31.7.06

the blog profile

Selecting "favourite" artists for your blog profile is serious business. Your profile is your face and clothes in cyberspace, and should be given the same careful consideration, treated with the same care.

Many panic and actually select their favourite artists, the cyberspace version of not paying attention to the clothes worn by your peers, ignorant of what is obvious to the socially successful. You only end up looking like a child lost in an amusement park, too overwhelmed to laugh and play with the other kids.

This post should be seen as nothing more than a wakeup call. There is no static formula, that is the nature of any dynamic efficient market. Leniency should not be asked nor given, and pity is the kiss of death. You must make your optimal statement, where optimality should be a function of only your taste in people. Any other consideration is merely a distraction, there to lead the weak astray.

The rookie mistake is to include too many consensus artists in your selection, for example someone like Robert de Niro. Everybody knows Bobby (God rest his soul) used to be the king: you are making no statement whatsoever. Pointless, unless you only want to impress others who do not understand the subtleties of the game. Unfortunately most people find them uninteresting, even their own kind.

Of course, that's a rule of thumb. Like I say: there are no static formulas. Formulas can exist only fleetingly. Through their effectiveness and ability to spread they quickly render themselves obsolete.

A good example of the esoteric nature of the game then: breaking rule number 1 above can be very effective when a good mundane selection is artfully juxtaposed against an especially unconventional and cutting edge collection. This should not be attempted by just anyone.

Mere mortals to their eternal frustration sense a brilliant compilation, but they find the dynamic canvas too overwhelming to see the big picture at all clearly. They can never emulate such an assembly, and therefore respect and envy the mysterious statement made.

Ultimately there is just one way to be sure you have successfully crafted your portfolio: you attract the attention and approval of those who have blog identities that you find attractive, even if only on the surface. This is the only criteria, connecting with others is always the point. If it isn’t, you've come to the wrong place.

So a word to the wise: take the time, once a month (like I said it’s a dynamic, fast moving and unforgiving racket) to make sure your choices fit just right. Lure them into your consciousness, never allowing formulism to expose the limits of your artistic insight and foresight. And never trust anyone that says appearance doesn’t matter.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

An interesting (and groundbreaking) book on taste is Pierre Bourdieu's Distinction. It has a very good introduction if you don't have time for the whole thing. It's about the ways in which taste function to forming identity and social class. One's taste alligns you with some and, most importantly, distinguishes one from others. The hierarchy of taste, according to Bourdieu, corresponds with a social hierarchy. We are all snobs. When we say 'so-an-so has bad taste' we're saying that so-and-so is not one of us, (low-class scum of the earth). So these are important matters.

Liezl (Yes, me again. Sorry, I have had too much time of late and have had too much to say. And the worst of it is that force of habit too often makes me sound like a teacher/mother/older sister/tannie-met-'n-nat-broek. But my workload is about to increase somewhat so you will see less of me.)

neko said...

so... if you do not fill out your blog profile, does that make you naked in the eyes of the blogmune?

or indifferent?

or anti-social?

all very interesting...

b said...

liezl

don't apologize!? we all enjoy and appreciate your and Paul's comments. they are always relevant and articulate. besides, we need a bit of a mother figure (don't see that as my giving you carte blanche).

:)

neko

i would say naked is almost the right expression...though i'm not sure what exactly the right analogy would be.

perhaps insecure? or the person who talks to you but doesn't ever say anything about themselves, or leaves big gaping holes.

it depends on the reader as well. like i said, it depends who you want to reach. it's definitely not the case that the entire blogmune interprets it the same way.

mazedesigner said...

I'm not sure if I like how the blogger tool forces you to create a profile in a certain format. For example, I imagine there are tons of people who display their astrological sign who feel misrepresented by the fact they're giving off the impression that they care about astrology.

But it's true, one of the reasons why I trusted that your blog would be worth my time is that a couple of you expressed a liking of Paul Auster.

Anonymous said...

I started out by not adding anything to my profile, then I got braver and gradually compiled a list of favourites, then I had a brief anxiety attack preceded by the thought of someone reading said profile (unlikely) and assuming that I was massively egotistical with the shameless audacity to share my opinions about highly important matters such as authors and films (strange, considering that shared thoughts seem to be the crux of 'blogs') and then I closed my profile. What a relief.

Anonymous said...

b, I don't know why people find you intimidating. You are basically a very nice guy.

I guess a blog community is like any other community - it has its own unwritten rules and lists of what is in and what is out. It is very easy to impose oneself on a blogmune (to be that poor misfit who thinks he's part of the 'in' crowd). So you're always looking for signs of acceptance (then, if you find such signs, you worry that people were just being polite).

Paul is a member of a Forum of property investors. One of their rules is to pat each other on the back and congratulate each other on their magnificent postings. Because to be a property investor you need to be motivated. They have no time for people with negative attitudes, and they take any form of criticism as negativity. Dis om van siek te word.

This blog does not seem to have the same outlook. I am still trying to figure out the rules, but this is what I've come up with so far:

1. a pattern tub does not tolerate idiots. (So spelling mistakes, multiple attempts at making a posting, confessing ignorance, or making false claims are to be avoided at all times.)

I'll leave it at that. Perhaps you guys can write up the rules for the benefit of visitors.

Liezl

b said...

dear anonymous anon

i can see you're still not over your issues - we can't see your profile!

(or did you mean by close your profile that it doesn't exist anymore?)

:)


liezl

it's true that some of us can be quite harsh in our comments - but mostly they are just honest. it's not true that we don't tolerate ignorance (especially when confessed), we don't even know who that specific commentator was.
ignorance is obviously relative, and teaching each other things is at least half the point.

i have spotted spelling mistakes in many of our posts. we'd rather not make them, but that is certainly not a big issue.


making false claims - yes, you will be told you are making false claims in no uncertain terms (i know). especially those who post must watch their step.

obviously all the members of a pattern tub want posts to be of a high quality (that's the nature of any publication). It's not that easy to judge your own post, so you have to make a leap of faith. sometimes you fall a 100 storeys.

Anonymous said...

For the record, the property investment forum I regularly post on (nearly 500 posts so far) is not a big group hug session, infested with back-patters. BS artists are taken to task, and opinions need to be carefully qualified and often vigourously defended.

My wife and I often undermine each other in public. Its her fault - she had a difficult upbringing. (b - back me up here man.)

I'm still anonomous here, but over on the other forum I'm out there. I had difficulty choosing my profile. First it was "future investor, looking to learn as much as possible before purchasing an IP". (That's property talk for "investment property" - we have our own little language.) Now, having purchased, I'm a "new investor, doing as much research as possible". One day, I'll be a "Tycoon, doing as much research as possible". I enjoy research.

Another problem I had was listing my hobbies. One thing I enjoy doing is killing small furry animals. My wife disapproves, and I'm sure the animals would disapprove too, if they weren't so dumb. So do I, or don't I, list "shooting" as one of my hobbies? (That is, do I or don't I, want to appear to be a psycho?)

But perhaps the biggest single statement of one's identity, and the primary source of OLICD (on-line identity confusion disorder), is the choice of one's username. That is what other users see before they choose to view your profile. So what do you do? I see that the blog has a "b". Nice, concise, and second only to "a".

As soon as I can choose a username for this blog, then I'll become legit. Any suggestions welcome. (Please, no sheep jokes.)

One last thing - when I log in as an anonymous user, I need to enter a "word verification" which appears to be a randomly generated sequence of letter. Why is it that the resulting string of letters is (a) always pronounceable, and (b) sounds like it would be a swear word in south America?

Paul.

Anonymous said...

Hello b

My profile is well and truly closed. I made my comment anonymously to be funny (I thought it suited the essence of my posting) now I just like being shrouded in mystery.

;)

Liezl said...

About Paul's group-hug sessions:

If anyone doubts me go to:

http://www.propertytalk.com/component/option,com_ptnews/Itemid,156/

yourself. You will notice that Superdad is one of the only ones who takes BS artists to task, and he is very often ridiculed for it.

b:

I like the fact that you set high standards, and I like the brutal honesty. One thing I dislike about the information age is having to wade through all the rubbish out there. We all make the odd typo, but you have no idea what I have to put up with daily.

Hi, Liezl:

How r u ? I'm very appreciate your lecture and you are very friendly for international students. I'll graduate in this month if I pass this course.

I'm worried about my grade...I'm discussing my honour degree with my department, when can I get the grade of this course? How about our participation assessment? Although I always keep quiet in class but I can learn something through the other students discussion.

Thank u for your help!

Kind Regardings,

X

Hence the sense of relief everytime I vitit the p tub. (Or perhaps insisting on correct spelling and good grammar is just another way in which we snobbishly try to distinguish ourselves from the lower classes?)

So anonymous: if by nothing else we will judge you by your spelling!

Liezl said...

visit, dammit, viSit!

Anonymous said...

I often comment anonymously...please specify which entry your judgement pertains to as I suffer persecutory delusions of self-relevance and always assume that any criticism is relevant to my work and I know it is impossible to correct all errors but I have no editor to rely on. Apologies.

Liezl said...

anonymous:

(Are you serious?) I was not criticising your writing, just pointing out that you will be judged, even if we don't have access to your profile. So far you're looking good.

(I don't have a profile because I'm not sufficiently computer literate to figure out how to subscribe - or whatever you call it. Please don't judge me.)

Anonymous said...

Hold on a minute, there are two anonymouses (or are we anonymousi?) here. I'm the mysterious one. I didn't take any comments to heart. The last anonymous wasn't me! :) I'm prety connfident in my spelin.

Anonymous said...

Oh for God's sake Anonymous, get a name! Both of you!

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