on private, individual scales, when many of our mothers forgot those skills if they ever knew them. We come to conventions, we create small communities of support and distributed skills-when one of us needs help, our village steps in. It's only that our village is no longer physical, but connected by DSL instead of roads. But look at how we organize our tribes-bloggers preside over large estates, kings and queens whose spouses' virtues are oft-lauded but whose faces are rarely seen. They have moderators to protect them, to be their knights, a nobility of active commenters and big name fans, a peasantry of regular readers, and vandals starting the occasional flame war just to watch the fields burn. Other villages are more commune-like, sharing out resources on forums or aggregate sites, providing wise women to be consulted, rabbis or priests to explain the world, makers and smiths to fashion magical objects. Groups of performers, acrobats and actors and singers of songs are traveling the roads once more, entertaining for a brief evening in a living room or a wheatfield, known by word of mouth and secret signal. Separate from official government, we create our own hierarchies, laws, and mores, as well as our own folklore and secret history. Even my own guilt about having failed as an academic is quite the crisis of filial piety-you see, my mother is a professor. I have not carried on the family trade. We dwell within a system so large and widespread, so disorganized and unconcerned for anyone but its most privileged and luxurious members, that our powerlessness, when we can summon up the courage to actually face it, is staggering. So we do not face it. We tell ourselves we are Achilles when we have much more in common with the cathedral-worker, laboring anonymously so that the next generation can see some incremental progress. We lack, of course, a Great Work to point to and say: my grandmother made that window; I worked upon the door. Though, I would submit that perhaps the Internet, as an object, as an aggregate entity, is the cathedral we build word by word and image by image, window by window and portal by portal, to stand taller for our children, if only by a little, than it does for us. For most of us are Lancelots, not Galahads. We may see the Grail of a good Classical life, but never touch it. That is for our sons, or their daughters, or further off. And if our villages are online, the real world becomes that dark wood on the edge of civilization, a place of danger and experience, of magic and blood, a place to make one's name or find death by bear. And here, there be monsters.
Catherynne M. Valente
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