Friday, May 20, 2005

Networking v Networks

Proof positive that one thought always leads to another.

Sometimes I feel as if I have two personalities: one is the professional, Microsoft Outlook calender using persona, and the other, a Bohemian, artistic character looking to inspire others to not follow in my footsteps, but rather create their own.

I just posted a lengthy commentary on the end of television. No proof or validation, just an editorial on what I think about the future of the media: that is, the death of TV will come before the death of the newspaper. From one, professional, journalistic standpoint, I e-mailed and linked the major blogs that I referenced their sites in my commentary. I didn't do this to boost my Google rating or even my blogosphere presence, only to inform them that I used links to their sites - a common courtesy I think.

But, now that I've had time to marinate on the idea, I wonder how altruistic those e-mails were? Sure, I could justify them, but were they truly FYI e-mails? The question, alone, is questionable. But then again, is it?

For a couple of months I've been skeptical of the Internet; not as an entity, but as a news medium. But, now that I've linked my commentary to relatively unknown individuals hosting a relatively popular blog sites, I wonder how introverted I am, and how impersonal the web has become.

As far as blogs go, traffic numbers equate to future, financial freedoms. Some blogs are created solely to act as some sort of published diaries, others seek a stable income. My virgin blogs were initially created as a resume-builder - something published without an official byline. I didn't want a following like Instapundit or Drudge. Yes, I wanted readers, some return readers that would add my site to their RSS feeds, but I didn't want a collection of "regulars." I wanted to be one of those prized sites that people stumble across at 2:43 am, read until 4 am, and then forget about because they were too drunk to write down the address. But, if I took the time to e-mail everyone that I linked too, what would that say about my altruistic feelings/thoughts?

The truth is, people like seeing their names, even the anonymous screen names they imagine, in print and being referenced time and time again. Did I e-mail these people/sights as a result of respect or from a deeper urge to get discovered? Right now, I've had too much to drink to really, intelligently think-through that question. But, I do understand the consequences/perks of the latter.

The Internet, especially blogs, are mostly about networking: that is, getting in good with influential people that run influential blogs. It's networking on a global, yet anonymous, scale. When college grads mingle with university alum, how many copies of their resumes do they have readily accessible? Blogs are the same sort of deal, only a hard-copy is not required, just a good memory. If you can remember the exact internet address of your personal blog, then you can write it down whenever it's needed. Resumes/personal websites, they're becoming interchangeable.

I guess when it's all said and done (forgive the cliche phrases), I want people to see my stories/bylines as informational pieces of journalism with a hometown name easily found in the white pages and I want web/blog-surfers to see my screenname as a reliable trademark of independant insight. The two, however, should never become one. Blogger, Journalist - which has priority? I guess it's a good thing that I have two professional personalities after all.

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