Saturday, 10 October 2009

Biography, Winter 2003: 2

I've already written about the issue in the Biography journal devoted to Online Lives. I read the second article, Teaching an Old Genre New Tricks: The Diary on the Internet by Laurie McNeill this morning and I am now writing up the notes that I pencilled at the time.

As with my posts about tutorials, I am doing this for my sole benefit, to find out whether this particular use of a blog is an efficient way of storing notes. My comments on the summary are in square brackets.

This article examines the diary's transformation from print culture practice to online phenomenon, considering the implications of this change for the diary as a literary genre and as life writing. This discussion explores the challenges the online diary represents to traditional concepts of the genre as private and monologic, investigating the ways in which online diarists attract readers, build communities, and create identities in cyberspace.

Her personal reaction to ODs (online diaries): "supersize narcissism", much badly written/unedited

PDs (physical diaries) "associated with the spiritual, the therapeutic, and the strictly private" – delays before publication (if ever)

ODs now easily launched thru' templates from Diaryland, Blogger and LiveJournal [all still active: need to study further] – not private (but some exceptions) – all published – facility for retro-writing – should this be allowed/encouraged?

03/02 800K blogs registered [with whom and how? how many now?]

"Readers expect self-exposure and the telling of secrets"

"The confessor stays behind the 'grille' of the Internet, allowing the diarist – and the – reader – the illusion of anonymity necessary for 'full' self-exposure

V Woolf on PD: "capacious hold-all"

With PDs, diary and journal (usually) regarded as synonymous. Distinction made by some ODists (e.g. Jane Pinckard, with former=immediate, latter=reflective) [JP still active: see]

With pics and sound, OD carries on diary-as-scrapbook tradition

Links can anchor narrative in "actual" places, or to external posts

"ODists have made community-building a major component of their texts", e.g. via Webrings which legitimate/endorse ODs

Newbies can use [About me], [FAQs], [Cast], [First time?] links on Home Page to join community fast

ODists crave feedback, hence hit counters, guestbooks, forums and e-mail address. Resentment of readers who don't contact (=lurkers/blurkers)

"Absence of an active, responsive audience would be a significant blow"

Password protection can limit access to certain parts of site to privileged readers

OD is "new artform", Steve Schachlin, OD pioneer (1996) and AIDS campaigner. Confusion of textual and lived life, with "S now both producer and product of his autobiographical narrative" (paralleled by his offline career as speaker): see "Living in the Bonus Round"

[Note all the above refers to personal websites or templates more sophisticated than Blogger]
[These notes say insufficient about how ODists attract readers: go back and add more]

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