Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Medium is the Message

Blogs are a fairly new method of communication, and they require a certain format to be followed. The mark of any great art is that it does things with the medium that can only be done in that medium. A great movie shows something in a way that a still image could not, accompanied by music and dialog that fit just right. A great musical uses not just the lyrics, but also the tone and rhythm of the songs to convey its message. A great game engages the player in a way that no movie could. So what, then, could a tiny blog post on the Internet do that combines form and function?

First of all, I strive to make my posts fun to read. If the post is nothing but a dry info-dump, people will read it because they have to, not because they want to. I also try to make the image at the start of the post somehow striking or subtly humorous in context with the text, like in this post.

As with the images, I try to include jokes in the text that you'll get if you're paying attention. For example, in this post, I tried to pack in as many Seth sayings/memes as possible. In this post I wanted to repeat "Hope you like this!" at least twice, as it is repeated ad nauseum in the video. In that same post I start off with a cliche, which is usually a sign of poor, lazy writing; however, I wanted the cliche to invoke that tired, been-there done-that feeling that is similar to how people already feel about Yun. Form and function united in that lame cliche.

Mind you, all of this is being decided on-the-fly, so I worry that I might run out of interesting things to say. I've been doing alright so far and hope to keep up both the pace and quality of my posts. If you see me slacking, feel free to call me on it.

There's also the problem of plagiarism, although news reporting blurs the line of the fair-use doctrine. As I mentioned, Keits has already copied some of my stuff nearly word-for-word on SRK, without crediting iPlayWinner. Using offbeat wording can help to give a uniqueness that can't be easily copied. I found this out by accident when Keits copied my Tekken article. It would look fishy if he also called Bob a "pudgy pugilist," so he went with "the tubbiest man in Tekken." On the other hand, I've made sure to credit SRK and EventHubs, even when I just found the original source through them. I'd like to think that it will benefit everyone in the end. Be like the Macy's Santa in Miracle on 34th Street: Give your competition some credit, and they'll return the favor.

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