Articles on blogging

Thanks to The Reading Experience, I just spent an hour or so reading through some of the articles in the latest issue of Reconstruction: Studies in Contemporary Culture; they’ve got an issue on blogging. Here’s one excerpt, from danah boyd’s essay “A Blogger’s Blog: Exploring the Definition of a Medium”:

The blurring of spatiality and corporeality introduces the blurring between the public and the private. While outsiders are frequently horrified by what bloggers say under the impression that they don’t realize they are speaking in public, most bloggers are quite aware of the public nature of their performance. The difference is that this conception of the public in an embodied one. Everyday, people walk into public and talk about what is on their mind, what they are passionate about to their friends. Intimate conversations can be overheard on buses, philosophical ones in cafes, and playful ones in the park. The target audience is not the public at large, but those for whom the topics of discussion matter. For most people, the idea of speaking to a constructed audience in public is not a fearful one because a conception of public does not mean all people over all time and space.

In the physical world, there’s a desire to attract those of like minds by talking in public. There is often something joyful about having a person at a neighboring table join in an intellectual conversation or getting support, even in the form of knowing eyes, from a stranger on a bus. These kinds of interactions can introduce us to new friends. The practice of adorning oneself with fashion markers is often a call for potential like minds to come forward. We perform in public to see and be seen.

In the digital world, we use search to seek out strangers with similar conceptions of the world. We decorate our corporeal blogs and wander out amongst other blogs as digital flâneurs. The blogosphere is the imagined public sphere, the space inhabited by all of the public digital bodies.

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Articles on blogging

  1. I know what I’ll be reading later. Thanks for the link!

  2. Yes, I’ll also be taking a further look at that. Great resource. I like the comparison of blogging to a philosophical conversation – or even just a conversation – in a cafe. Blogging for me is all the subjects I would talk about in a cafe with one of my best friends, or my husband, perhaps leaving out certain dissections of relationships that might occur. So I’m using the imagined public sphere to have a conversation, but leaving out some of the details that might embarrass or shame.

  3. I will have to print some of those articles out–thanks for the links. I think Boyd is right in what she says–I think blogging is like leaning over and listening in on someone else’s conversation and adding to it. You don’t know the people, but you can tell you are like minded. It is just moving the conversation out of the cafe an into the blogosphere–that’s progress for you.

  4. Stefanie, you’re welcome — the articles are rather dry and academic — in that boring academic way, but the ones I looked at had some interesting insights. Charlotte and Danielle, yes, that metaphor of a cafe where the conversation takes place among some people who know each other but that expands to include others who happen to be interested is a nice one. People talk about whatever interests them, in a way that can sometimes be personal but not necessarily intimate or overly revealing.

  5. I’ll echo everyone else’s thanks for the link. Very interesting indeed. I’m so intrigued by the supposed breakdown of the public/private barrier in the cyberworld. It’s spoken about as if the last taboo has finally been broken, but look at our celebrity-obsessed, media-intrusive, image driven world! That old barrier went long, long ago.

  6. I’m so glad you directed our attention to one of the friendlier bits on blogging! I’m mid-stream in grad school and am thirsty for non-academic writing, and when I went to the link, as you mentioned, I did see some ‘dry’ writing about what is otherwise a fascinating topic!!

    I’d forgotten about the ‘literary salon’ until I read a piece from Bitch PhD– and then looking at your comment, I started thinking about how blogs are quite salon-like.. they can be like a good conversation in a cafe.. I’ve spent time in many in my day.. but having been stuck in Los Angeles for a large part of the last seven years, much of my cafe-conversation has been lacking in fiber! I miss the cafe days of undergrad when everyone was so excited to explore new ideas.

    With that experience, blogging seems more like a salon in that the older we get, the more we can add experience to inquiry, and the more interesting our conversations can become..

    Grazie mille del link!!

  7. You’re right Litlove — I wonder if people go a bit too far in talking about the new things that blogs do? Although I found the discussion of how we reveal things in public all the time to be helpful — blogging doesn’t have to be so very self-revealing, any more than walking outdoors is.

    Artemis, yes, indeed — why take the life out of a fascinating topic by writing about it so blandly? And yes, the salon is a great metaphor; it’s just that everything’s written, which appeals to me, not being the greatest speaker in the world.

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