May 15, 2003

About Place

What does it mean to have (and want to share) a 'sense of place'? This sense of wanting to find or share one's connectedness to his or her surroundings... urban, surburban or rural... finds expression in a quiet corner of the blogging world. I know of only two places where such 'blogs about place' are identified and grouped (Bowen Island Journal and Rebecca Bloods Webloggia). But surely, in the varied posts of all the tens of thousands of bloggers across the globe, there are many, many entries that celebrate nature, beauty, natural and local human history, or culture attached to location. What is it that 'place bloggers' hope to express? Why do readers come to read? Is there potential to grow a sense of community within this niche within the growing weblog-way of self-expression?

Recently, Lisa Thompson of Field Notes and I presented what I called a 'duoblog' with our perceptions of one representation of place and man's relationship to it. From that post, we have met and been communicating over the past week with the blogging couple Pica and Numenius from Feathers of Hope in California about the possible merits of promoting a greater visibility and stronger sense of community within blogs that are already (self- or outsider-) identified as 'blogs about place'. (Pica pens some thoughts on the subject in this post).

Perhaps there are some readers of these three weblogs who at times in your writing about politics or pets or pottery have 'celebrations of the life outside'... a bit of nature or biological interest, a reflection of the history of some plot of special ground, an image of a landscape or some fragment of it... that would find company with other similar offerings. Would a central 'watering hole' for this (as yet poorly defined) type of subject matter be worth creating?

I am longer on ideas than I am on technology. If and when we (= whoever the group of correspondents on the subject turns out to be) have an AHA! moment and decide what to do, putting feet on it will be beyond my technological experience. We may be soliciting opinions and a few techie hints as we discuss what (if anything) might become of 'blogs of place'. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts. (I am posting this in a most unformed state, but have come to expect your indulgence... lord knows the other unformed twaddle I've broadcast in the past 13 months and gotten away with it!)

I'd work out my thoughts with greater precision, but it is time before the rain comes in later this morning to put the first patch of Silver Queen in the ground. And I am hoping that this year, the garden soil will not be as far down as it was last year! Funny how that happens, n'est ce pas?

Posted by fred1st at May 15, 2003 10:17 AM | TrackBack

I think a community square so-to-say of "place" bloggers would be a great idea and as a designer and owner of my own servers would be greatly enthused about participating in such a project and developing it. Just reading this has sent synapses firing away with imaginings of a central site, geographical in interaction, and centralizing in function. I imagine a community site focused on place rather than name, a map, a forum, a central access point of collaboration, and guide for readers. Imagery would be the most important element in imparting the sense of place on something so ethereal as the web. Let me know what you guys think and are thinking, maybe I can help or participate.

Posted by: Josh at May 15, 2003 10:45 AM

When I was musing about this topic back in January, the thing I was noticing first of all was that blogging place means primarily linking to the land, instead of other places on the web. While we all include hyperlinks, what I try to do is assemble the constituent elements of the geography around me into a landscape: one that includes me and my social world as well as the natural world in which we are nested.

For more, have a peek at:


and over at Flemming Funch's place:

How do we link to each other? What does it mean for us to link places through our interpretations of them?

It is what Pierre Teillhard de Chardin mused about 50 years ago in his thoughts on the noosphere. The connections are made in our minds, the links are made with our fingers, and suddenly landscapes begin to merge and blend and draw their meaning from each other.

Anyway...when are you coming to visit? :-)

Posted by: Chris at May 16, 2003 02:17 AM

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