MAIN POST: week 7 blog question

Week 7:
Lovink (Reader, page 222) also argues that: “No matter how much talk there is of community and mobs, the fact remains that blogs are primarily used as a tool to manage the self”.

Discuss this argument giving an example of a blog.

Blogs are a peculiar sort of medium in that they have links with the most private forms of writing, ie. diaries and journals, yet they are meant to be public pieces of writing. In fact, Lovink notes this history of diary keeping and its relation with blogging, highlighting Thomas Mallon’s arguments about how no one can write anything just for himself (6). This narcissistic, self-centered focus of diary keeping, and in relation, blog writing, contrasts with the model of high interactivity that new media is offering us. Blogs sit on a peculiar boundary between public and private, allowing accessibility and social interactions, based around very personal material.

Lovink’s arguments seem to be very narrow minded, considering the wide range of blogs available on the Internet. These blogs may be similar in its counter-chronological format, yet the writing styles, content and publishing purposes can vary greatly. I agree with Lovink, up to a certain point. There are certain characteristics that distinguish more self-centered blogs from other more content focus blogs, that may contradict Lovink’s claim for blogs as a tool for self management (28).

Most blogs on the Internet take the form of a confessional, personal journal, usually authored by teenage girls from their bedrooms (Solove: 24) (example). These blogs do indeed act as a form of structuring, by writing things down and noting it with pictures, these accounts of day-to-day lives records and reflects on the self accordingly. However there are blogs that are mainly focused on certain content (example), most often authored by more than one blogger, which have none of the personal touches that the confessional blogs have. These blogs usually push for interactivity and community more than personal blogs as they are often commercially backed, meaning that the viewer interest and popularity becomes an important part of the equation.

New York blogger, Gala Darling’s blog is an interesting one, because it sits somewhere neatly in the middle of the above two extremes. The content can be seen to be very community focused, with many entries providing links to interesting websites or inspiring videos, as well as competitions and opportunities for readers to participate in. Yet there seems to be no comment function, which is interesting in considering that comment functions are often provided but do not seem inherent or even necessary to the medium.  The entries often note what she is wearing and where the items are from, as well as the public appearances and job opportunities she has been to. These personal touches can serve a self-reflective function, archiving things that she has experiences by placing them on the web. The most obvious examples are blog entries where she puts together the outfits that she has enjoyed wearing the most during the year – whilst it can be seen to be interesting from a fashion standpoint, the basic impulse is inherently narcissistic.

woowoo

Screen Capture of Gala Darling

(word count: 468)

Daniel J. Solove, ‘How the Free Flow of Informaiton Liberates and Constrains Us’, in The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumour and Privacy on the Internet, New Haven: Yale University Press, pp. 17-49.

Geert Lovink, “Blogging, The Nihilist Impulse”, in Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture, London: Routledge, pp. 1-38.

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