Wednesday, 4 April 2012

WEB206 - Week 5: The Personal Voice

As we move through this course we need to consider how online writing is influenced by the platform on which it is to be published and by the narrative mode/genre of the piece. Over this week and the next we are going to consider how blogs (the platform) can be used to write personal narratives and/or informative pieces created for broader public consumption. Each of these modes produces different effects for readers and consequently attracts different audiences. Thus, we need to think about the context in which we use them and where one is more suitable than the other.

Problematically however, in the context of the Internet, it quickly becomes apparent that any clear distinctions between personal and public writing are blurred. As we have seen, anything we write on the Web is effectively public. Given this, we need to consider how personal narratives and disclosure affect readers and work towards the creation of an online identity.

This week's readings:
Luders, M. (2008). Conceptualizing Personal Media. New Media & Society, 10(5).
Available through the library database.
Walker, J. (2008). Blogs, Literacies and the Collapse of Private and Public. Leonardo Electronic Almanac, 16(2-3). Available: http://jilltxt.net/txt/Blogs--Literacy%20-and-the-Collapse-of-Private-and-Public.pdf
McCullagh, K. (2008). Blogging: self presentation and privacy. Information & Communications Technology Law, 17(1), 3-23. Available through the library database.

In what way do you see the function of traditional mass-media and so-called personal media as being different?

Traditional mass-media is one-way, broadcast media, which is very passive for users - all they need to do is read. The media do the filtering and present what is newsworthy. In contrast, personal media is two-way and invites the user to participate.

Today's blogging and other participatory media requires readers to be writers and writers to be readers simultaneously. While there is still a large element of solitude in reading and writing online, we see the conversational and social aspects of this literacy increasing steadily (Walker, 2008, p8).

Walker, J. (2008). Blogs, Literacies and the Collapse of Private and Public. Leonardo Electronic Almanac, 16(2-3). Available: http://jilltxt.net/txt/Blogs--Literacy%20-and-the-Collapse-of-Private-and-Public.pdf

In what way do you see the form of traditional mass-media and so-called personal media as being different?
In some ways the form is similar - for example, Walker compares pamphlets and periodicals from the 17th century with today's blogs and notes that neither are published in episodic format (Walker, 2008, p4). However, the digital aspect of the presentation, and the readership base are very different.

Walker, J. (2008). Blogs, Literacies and the Collapse of Private and Public. Leonardo Electronic Almanac, 16(2-3). Available: http://jilltxt.net/txt/Blogs--Literacy%20-and-the-Collapse-of-Private-and-Public.pdf

In what way do you see the reliability of traditional mass-media and so-called personal media as being different?
Because traditional mass-media is professionally produced, there has always been a sense that the information provided is reliable, just "reporting the news", without opinion. However, in recent times there has been a shift to making items more newsworthy, which has resulted in more sensationalism, opinions being presented as fact, and politically-skewed information. As well, traditional mass-media is filtered by those organisations, and the most newsworthy events are broadcast. Personal media, while not "professional", could in some ways be viewed as more "honest", and is generally more unfiltered. For example, McCullagh says that in a survey, over 60% of people said that their reason for blogging was "to document your personal experiences and share them with others", and less than 2% said it was "to make money" (McCullagh, 2008).

McCullagh, K. (2008). Blogging: self presentation and privacy. Information & Communications Technology Law, 17(1), 3-23. Available through the library database.
Writing Task:  Available at http://blog.websolutionz.com.au/2012/04/narrating-personal-interest.html
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