June 19, 2011

Blogging as the Nihilist Impulse

Today, I bring the following book to your attention – “Zero Comments” by Geert Lovink

In many ways, I am ambivalent in regards to this book. But, as always in life, art, in sympathies or antipathies, everyone gets to decide for themselves, whom to consider a genius, and who is simply a nice and possibly useful fellow.

Besides, the book is written in an entertaining and engaging language, which is a definite advantage over many books on the subject of the new media. (Reading some of them, you might unexpectedly doze off without having understood anything about how digital media, new media industries, and business fads infiltrate and influence our lives.)

This book reminded me of a salad bowl, in which the author threw a bunch of ideas, and mixed them up with observations and conclusions.

In order to understand what we’re about to have, here’s an appetizer. 

- The identity circus called "blogosphere" is not exactly the place where progressive types set the tone. As a sign of the times, the blogging majority is conservative  and this was already noticeable in the responses 9/11 and U.S.-led invasion in Afghanistan and Iraq. Leaving the enabling rhetoric and democratization potential aside blog culture in not, by definition, progressive and cannot be heralded as "anti-establishment".

And now for some small, but delicious ribs (important strategic advice) from experienced chef (blogger).

-Lyndon from Flockblog gives a few tips that help blog writing - showing how ideas, feelings, and experiences are compressed into the news format, and how dominant Microsoft PowerPoint has become: "Make your opinion known, link like crazy, write less, 250 words is (?) enough, make headlines snappy, write with passion, include bullet point lists, edit your post, make your posts easy to scan, be consistent with your style, litter the posts with keywords."

For the most part, following these words, I can just about finish my review, because these ribs were actually the main dish, which can help beginner bloggers prepare their posts. The thing is, I can’t help serving some desert as well. I’m going to be generous, and actually offer you several desserts.

- As a micro-heroic, Nietzschean act of the pajama people, blogging grows out of a nihilism of strength, not out of the weakness of pessimism. Instead of repeatedly presenting blog entries as self-promotion, we should interpret them as decadent artifacts that remotely dismantle the mighty and seductive power of the broadcast media.

- Blogs express personal fear, insecurity, and disillusion - anxieties looking for partners-in-crime. We seldom find passion ( except for the act of blogging itself). Often blogs unveil doubts and insecurity about what to feel, what to think, believe and like. 

- They carefully compare magazines and review traffic signs, nightclubs, and T-shirts. This stylized uncertainty circles around the general assumption that blogs ought to be biographical while simultaneously reporting about the world outside.

- Their emotional scope in much wider compared to other media due to the informal atmosphere of blogs. Mixing public and private is constitutional here. What blogs with is the emotional register, varying from hate to boredom, passionate engagement, sexual outrage, and back to everyday boredom.

- There are no blogs without a sphere. Bloggers need each other, they need the addictive build-up around rumors and new scoops. What bloggers often lack is a ability to do through research and investigation.

The book is very interesting but, in my opinion, the author either closed his blog rather quickly, or he has never even been a blogger. What are your thoughts on this subject?

As for me – since I’m quite a Nietzschean mood today, I would like to offer my fellow Nietzscheans some abstract photos.


  1. Nice shots!
    Kisses my dear friend

  2. Not sure I can identify with any component of those blogger types listed in your new book. Not worried about it either. It's just an extension of myself, and it's fun sharing pics and random thoughts with whoever wants to visit.

    Know what's important? Your photos. Keep shooting, keep sharing. You've got a great eye. And I LOVE that museum shot! . . . and the ceiling light with wiring . . . and the stairwell . . . and the light patterns on the hardwood floor . . . and the tile cement . . .and that recessed lighting thingie . . .

    More enjoyable than "Zero Comments", I say. (Ha.)

    What does the book say about ME loving YOUR blog? I bet there's not a chapter on us in there!


  3. Wow.......the art gallery shot I love. It stands out in a great set of images.

  4. Great first shot !
    I wish you a sweet day Olga...


  5. Hello Olga:
    We are now not at all sure that we should continue to blog as we are probably getting it all wrong and the 'rules' [or suggestions] become more and more detailed.

    But, your images are truly superb and we have so enjoyed looking at this gallery of photographic art. Have a wonderful week.

  6. Nice shots and thanks for excerpts from the book ...

  7. I can only say this: Olga, you do look beautiful in your Nietzschean mood, wonderful pictures, like an open book of your mind today!

  8. Im totally in agreement with Rick! I can't really print what I think of the author of this book. Is he for real? Anyone feeling that way about blogging and bloggers, does not have to read or participate; just ignore. Seems to me like a busybody with nothing better to do.

    BUT your photographs are amazing and cleaned out the nasty thoughts and tastes ... I revelled in them. Yes, keep on being amazing with your photographs.

  9. Abstrakteja ovat...!
    Minulla kai ne menevät - kuvat - yleensä 'nonfiguratiivisen' puolelle...!
    En ymmärrä kummastakaan yhtään mitään.
    Nohh.. minähän vain kuvaan omia näkemyksiä ja illusinaatioita - vai mitä ne ovat.

    Hieno kuva sarja kaikin puolin tarkasteltuna.
    Olet paneutunut aiheeseen...!

    Kuvausta ei voi lopettaa...
    Minä toivotan hyvää jatkoa...

  10. I really like the first photograph Olga, dreamy :)

  11. Hi Gisa,
    Thank you for visiting :) I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    Hi Rick,
    My thoughts about it are exactly the same. I think this author analyzes blogging as a process, but he misses the spirit of it. Bloggers can see him as an outsider. Thank you for your support and input.

    Hi Adrian,
    This is a big compliment, coming from you :)

    Hi Pierre,
    Thank you for your encouragement. Have a great day too!

    Hi Jane and Lance Hattatt,
    I'm sorry that I'm an endless source of doubt in regards to the proper way to do things :) I don't entirely agree with these books. I don't think they read the right blogs :)

  12. Hi Wong,
    Thank you. This is my experimental series. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    Hi Pet,
    From time to time, we should read different books that put us in special moods. Thank you for your compliment. My husband also appreciates my Nietzschean mood :)

    Hi aguja,
    I also agree with Rick. I think that only a blogger can understand a blogger. Many things are read between the lines. The sympathies and ways of communication that appear between bloggers are not always obvious to outsiders.

    Hi Eko,
    Se oli vain kokeilu. En todellakaan ota sitä vakavasti. Olen iloinen jätitte minulle kommentti.

    Hi Dolly,
    I'll tell you a technical secret - I took this photo under the bridge at the moment when a train was passing by :)

  13. Hi Olga,
    Lovely picts, as usual. I like how they exercise my visual muscles, so to speak.

    I agree with you--he seems like an outsider and seems to miss the point.

  14. Great read. And total sweet shots!

  15. Yeah, I wonder if that author even blogs! I do agree with keeping it short and sweet, though.

    Fantastic photos, as usual.

  16. GREAT photos! my faves are the first, shadow shot, and the light with the multi-colored cords...

    as for the book - i tend to agree with you. he had some interesting tips, but i'm not sure he's right in some of his conclusions.

  17. I like that lightbulb on the top a lot. I don't know what it is about it... An artful nuance as you call it. Really nice. Thanks for your visits too.

  18. super cool museum! love the light installations x

  19. Hello Olga,
    I enjoyed the selection of images!
    Abstraction, music of the picture is the essence of visual art!
    A hug from the studio

  20. Thank you Olga for sharing your technical secret! It is an amazing shot and I love the texture of the wall. X

  21. An interesting post! I enjoyed your snippets from the book and your creative photos!!xoxo

  22. THanks for your book reccomendation!!! and congrats for the great pics!

  23. Love your photographs dear Olga, they are amazing ... you visit the most interesting places!

    xoxoxo ♡

  24. Your abstracts are awesome! For me, I blog for the fun of it. It's a nice creative outlet for me, and my wife gets involved too, so it's fun for both of us. I don't think I have a particular agenda, other than to enjoy photography and share in the enjoyment with other photo bloggers.

  25. The author of this article, has possibly never blogged or looked at a blog in their life.

    I don't blog to compensate for my 'real' life in any way. I enjoy blogging, because it gives me as much pleasure to read other people's blogs, than writing my own. I can't understand why people feel the need to slate things that people enjoy. As long as it doesn't hurt any body, then I don't seem why this author feels the needs to judge!

    Fantastic photos as usual!

  26. The book is not whether it will be interesting, but if they are photos that show us today, with excellent lighting and framing and engaging ways. Without detracting from any of them, they are all beautiful, I want to highlight the ladder.

  27. Hi Lydia,
    I myself enjoy exercising my visual muscles. I like the way you put that - I don't think I would have come up with such a term :)

    Hi Sandy,
    Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed my abstract shots. This sort of thing is not for everyone :)

    Hi Talli,
    I am also in favour of short posts. Although there are certain bloggers that I read regardless of the length of their post.

    Hi Leslie,
    I think it's clearly visible that the author is not a blogger. I am reading a book where an experienced bloggers are giving advice, and the difference is tremendous.

    Hi Jorge,
    Artful nuance indeed :) Sometimes I like taking photos of these contentious moments.

  28. Hi Sérgio,
    Consider it my self portrait :)

    Hi lilylovekin,
    I'm glad - they're sort of apart from the subjects I usually present in this blog.

    Hi galatea,
    It's great to hear that you find my point of view on abstract photos agreeable :)

    Hi Antonio,
    Thank you for your interpretation of my photos. It seems that you find them lively.

    Hi Dolly,
    Glad to hear you liked my review. Although this book does not paint a very objective picture.

  29. Hi Monika,
    We pajama people love to share our art, thoughts, and inspirations :)

    Hi Colores,
    Thank you. Your words are very encouraging.

    Hi Dianne,
    I love exploring all kinds of places, and I often find ones that are not as widely known in Toronto. Thank you for your comment.

    Hi Doug,
    I always marvel at your abstract images. It's interesting that your wife gets involved in your art. It's funny, but my husband takes the occasional photo on my camera :)

    Hi Spangle,
    I completely agree with you. Some people, who are not at all experienced in blogging, try to do an "overview" of the entire medium. I tried to present what such an impression looks like.

    Hi Leovi,
    From an abstract artist, it's more than a compliment; it's an encouragement to continue in that direction :)

  30. i think i want to read this book!! or his blog, haha :) i'm not sure what i think, i think everyone approaches blogging differently. i've had several and they were all a little different!

  31. Hi Krystal,
    The book is definitely worth reading. I'm even prepared to forgive him for calling bloggers "pajama people" :)

  32. Wow, Olga, you certainly have an interesting blog here - your pictures are superb!

    In order to be completely fair to Lovink, I'd probably have to read the book myself but, judging from the excerpts you've published here, he strikes me as someone who became slightly intoxicated by his own ideas to the extent that some of them ran away with him.

    Blogging is a means of self-expression in a wider world. All sorts of people do it for all sorts of reasons. There's marvellous stuff out there in the "blogosphere," there's also an immense amount of crap ... and everything in between.

    In one way, statements about blogging remind me of something someone once said about the USA (I'm too lazy to google it now :-): "Everything every says about the USA is true ... and so is the opposite."

  33. Hi Francis Hunt,
    I really like your thought on how certain authors get too caught up in the idea and become imprisoned in it. I’m really glad you liked my photos. I have a “reporter” style of photography. I just capture reality as I see it.

  34. Very beautiful pictures, always a great pleasure going through your beautiful blog.
    I wish you a happy weekend.
    a hug.

  35. Hi Ricardo,
    Thank you. It is my pleasure. I am flattered that you like my blog.