A Beginning

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The blogosphere is a newish rapidly expanding constellation in a complex new galaxy: the Internet. It has its dark side as well as its phenomenally useful aspects. Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur (London / Boston, Nicholas Brealey, 2007) offers an extremely pessimistic description of this shadowy area I am now entering and of Web 2.0 in general (especially tentacular social networking sites like ‘My Space’, Facebook, etc.). (See http://andrewkeen.typepad.com)

Andrew Keen predicts a total of half a billion blogs by 2010. This only leaves me, and you, 3 years to try to make our voices heard, alongside those millions who have preceded us and already tried to stake their claim for public attention. Others can remain aloof for a while longer if they wish, but I have finally decided, after dragging my feet for a year or more (as I did with the introduction of the personal computer and the Internet) that the standard of the average blog is not very daunting and that I may as well keep up with the cyberJoneses by joining in this colossal competition for attention.

I am looking forward to offering a few ideas, preoccupations, and opinions – in particular about the wonderful/horrible Internet, the informative/unscrupulous media and Computers (mainly the joys and sorrows of some software). All sorts of other topics may crop up, not excluding an occasional foray into the world of politics as the world prepares to begin its recovery from 8 traumatic years of Bush-Cheney adventurism and disaster.

I already have two personal websites, one of them didactic (Spanish language), the other research-oriented but on a much more polemical subject: the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba. Bloggers and blog-readers should be aware that the monthly cost of these websites is negligible but they are not free, as blogs tend to be. To promote these sites, I shall try to vie with everyone else in making reasonable use of the increasingly more ridiculous Google-condoned system of “the more backlinks you have, the more interesting and valid your topic must be”. I shall offer my (legitimate) backlinks on this blogsite mainly on the Blogroll conveniently provided for us to use, but occasionally elsewhere. If you think that is a bit exploitative, you should see the extensive (and sometimes reprehensible) efforts made by others to capture a wider cyber audience! For instance, recent revelations give an idea of the extraordinary extent to which one determined individual can interfere with Search Engine results ( especially Google’s) to skew rankings on a targetted topic or name. (See ‘Gerald ‘Joe’ Moreno’s Google infovandalism’:
(http://www.kheper.net/topics/gurus/Moreno_google_disinformation.html)

This unsatisfactory system is largely the fault of wonderful/dictatorial Google, whose search system allows those who are most active in planting comments and references to themselves on any website or forum to gain a higher search ranking. And, if you are not techno-smart enough (or just lazy), there are specialist companies which have sprung up to do this ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ chore (SEO) for you for a small or large fee. Content and quality are not a basic consideration in the fiercely competitive Search market of (WWW) Web 2.0, a world so chaotically narcissistic , greedy and permissive that we can only hope that Web 3.0 may be able to produce more satisfactory results in the not too distant future. In the meantime, one has to fend for oneself as best one can.

This casual blogspot, like a holiday refuge, will allow me to share (and enjoy) a sort of relaxed monologue on the above topics and any others that attract my attention, emotions or sense of humour. Hopefully, some of my meanderings and sharings (especially of books and articles read) will appeal to other blogreaders and owners. Since the blogs are offered to us totally free of charge, why should we worry? Well, that “free” label is a common misunderstanding promoted by seductive commercial Web 2.0. I hope to offer more on that important topic soon.

If you wish to write to me, that could be nice, but only to the email address advertised on my websites, please. And, while honest comment and criticism is acceptable, abuse and unfair comment will receive short shrift, or public ridicule and denunciation. Once bitten, twice shy!

Please be my guest. More soon.

Ciao,

Brian Steel

P.S. Worth preserving from the Internet’s Maw:

http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/articleprint.php?num=314

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