Blogging Futures Prompt 1


For the first prompt of the Blogging Futures course, we want to explore the question of paradigms.

At the heart of this course is a simple question: where do we want blogging to go? Embedded in that question is another equally important one: Where do we not want blogging to go?

So where do we want/not want blogging to go? Are there paradigms you find useful in exploring these questions? Does writing on the web even exist on such a spectrum for you or is it something more complicated?

Along with these questions, there are some paradigms below that could serve as prompts for your own reflection.

Happy writing!

Elevator Music & Punk

If Medium is elevator music, indie blogging is punk.

— Tom Critchlow, “Blogpunk” (source)

Interaction & Indication

One could argue that in a sense retweets and even likes aren’t social media but asocial media because they provide no real information or context. They aren’t an interaction but merely an indication.

— Bix, post on July 23, 2019 (source)

Finite Game & Infinite Game

There are at least two kinds of games: finite and infinite.

A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play. Finite games are those instrumental activities – from sports to politics to wars – in which the participants obey rules, recognize boundaries and announce winners and losers.

The infinite game – there is only one – includes any authentic interaction, from touching to culture, that changes rules, plays with boundaries and exists solely for the purpose of continuing the game.

A finite player seeks power; the infinite one displays self-sufficient strength. Finite games are theatrical, necessitating an audience; infinite ones are dramatic, involving participants...

— James Carse, author of Finite and Infinite Games (source)

The Garden & The Stream

The Garden is an old metaphor associated with hypertext. Those familiar with the history will recognize this. The Garden of Forking Paths from the mid-20th century. The concept of the Wiki Gardener from the 1990s. Mark Bernstein’s 1998 essay Hypertext Gardens.

The Garden is the web as topology. The web as space. It’s the integrative web, the iterative web, the web as an arrangement and rearrangement of things to one another.

Things in the Garden don’t collapse to a single set of relations or canonical sequence, and that’s part of what we mean when we say “the web as topology” or the “web as space”. Every walk through the garden creates new paths, new meanings, and when we add things to the garden we add them in a way that allows many future, unpredicted relationships


The Stream is a newer metaphor with old roots. We can think of the”event stream” of programming, the “lifestream” proposed by researchers in the 1990s. More recently, the term stream has been applied to the never ending parade of twitter, news alerts, and Facebook feeds.

In the stream metaphor you don’t experience the Stream by walking around it and looking at it, or following it to its end. You jump in and let it flow past. You feel the force of it hit you as things float by.

It’s not that you are passive in the Stream. You can be active. But your actions in there — your blog posts, @ mentions, forum comments — exist in a context that is collapsed down to a simple timeline of events that together form a narrative.

In other words, the Stream replaces topology with serialization.

— Mike Caulfield, “The Garden and the Stream” (source)