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Tony Grist

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An Anniversary [Mar. 7th, 2005|09:56 am]
Tony Grist

Happy birthday to me....

Well, not exactly to me, but to Poliphilo- who's been in existence now for a year.

When I started this LJ on the 7th of March, 2004 I didn't know quite what I wanted to do with it. At first I thought it would be fun to try out a range of different voices- a different voice for every post. No-one was reading me, so it hardly mattered.

Here as an anniversary treat (?) is a reprint of Poliphilo's very first post


Today I wore white.

The professor collected me in his Daimler and we drove deep into the Bernese Oberland. It was a valley he knew. The long grass was full of little flowers, white and red and blue. The professor is very spry for his age. I tell him he looks like Teddy Roosevelt.

We met a girl who was driving cows down from the high pastures. She was a fine specimen of the race, with white hair in braids and bright blue eyes. "I would like to stretch her on the rack," said the professor, "and pull out all those perfect little teeth with pliers."

Something black flew down the length of the valley, very high up. I think it was a zeppelin. The professor lifted my hand and sniffed at my wrist. "You smell of rust," he said.

Yeah, well.....

But that sort of thing palled after a very short time. I began to see what a wonderful medium this is. How anything is possible. The blog is like no form ever invented before. It can be a diary, a column, a notice board, a one-person literary magazine, a one-person newspaper, a picture gallery, a practical joke. And, whatever it is, it has the potential to reach a large, international audience instantly.


And even more amazing- the audience talks back. It's an interactive medium. It creates communities.

Over at  jackiejj 's, naamaire speaks of what we bloggers are doing as "folk-art". I like that. But with the rider that this is folk art at the cutting edge. We are doing something that has never been done before. We are pioneers.

I began playfully. Now, a year down the line, writing this LJ is terribly important to me. 

Bloggo, ergo sum.


[User Picture]From: cdpoint
2005-03-07 02:27 am (UTC)
The blog is like no form ever invented before. It can be a diary, a column, a notice board, a one-person literary magazine, a one-person newspaper, a picture gallery, a practical joke. And, whatever it is, it has the potential to reach a large, international audience instantly.

Nicely put.

I wonder about the communities it forms, though. They're not really communities, just as LJ friends are not really friends--we use terms we're familiar with for both, but there are fundamental differences between these new usages and the concepts underlying the traditional terms.

I've had a website for over a decade now, and communicated with people all over the planet, even met a few of them. But if I died tomorrow, none of them would come to my funeral. Few would even notice my absence, since the site would go on until my webhost subscription expired. If you didn't see your neighbor come out of the house for days on end, you'd probably wander over and see what's going on. But if you just stopped posting to LJ one day, I wouldn't even know how to check whether you'd died, fallen ill, or just lost interest.

Certainly some people meet and form friendships through LJ, and others carry existing friendships over into LJ, but I suspect the vast majority of LJ friends are related as you and I are. And how exactly is that?

And what happens to all this when LJ is an old and stale technology ALA Compuserve or Genie?

Oh, well, don't let that get in the way of your continued happy blogging.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-07 03:59 am (UTC)
I don't particularly care whether people come to my funeral or not. Once I'm dead I'm dead and, well, I don't think I'm going to be bothered whether I'm remembered or not.

I think the LJ communities are valid. I know people who live on my street and I guess that makes it a community, but I don't care about any of them very deeply. The connection I have with a number of my LJ friends is much more real to me.

Of course, LJ will have its day, everything falls apart in the end. When it stops being fun I guess we'll all move on, but for the time being it's a jolly place to be.

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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-03-07 05:08 am (UTC)
Usenet groups provided my first online friendships, and when spam and trolls took over usenet, many of my friends moved over to LJ and invited me in.

I suppose LJ will end--maybe even the internet!--well, I can't think about it, that's all. How did we manage before?

But today I'm here, and, in honor of your first anniversary on LJ, please let me be the first to say that I love your posts, read you every day, have learned about art and film and writing from you, and in fact have gone back and read all your old posts, so I remember this breathtaking first entry quite well.

Oh, and I value your support and friendship--and it's a real friendship: if you, Ailz, and I were sitting around the table, I do think we'd be talking very fast, and I can't imagine we'd run out of things to say!

And then we'd all go to an art gallery, and to one of those Indian restaurants--

Yes, it's a friendship.

Jackie, gushing fan
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-07 05:41 am (UTC)
Yes, I think of it as a real friendship too. I'm so pleased to have met you.

You've actually read my stuff right back to the beginning? Gosh!

And one day we will go into Manchester together and look at the pre-Raphaelite paintings- and then have lunch at our special Indian restaurant in Shudehill.
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[User Picture]From: ksp24
2005-03-07 05:06 am (UTC)
Very interesting commentary!

Thanks for that.

But I wish you, poliphilo a very happy LJ birthday!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-03-07 05:37 am (UTC)
Thank you:)

Have a balloon.
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