Regionalistic identification

2 August 2007

Pardon the title but I could not think of any other term to describe it. “It” being the way Filipinos always have to identify themselves with their region. To wit, the on-going Review a Mindanao blog contest.

The main objective of the contest is to highlight and promote blogs made by Mindanaoans.

The Mindanao Blog Directory takes it even further by categorizing blogs according to the specific region, province, and cities their authors hail from. Is there really a need to identify your blog with your place of origin? I’m thinking that this reflect people’s sense of deep-rootedness. An imagination that wherever you are from, there you will always be. A mentality that if you’re a Dabawenyo, your life will center in Davao. Is this kind of world view (or country view?) a good thing or a bad thing? That’s for another discussion.

I can understand why we might want to promote blogs. But to promote blogs simply on the merit of their being made by Mindanaoans, I don’t understand. Is it because we can find no other similarities that we only have a regional identity to rally around? Is this project to prove that Mindanao is not as backward as many people from other regions think it is? I feel like I’m missing out on something and I really want to know. Why?

Update: I just read the official contest guidelines and it turns out that what will be judged are the reviews themselves, and not the blogs they are reviewing. Things get even more confusing.

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Getting over the identity crisis.

31 July 2007

Paint me a picture.

When we meet someone in the physical world, we create a mental image of them. We think this image to be complete: there is a face, a name to go with it, and a personality we can animate it with. Of course, this is merely a shallow impression. We will hone this image when we meet him at a coffee shop and have a chat, when we see him dining at a fancy restaurant, when meet him at a party, and through our other encounters. This is comparable to an artist who first sketches a draft and then slowly fills in the details.

On the Internet, the opposite happens. We start with little details – what little we can know of a person through his tweets, pownces, flickr photos, etc – and try to cobble this together in our minds into a coherent whole. Except, we can’t! People switch from one service to another like they change clothes, and even if they didn’t, it would be a pain to follow them around the Internet. At present, we settle for one-dimensional mental images of people. (Some of you will say that search helps in this department but we all know how inadequate that is.)

Icebreaker to the max.

What I’m driving at here is that we need to come up with something that allows people to have a unified online identity. Imagine just how much more value the Internet can provide when we will finally be able to tell who exactly John Doe is in the Internet world. The possibilities that arise when we can see all the Wikipedia entries he has contributed to, all the blog posts he has written, all the things he has ever sold on eBay, all the songs he has listened to on last.fm, and so on and so forth (all subject to privacy limits set by him) are endless and exciting.

This will be like the social sixth sense created by Twitter, only 100X better. This is unlimited ammunition for conversations. This is the kind of thing that will allows us to know each other more, and understand each other more. This will end wars! Just kidding – but you get my point.


Internet is the new world.

30 July 2007

The world is a human artifice.

In the beginning, there was the Earth, and out of it sprang forth Man. And Man was at Nature’s mercy, and in awe of her. And all was good. And then Man said to himself, behold! I am Man, and more than Nature. So he left Nature and created the World.

So it is, ladies and gentlemen, that although our world may seem perfectly natural, it is not. Imagine life without things as they are now: no rules to social interactions, no science, no nothing but savage human existence. Terrible no? And that is why we have the world – a human artifice created to impose order on a chaotic and incomprehensible nature.

The world is not enough.

However, our present world has one glaring limitation: physicality. Our bodies, great they may be can’t always keep up with the potential of our beings. Physical laws say that we can only be in one place at the same time, we can do only so many things at the same time, we can know only so many things at the same time. In the face of these limitations, our beings yearn to transcend.

If nature is the base, and the world a layer we build on top of it to make more sense of it, then I believe that the Internet is another layer we build on the world to make even more sense. And indeed, it has done much to that end. It has allowed us to know about things as they happen halfway across the globe, we can now be in two places at the same time with teleconferencing, we can now do even more things with even more people.

Internet is the new world.

That this is so highlights how lightly we have been treating the Internet thus far. Just as the world operates differently and is distinct from nature, so is the Internet distinct from the world. The Internet right now may merely be a reflection of the physical world but I believe, that it is more than just that. In fact, sci-fi writers like Neal Stephenson in Snow Crash have explored this potential. Once we recognize this distinction, several implications that need to be discussed will come to light. I will discuss these in succeeding posts.

What do you think? Comments and trackbacks are highly encouraged.


I need you to import to Tumblr.

22 July 2007

’nuff said. Although maybe the lack of posts is preventing that?

[Update] This was really just meant to be a random post but I’ve noticed Google referring a lot of people searching for how to import WP posts to Tumblr. Might as well help out.

1. In your Tumblr dashboard, go to the Feeds tab.

2. Tumblr can automatically import WP feeds with just your blog name. Select WordPress.com from the first combo box. And then write your blogname. That’s whatever’s in the url. For example, my url is https://stanladan.wordpress.com. My blog name is stanladan. Remember, the blog name is not the same as your blog title [unless you’ve set the two to be the same XD].

3. If that does not work, try manually adding your feed.WP feed urls are basically your blog url with a /feed appended. So my WP feed url is https://stanladan.wordpress.com/feed.

4. If all else fails, try e-mailing Tumblr support. They’re really helpful and do reply to your remails. 😀