weblogs and wikis week 2 overview: aggregating

I’m watching for some common themes running through both the practice and the thinking, and it looks to me that we’re off to a wonky start. That’s no different from what I saw on PLENK2010# as participants tried to get a sense of what to do and how to interact, but I want to trace down that wonkyness, try to characterize it.

Here’s Mike Driscoll taking notes on chapters in Rettberg and posting them on Diigo:

–to understand, gotta read them. – wonderful.
–analogy – watching TV series
–cumulative process – most posts pressupose some knowledge of hx of blog and fit into larger story.

and he raises a point that’s calling out for discussion and work

–says online diarists and bloggers use writing as mirror to see self more clearly and “construct themselves as subjects in digital society,” but also as a veil that will always conceal much of life from reader.

–MY THOTS:  what the hell is “construct themselves as subjects in a digital society??”
–why do this online???  –just keep friggin’ journal!  –or see therapist??

Here’s Posted Note on closing his Facebook account.

First, I fear that employers looking at my Facebook will see my as unfit to hold any sort of responsibility. Facebook has painted a slanted portrait of my life.  The only time I appear in photos is when I’m at a party.  I rarely find my way in front of a camera when I’m sober.  The result?  Looking through my Facebook pictures, someone would assume I was a sloppy drunk who does nothing but attend theme parties.  Instead of sorting through the photos and untagging the ones that have a beer in them, I’m choosing to delete my account.  Keeping it would leave me with about six photos and a list of friends, most of which I can hardly remember.

There are two comments on the post – but there is also a connection between what Rettberg writes about digital identity (chap 3?) – which Mike Driscoll mentions in his notes – and MLChambers’s concern about that digital identity. MLChambers’s post even details how a digital identity gets constructed: “I rarely find my way in front of a camera when I’m sober.  The result?  Looking through my Facebook pictures, someone would assume I was a sloppy drunk who does nothing but attend theme parties.”  That, in turn, complicates idea that identity is intentionally constructed. I think dana boyed argues that  that weblogs and Facebook puts us on show and so makes us more aware of how we present our selves, but MLChambers adds an extra angle: the opportunity for creating a performance is skewed. (danah boyd looks into constructions of identities here.)

I have two tracks I might follow at this point: I can look at how participants are creating and managing identities as they make their first posts online. Or continue to catalog the themes that are occurring. Both, I think.

But what I’m seeing is that the posts of these first two weeks are light on bringing forward ideas about blogging itself – those topics that Mike D outlines on Diigo. Some “bird here” phatic signals, and demonstrations of identity and common interests (see Jadelowl and Muse’s comment). And here’s a post identifying the context of the blogging as “for class.” This is also another instance of dumping Facebook (different reasons) and shifting to other social networking circles – a shift that Zach comments on. It’s curious to see the relationship between  Facebook and these other means (blogging and twitter) being sketched out.

Lots from the twitter stream, and some with meta communication. Advice. Lots of it. Some leading to tutorials (WordPress requires authors to approve first time commentors, others links to resources, all getting a sense of how the system is intertwingled. (< I am unduly proud of this link.) Some requests for help (A Partitioned Blog?). A couple of resources on technology. Links to blogs, one via the 2010 bloggies. This last one opens a discussion on how blogs have become an industry, commercialized. Or not. Take it back to Rettberg, chap 1 and 2.

Again: A lot of this is “bird here!” Checking out the system. Building the infrastructure. Testing the water. Drawing people to twitter streams and weblogs to show them what you’ve been doing in your space, to see what the backgrounds are, and who’s following who.

Anyone want to consider these matters? Goes to Rettberg chap 3 on strong and weak links. Diagrams, notes …

So, here’s my thesis for the day morning: Individually, the postings show fragments. Take those fragments together and I can see playing out some of the phenomena of blogging and social media in general that Rettberg mentions.