Annewil Neervens

New Media Blog

The Hardship of a Blogger November 10, 2008

Filed under: Blog,Personal,Web 2.0 — Annewil Neervens @ 20:53 p11

Even though I started this blog only recently and did a pretty good job keeping it updated at first, I must admit (and regular visitors probably already noticed this) I’m not much of a blogger. At least not frequency-wise. Sometimes I’m just too busy. Other times, I can’t find any inspiration. Either way: I don’t blog much. UvA lecturer Anne Helmond gave a lecture on the ‘Perceived Freshness Fetish’, in which she looks at her own blogging addiction and analyses why bloggers feel the need to update their blogs daily.

She divides this Perceived Freshness Fetish into two parts:

1. The ‘internal fetish’, a wish or demand for the blogger himself to update daily.

2. The ‘external fetish’, the requirement from blog search engines to blog daily, thereby achieving a certain ranking.

Looking at my own experiences with blogging, I think this fetish could very well explain the need for bloggers to blog. Once my blog was up, I had to post. Of course, no one orders me to do this. But my blog is what represents me on the Web and since I’ve created it I HAVE to keep it up. It’s something I feel internally. Perhaps this makes it more about others (the blog readers in this case) and less about me. Which makes me wonder: why am I blogging in the first place and who am I blogging for? I think it’s safe to say that I’m not just blogging for myself, I hope to reach a certain audience and receive some feedback.

Not being a natural blogger, I constantly struggle with the question if I should blog randomly just to add a post (keeping my stats up) or if I should hold out until there’s actually something interesting to write about. It’s not that I don’t enjoy keeping a blog, it’s just not second nature to me. I have to make an effort to blog.

The external fetish is also something I’ve experienced. If I do not update my blog on a regular basis, the amount of visitors, stats and rankings will drop and eventually my blog will be deeply buried somewhere in search engine algorithms, nowhere to be found when requested. This raises the ontological question: do I still ‘exist’ when I can’t be found on Google? How important is it for my online identity to be established and found on the Web?

In any case, this lecture introduces some interesting insights in the nature of the blogger.

Note: this is not an ‘I’m sorry blog’ post, as Anne describes. I will keep blogging, I just don’t know when. 😉

 

Twitter’s Implications: Is Less Really More? October 12, 2008

Filed under: Communication,Microblog,New Media,Opinion,Web 2.0 — Annewil Neervens @ 20:53 p10

It’s around us everywhere. Increasingly, the trend of creating single-phrase sentences – or aphorisms – is taking over the way we write and read, online and offline. It almost seems as though there is no more room for elaborate writings and conversations. It has to be short, fast and informative. But, is less really more?

The microblog Twitter is a good example of what we all put on line in short sentences, with a maximum of 140 characters. Letting others know what we are doing and when we’re doing it. What have these aphorisms to contribute to society, and why are we all so eager to take part in it? Why do we use Twitter and what are the implications?

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What added value lies in your online connections? October 5, 2008

Filed under: Online Social Networking,Opinion,Web 2.0 — Annewil Neervens @ 20:53 p10

With different social networking sites, connections are also different. This might seem obvious, but how do these connections differ and what does that mean?

In their paper ‘Public Displays of Connection’, MIT Media Lab professor Judith Donath and academic danah boyd write:

‘Networks are the extension of our social world; they also act as its boundary. We may use the network to extend the range of people we can contact; we may use it to limit the people who can contact us. Most of the networking sites so far are designed to grow networks, not limit them. Yet costs and limits can add value. The expenditure of energy to maintain a connection is a signal of its importance and of the benefits it bestows.’

Especially the last sentence of this paragraph seems somewhat paradoxical to me. Isn’t the whole point of social networking sites that contacts (friends and acquaintances, either known in real life or not) are easily managed without the awkwardness of face-to-face contact, and possibly more important: without having to spend lots of time and energy in the maintenance process? It surely has to be easier and less time consuming than making appointments and ACTUALLY spending time with them in real life?

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