by Brian Haven
@ 9:21 AM

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Until recently, the systems and media available for published self-expression have been reserved for professionals like writers and broadcasters. This chasm between the average person and the professional existed because of the significant costs involved with production and distribution. In the past several years, personal technology has enabled non-professional individuals to begin to bypass traditional outlets and to make their own self-declarations — the third example of participation.

In the early 1990s, a few individuals began creating frequent journal-like posts (in reverse chronological order) on websites that they called Web Logs. After several years, the behavior spread and the tools to publish became easier to use and more prevalent. Linking to posts by other bloggers became essential to the process.

The blog was born.

While several weblogs have existed since the early days of the World Wide Web, the real boom was ushered in with the creation of Blogger by Pyra Labs in late 1999.
[Graffiti on boxcar from by Steve Boyko]
Blogger was, and still is, a very popular tool that allowed the mainstream public to publish their thoughts on the web on a recurring basis. One of the many characteristics of blogging software that contributed to its growth was its automation of web-publishing capabilities placed in the hands of non-experts. It didn’t require its users to code HTML, but rather provided pre-designed web page templates. It also automated the process of managing files and uploading them to a web server. Google’s acquisition of Blogger in 2003 helped legitimize the technology and spread the behavior. Today there are many tools that enable this self-declaration, from blogging tools like Movable Type (and TypePad), Word Press, and Tumblr to services likeFacebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.

The idea of self-declaration is not limited to digital technology, nor is it new. Graffiti is one example of public self-expression that has been present in our society for a very long time. These behaviors and principles are universally understood. These are rich cultures with traditions and rituals. Their expression is the adaptation of a medium (spray paint symbols and artwork on public buildings) that was not intended for this use. Additionally, the actions of the adapting enterprise, in this case graffiti artists, are covert and underground because their efforts are considered artistic by few and criminal by most.


25 Jun 2009
The second example of participation is group assembly. Group assembly...

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Fancy quote box styling courtesy of Joomsayer for Movable Type.
02 Jul 2009
The fourth example of participation, systematic engagement, is supported by...

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