Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Personal publication and public attention

In the area between private and public, the weblogs or blogs have become tools of personal expression. While news-media and academic discussion focus on the high-end of public journaling: the blog as a tool for research, for spreading news, for stating opinions and for collaborative projects of a culturally acceptable quality, the blog has become a tool, a medium and a channel for a lot more than high culture.

In this paper I wish to treat blogs as a medium, and through cultural theory concerning the public sphere and the conflicts between “high” and “low” culture explore the blog’s position between public and private. Blogging compares to other media where these conflicts are expressed and even exploited, using the structure of the reality drama through the continuity, the angle towards the personal experience and the repetitive dramatic curve, newspaper columns through the social, political or simply entertaining commentary on current events, and autobiographies, public diaries and travel-letters, in blogging most common as travel-logs, a well-established blog genre.

Where traditional media make short-term, controlled excursions into the private sphere, blogs penetrate deeply, claiming for their own the territory between mass publication and the personal diary. In this article I am addressing the playful or simply personal weblog that most of the time escapes public notice and rarely makes its way to the prestigious blogrolls. I wish to explore the structure and content of what Pierre Bourdieu might have called “the barbaric blog”, in order to discuss moral and ethical aspects of amateur publishing with its potential for world-wide public attention.

This is the abstract for my paper to the online collection Into the Blogosphere. I don't know who else will submit papers for this yet, but I know that several of the people I like and admire who write of new media and online publication will be represented in this collection. I am pretty sure to be in exellent company! The deadline is December 1st, and for the first time for a long while I am looking forwards to the writing process! I have always liked writing, and deadlines have inspired me, but the thesis almost killed that pleasure. Now it feels like that hole in my time will be filled, and I am anxiously looking forwards to the process. Fun!

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