March 25, 2006
MarkBernstein.org
 
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Literary

I think it was Donald Matheson who pointed out, after my talk at Christchurch, that my approach to blogs was primarily literary where a lot of people approach weblogs through sociology. It's a useful distinction.

Another way of looking at this: I prefer to investigate specific weblogs closely, where a lot of weblog research tries to learn from weblogs in the aggregate -- from their patterns of interconnection, or their population in the wild. And in a Belgian Bar in Wellington, I think I came close to grasping the root of Torill's position on games and on weblogs, which does focus on what people do with games rather than on what games can be.

Literary

How do you move from research to action? I like to try to make things better by making better things -- to look at that things like weblogs want to be, and then to make tools that try to bring out new facets and new affordances, tools that help people do new things. Those tools are always going to be challenging and quirky and strange, at least at first, because their new tools to do new things.

If you innovate from sociology, you get polished tools that help people do what everyone is already doing, but that use new shapes and new techniques to make things simpler and more comfortable.