cyberdivalive (cyberdivalive) wrote in virtucomm,

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blogging "communities" - individual monologues...

I'm probably repeating myself again - The blogging interface on most blogs - is frustrating in that it centers the monologue.

In livejournal an illusion of conversational interactivity seems at least possible - but the organization of conversations becomes inefficient there too (which is why I suppose the "friend cut" happens - when someone is trying to do a sort of "spring cleaning" on their LJ...)

Anyways - Like T. S. said at the precon in aoir - it took 5 years for researchers to actually begin to examine LJ - but is this perhaps also generational?

Can one experience LJ cyber-ethnographically if one is old enough to be an academic producing what is officially recognized as "research" - who lives there?


Anyone care to discuss this?
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Depends on which "slice" of LJ you want to study. There are many many sub-communities and many of those are made up of non-teens. In general ethnography depends on the ethnographer being able to sympathetically enter the mindset of those studied but this is arguably more likely to be successful where the cultures are similar.

P.S. I wonder if we met at AoIR?
You write "In general ethnography depends on the ethnographer being able to sympathetically enter the mindset of those studied but this is arguably more likely to be successful where the cultures are similar."

which of course goes to show that there is no fully "virtual" community...

"P.S. I wonder if we met at AoIR?"

I was there only until Friday morning - but maybe we inhabited some common spaces - cant say - most white men look the same (:)) in a crowd.

- (If indeed your userpic is one of you, I'd say...) there are more people at aoir that look like you, I'm afraid than those that look like me ..
the nature of blogging plays right into the emerging so-called "egocasting" phenom, in which you tailor your media intake to be only things that are interesting and relevant to you. There are pros and cons to this; the obvious pro is getting more entertainment value, the obvious con is not exposing yourself to new or different viewpoints. livejournal is perhaps the most perfect realization of an egocasting model that i can possibly imagine.

as to research: w/ever. individual researchers will and will not click with various aspects of cyberculture, and it has nothing to do with their age and everything to do with their willingness to accept and understand it as a legitimate medium. i will agree that there is very likely a large correlation between that sort of openness and young people, but i don't think that age is a causal factor, nor is youth a precondition to acceptance.
Of course not, but I think age might play a large part simply because of exposure. A much higher percentage of high school and college aged kids know about the mere existance of livejournal, versus our parents and older professors who simply don't spend as much time exploring online because it's not such a part of their general habits. That's not to mention how much the younger generation has seen blogging communities directly influence friends and interest groups. Again it's not so much to do with openness (which is not necessarily age-related), but with the younger generation being more accustomed to the cyber world as a major part of social interaction.
on the one hand.

on the other hand, communication and sociological study, in general, is performed in fairly specialized areas, and the people that study it tend to go deeper into their areas of specialty rather than study a broad range of topics. (execptions to this rule abound, of course; i'm talking macro picture here) as such I would expect that those who are studying the internet, if they aren't aware of livejournal, become aware of it pretty quickly, and those who are unaware of it completely are unlikely to be studying cyberculture in much depth.
ego casting

looks very much like
niche marketing


perhaps the practice of "egocasting" is a socio-cultural practice - more likely found in a generation that grew up with it?
that's certainly part of it, but i think it has as much to do with the fact that there's so many freakin channels out there now, that the sheer volume of stuff they need to fill them pushes us toward egocasting whether we want it to or not.

egocasting was impossible when there were only 3 TV networks.
egocasting was impossible when there were only 7 viable commercial radio genres.
egocasting was impossible when the only alternative to newspapers was hand-produced 'zines that had a limited production run and local distribution channel.

those that have grown up with this expansion have a more native understanding of how to navigate it, but the practice simply wasn't an option 20 years ago.

Re: egocasting


12 years ago

re: the researchers. We're out there, and we're young. I think it's harder for older researchers to approach LJ only because they are already set into their areas of interest at this point. The wave of studies of places like LJ has to come from the younger students, people who are going to approach their dissertation with discussions of cyber community in mind.

And we're presenting at conferences and the older generation is listening. Some of us are even getting published, but it's a new enough field that it's going to take time to get everyone's attention.
I produce research (and I'm interested in looking at new stuff generated) about LiveJournal, and I'm uh, old. I believe that the trend has not been about age as much which technologies get cast as "kid domains." Four years ago, it was LJ. Now it's Xanga. In a year, it will be something else.


12 years ago

I hear ya - I know you guys are out there doing stuff. Even with early moo ing and BB and email list research - the issue of "generations" of researchers was true.

Its got my attention:)

I think it's possible to do ethnographic research online. It seems to be trendy and popular in the last few years to be doing ethnography of the internet, but I really question the usefulness of ethnography for studying the internet mainly because the internet is not really a marginal phenomenon anymore that has to be studied as though the people who use it are a different tribe or civilisation. Normal people from many cultures use the net for what are increasingly mundane and everyday things. We've established their practises, so what is the bigger picture that they're part of?

dare i say that part of that challenge, in my humble opinion, needs to be that people in the academic community (and it is running rampant) stop putting "e-" and "cyber-" in front of existing words in order to separate them from their apparently "real life" equivalent.

just like the cliched sayings that "the internet = cyberspace", or that "the internet is a 'virtual' space". it's perpetuating stories through culture that are just silly and misleading.

heehee- I agree with you - there is nothing unreal about online interaction.

I myself am trying to unpack the virtual/real binary - unnecessarily set up by discourse about the Internet (and itsnot just the academics that do this - the news, and even a lot of online exchanges replay this as a binary)

by locating online activity as embedded in everyday practice - just as being "on the telephone" is not outside of "real life" - ...

are you saying resarchers may be too jaded to effectively research, or that the'yre ignorant by virtue of their cyber-age? im trying to gauge your position- imply that it may be necesssary to "experience" lj to "truly" observe it. this is where you lose me. what qualifies as research to you, in this context?
will catch up with this thread sometime soon...