Sunday, October 10, 2004

Blogs part the first: observation

Actual Event Date: 13 Sept 2004 (Mon)


Ever been in a situation where you were reading a magazine, newspaper, or even a webpage article that said something that was wrong, and you wished you could scream out to them the answer?


I have been in a few of these situations. My favorite example is the time I read a movie review written by an American about Hong Kong slapstick comedy movies ( Stephen Chow series), and gave it a bad rating simply because he/she did not understand the joke & the genius behind the movie. Every culture has its own distinct nuances, and taboos. For an American trying to understand and critique Asian cinema is equivalent to how Hollywood is swooning over movies like ‘crouching tiger, hidden dragon'; which to most Asian audiences is a piece of crap. Just pick any of the classic ‘kungfu' movies e.g. ‘once-upon-a-time-in-china' series, and you see a much better plot, better fight choreography (no strings!), realistic and authentic setting, dialogue, and the works.


Why am I ranting? Because with blogs, I noticed that such frustration and barriers to lack of knowledge can be removed.


This week's assignment f orc es us to look at some random blog at live Journal. So, I used some keywords and searched for Japanese Manga. Eventually I found myself introduced to a manga called ‘hellsing'. I am now part of a “hellsing" community on LiveJournal. URL: http://www.livejournal.com/community/hellsing/






Note : hellsing is a manga about vampires, monsters, filled with plots and conspiracy to destroy the world. It is a ‘bloody' (literally) cool manga. Definitely R(A), and not for the faint hearted.


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The blog community that surrounds ‘hellsing' is a hotbed of information sharing. Anything from plot summaries, character analysis, torrent downloads, fan doujinshi, and self-sustained FAQs, it keeps the fans coming back for more. Some merge the blogs with discussion group postings, others with simply a static website. But a growing number of these hybrid fan/blog sites devote themselves to collecting feedback from their users.


The pattern I observed from the fans/bloggers of this community, is that they are all motivated to sharing information, and finding the ‘truth'. They will post, repost, agree and disagree, before they come to a consensus on what is the acceptable ‘truth'. No one will ever have all the right answers to everything, if he/she did then they don't belong on this planet. Having a simple to use platform like blogs that allows mutual interaction and communication to come up with the best possible solution looks to me like a great resource.


Of course, disbelievers will say that putting ‘a bunch of monkeys' together will come up with nothing. But these ‘monkeys' that choose to participate in blogs are living, breathing, subject matter experts and enthusiasts who need no external motivation to research on their interest in that topic. When you gather such a pool of enthusiast, you will start a community of knowledge among those users.


Case study:

one particular blogger (mr_mitts) has such a following that he asks his fans on what he should write about next ( link ). He posted a lengthy but excellent article ( link ) that relates how the manga author used historical content from WW2 to enrich the story line of ‘hellsing'. Enthusiasts and history buffs quickly pointed out what was accurate and inaccurate. The discussion that followed from the comments was just plain cool.


Now, relating this to real life. How difficult would it be to duplicate this exchange of views and information? The fan base here spans 1149 fans from 77 countries. Without the ease and power of modern day social software, would we be able to replicate this form of collaboration?


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My insight on blogs this week can be summarized below:






In a nutshell: Blogs is such an easy way for readers to share about a topic they love, and allow feedback from others who know something that they don't yet know. Great tool for sharing information and knowledge, and building a community of learners.

My question for this week is:


“Has the culture of Blogs truly affected the culture of main stream society?”


Cheers,

BH


“Have you talked to your best friend recently?”


Misc. information: (Time Spent on this week's assignment)



•  1 hour a day, 5 days a week.


•  Live journal


•  2 hour (rough total) thinking, collecting my thoughts to blog.


•  Grand Total = 7 hours

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