Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

The collision of fronts

December 11, 2007

I have been thinking for a while now about a post on Design Research about the problems with Facebook’s attempt to monetize its social network assets (that’s us) by making us into unwitting viral marketers. The author, Sam Ladner, reminds us of Erving Goffman’s notion of “the front”:

Using the theatre as a metaphor Goffman argued that we actually “perform” multiple selves. Each place we go has a “front” that we learn to incorporate. A front has a wardrobe, a setting, a decor, make-up, a script and stage direction.

Ladner argues that

Facebook’s Beacon didn’t work because it forces people to use multiple fronts AT THE SAME TIME.

In my view, even without Beacon, Facebook has that propensity. And so does blogging, particularly this kind of blogging where some of us are attempting to integrate blogging about our research and blogging about whatever else we want to blog about, including ourselves. We can choose what we blog about, which is a lot better than having our online purchases broadcast to everyone on our social network (surely they thought how embarrassing that could be?). But if we are going to blog in our real names about real things then there will be a collision of fronts.

Sam Ladner has pinpointed for me the issue that I felt but wasn’t articulating so well, which has been holding me back from “research blogging”. Now all I have to do is work out how to use multiple fronts at the same time without worrying. No – I have to start enjoying it!


The end of the internet as we know it – again

October 23, 2007

It looks as though there is yet another way to end the internet as we know it. Italy is doing it this time, by drafting a law which will, if enacted, make it compulsory for every blogger to register, to pay tax (whether or not the blog is for money-making), to form a publishing company that will hire a registered qualified journalist to be the director of the blog…

Which would wipe out upwards of 99% of blogs – and that is probably the idea. For more, see Beppe Grillo’s Blog.

Some folks don’t seem to like the fact that citizens are currently able to publish what we like, and to sometimes contribute significantly to public affairs. Fixated on that, these legislators also forget that most blogs are innocuous expressions of people’s daily lives. I mean, what about knitting blogs? Will they have to do all that too? What a farce. The Italian legislators are starting to resemble Senator Ted Stevens I am afraid.

[I know knitting blogs were unfairly bagged out during the Aulstralian Blogging Conference, and I defended them. I promise I will post some of my knitting soon.]