Friday, November 12, 2004

Literature in the Internet Age, Part 2

Rather than killing literature, the Internet instead liberated it. Pre-Internet, publishers and editors decided what was worth printing. Post-Internet, anyone with anything to say could publish their works electronically. Welcome to the era of personal publishing.

There's no more tangible manifestation of this today than blogs, which are currently all the rage of the Internet. For the uninitiated, blogs are short for "web log", a sort of an online diary. Content varies greatly, from the loftiest of thoughts to the most mundane mutterings: as with any diary, it depends on the personality and intellect of the writer.

While publishing on the web goes as far back as ten years, blogs are a more recent phenomenon and make publishing so much easier than before. Instead of composing individual web pages and linking them manually, blog tools allow you to write directly from the browser. The system takes care of indexing your work. Perhaps the best-known blog application is

More than just a content management and publishing system, blogs are also focal points for communities. We normally don't associate community with literature because reading is typically a personal activity. Literature itself is actually communal in nature, and it shows in how we gravitate towards certain authors, topics, and opinions. The Internet throws that in sharper relief.

There are blogs for practically all subjects underneath the sun: politics, literature, science, travel, religion, etc. But in the end, we have to go back to the nature of the blog as online diary: this is literature that is inextricably tied in to the personality of the writer.

For this reason, the best blogs are probably the personal blogs by twentysomethings and thirtysomethings. Why? Simply because they (or perhaps I should say "we") have the most to say. Angst, frustration, fears, boredom, love, hormonal imbalance, parental conflict, peer pressure, financial worries: all these contribute to a fascinating tapestry of human drama that rivals the most imaginative soap opera writers.

And it's all real. Sort of.

For a sampling of Philippine blogs, go to For a Dumagueteno-specific blog, check out