A blog about using blogs. Torill Mortensen and Jill Walker wrote: "Blogging Thoughts, personal publication as an online research tool". Next project is: "Intimate Confessions and Public Display". This blog works as space in which to collect ideas and tangents to this research.
Intimacy and publicity
Blogs are closely connected to the rhythm of daily lives. The postings are structured not by importance, topic or sensationalism, but by time. This way we get a journal which - while it's submitting to the strict linearity of time, it also submits to the non-linearity of how things happen. Lives are not structured by narrative models or dramatic curves, life is structured by the randomness of social networks, associations, nature, imagination, same as by the repetitiveness of certain needs: food, sleep, warmth, safety.
When the blogger publishes, this structure of life shines through. Noah makes a point out of his first personal post, when his private life shines through. But for those who know Noah, his personality has been evident all along. Look for instance, at how he attempts to put a discussion back on track: However, the conversation I hoped to start was not about who is lucky enough to live somewhere with a good, independent bookstore. I think the important issue here is link politics. This is Noah the organised, structured scholar, the man who likes to maintain focus, and who moderates discussions quite well and with a very friendly, positive voice. Now blogs don't let themselves be moderated like that, because the people he tries to get back on track don't need his moderation in order to speak: each and every one of them are in their own environment, where they can express their personal thoughts.
Occasionally blogs run parallel or keep referring back and forth to each other, and you get the impression of an public conversation. But how public is this conversation? Is it between the two, or are they using the conversation form to address the public? Perhaps they use the conversation - or comment - comment - comment form to develop, test and post their own thoughts, not really directed at anybody in particular? Again the tension between the public and the intimate: even in research blogs the personality and the events of life overrides the routines of blogging. Gonzalo travels to Europe, and ludology.org is suddenly slightly erratic. Adrian goes travelling, and his vlog concerns itself with non-spaces and nomadic writing. Jill gets problems with her hands, and she doesn't write for along period. These are traces of the body, the life of the writer, which may not be as explicitly personal as Noah's post about his car-crash, my posts about weather and life in Volda, Jill's posts about what Gonzalo will have for dinner when he arrives in Bergen, or Adrian's posts about the difficulties of having your heart in two countries.
The personally published blog contains this tension between the public and the intimate, no matter how much we work to keep to some academic topic in the blogging. Perhaps is that what makes it interesting?
posted by Torill at 00:50
Liz Lawley of Mamamusings posted this excerpt from a mailing list discussion of why / how blogs might be taking over after/from an email discussion culture. Apparently Foucault argues that western notions of subjectivity were developed through letter-writing and then (or simultaneously?) diary-writing. We should hunt down this reference for our intimacy article. Here's the excerpt from the mailing list post (by Jeffrey Jullich), the rest is archived here.
it reminded me of Foucault's ~Technologies of Self,~ as if that book had predicted this. In short, what ~Technologies~ says is that the two main forms by
which the West built up (the illusion of) Self and
the subject, how the West invented subjectivity, was
through letter-writing and diary-keeping. Having been
through a letter-writing phase (for a short seven
years ---since March 1994? The new List interface no
longer sub-divides into Archives and Early Archives),
for mysterious reasons the List atrophies and
"bloggers" begin to spawn off of it. Is it that the
preliminary exercise of having practiced Self through
a communal letter-writing mode has nurtured a
sufficient basis of Self for them to individuate off
(as though "blogging" paralleled the maturational
phase away from family)?
posted by Jill at 07:07
Intimacy and publicity, the ambivalence of blogs, is a dicotomy both tantalizing and confusing. This is the topic of our next blog exploration, one which will be run alongside the rest of our work. It's pure fun because we enjoy working together and like the way our different theoretical approaches enhance the finished work. We have not started looking for a place to publish it yet, finding a channel for the article is part of the process this time.