The cyclical blog, or how meaning may accumulate

by Josh Kimball

Being partially braindead, I’ve lately been thinking a lot about conceptual repetition in blogging. I’m not concerned with technologies, ways of working, subject matter or rhetorical style, really (or at least, the ideas don’t start there). Rather, I find myself having the fairly regular urge to post and re-post certain items, over and over.

I don’t want to do this to bore my very few readers, but rather I feel like a good link’s meaning can and does change depending on its context (including the temporal). Things get more interesting when this assumption’s taken to its logical conclusion.

I’ve of course seen (and maybe written about) disposable blogs (blogs with intentionally limited lifespans) before, and there are many blogs that exist outside of time (repostings of diaries and journals from historical figures such as Samuel Pepys). I’m now wondering, though, if any cyclical blogs exist; modern-day blogs that click through a cycle (preferably with culturally aware posts that are optimized to accumulate meaning with each repetition). At its best, a cyclical blog would be an online version of Borges’ Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote, in which each old post within a new cycle – despite being word-for-word, link-for-link the same as the original – would be richer and more meaningful than the same post the previous time around.

The links I feel compelled to repeat, though, are not timeless at all, and I think I may be the only person who could ascribe new meanings to them as they are repeated. Just a few of the long list of links I sometimes feel compelled to repeat, ad absurdum:
-A BBC article predicting that there will eventually be two kinds of humans.
-Flying Wangs attack Second Life reporters.
-Lemon party. (Kidding!) Ugh. Sorry.
-Dave Matthews Band blamed for human waste
-Phone guy EXT. OFFICE PARK.

About these ads