The Mediatization of the Self in Blogs: Journal Styled Weblogs as Spectacle in the Consumer Society

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Online diaries or journal styled weblogs have often been compared to traditional written diaries. This comparative strategy has been adopted by scholars of biography and communication, to investigate the practice of self-documentation as it transitions from a private and solipsistic act, to a public and communal one. Using textual methods to analyze a purposive sample of journal styled blogs and their cultural intertexts, my research suggests that weblogs can be more productively understood as a form of 'mediatization' rather than as documentation of the self. This 'mediatization' can be read as a practice in which bloggers write about their selves and their lives according to the conventions of the media, and in the language of fame and celebrity. This form of self-documentation is dissimilar to traditional diary writing, because of the way it subordinates the function of private reflection to public verification. The mediatized self in blogs resonates with modes of selfhood under the auspices of accelerating consumerism, which are pliant and performative as opposed to essential. Using this line of reasoning, my research discursively analyzes this mediatized self in blogs, as a spectacle in the consumer society.

Keywords: Weblog, Online Identity, Online Community, Narrative
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Living at the Border or Living Across the Border

Aleena Chia

Master's Candidate, Teaching Assistant, Communications and New Media Program
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore

Singapore, Singapore

I earned my Bachelor's degree in Sociology at the University of Melbourne. While there, I had the chance to intern with, and publish a policy paper for the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, a leading youth advocacy group, which evaluated the benefits and challenges involved in the use of information technologies by disadvantaged young people. In addition, my honors thesis examined the technologically-enabled strategies of empowerment used by female gamers in networked gaming centers, to resist against gender discrimination. These findings were subsequently presented at a local conference in Singapore (2007 NUS-Yonsei Joint Conference). Currently, my research interests include the study of online identities and online communities in the practice of blogging.

Ref: T08P0066