Thursday, January 18, 2007

This time I wrote about an article I didn't like in an attempt to exercise some of what I've learned, thus making me feel like I have accomplished something thus far in my Div 3. I think by reading this article, I feel better in what I can write when I'm done, because I'm already better researched than this guy. Sorry my citations are just page numbers but... it's a blog.

Criticism of "Live(s) Online: Narrative Performance, Presence, and Community in" by Kurt Lindemann

While it sounds interesting and relevant to my Division 3 (especially since it was published in 2005 and is therefore pretty recent), I found this article confusing because it directly contradicted/ignored a lot of theory and generally important facts.

Lindemann starts his essay by explaining some of the uses of online journals. He says that “online journals provide the means and opportunity for presenting one’s self to a wider audience than ever before in increasingly complex ways, from homeless individuals keeping in touch with their families to gay men and women coming out.” (P. 354) While he cites three sources after this statement, it still raises the question of how do these “homeless individuals” have access to computers/the Web/LiveJournal? Libraries could provide internet access to those without it at home… but this is still a puzzling statement that needs more explanation.

Lindemann also provides a confusing and seemingly incorrect statement about weblogs which he attributes to Kristen M. Langellier and Eric E. Peterson and their book Storytelling in daily life : performing narrative. He says that Langellier and Peterson “distinguish “blogs” as short bursts of writing activity while characterizing “journals” as extended narratives or stories (160), explaining that “weblog” is a fitting term for both blogs and journals as the term implies a ‘web log of activity’ that can be used to describe an online log that links to other websites as well as a journal or log that is published on the web (160).” (p. 356)
Basically, they are drawing a distinction between “weblog” and “blog,” with “blog” being a subcategory of “weblog.”

Upon reading this, I checked two sources: David Bell (et al)’s Cyberculture: The Key Concepts and the Merriam Webster dictionary. Cyberculture defines the term “blogging” as “Short for web logging, blogging is a recent and fast-expanding form of web-based writing and publishing” (p. 10) This means that David Bell (et al) find that blogging and weblogging are the same thing, and that it’s just a matter of abbreviation. Having read David Bell’s Introduction to Cyberculture, I consider him to be a reliable source for new media studies.

Merriam Webster states that the etymology of the word “blog” is “short for weblog”. ( Thus it would seem that Langellier, Peterson and no unfortunately Lindemann’s feeling about the distinction between blogs and weblogs is poorly uninformed and just plain incorrect.

Lindemann goes on to discuss the idea of community on the web, yet another concept he has a poor grasp on. Despite how Lindemann uses the phrase “imagined community,” he doesn’t seem to understand all of what it means. He says that
Some claim that the use of the term “community” to refer to online social networks is inaccurate and unfaithful to the more traditional notion of community because: technology inhibits democratic involvement among members; computer networks isolate users from each other; and connectivity with others is more imagined than “real,” due in part to the anonymity available in computer-mediated communication.” (p 359)

Benedict Anderson’s work would have been informative to his argument, yet is conspicuously absent from his references. In fact, Anderson says that “all communities larger than the primordial villages of face-to-face contact (and perhaps even these) are imagined” (p. 15) I’m also curious to know what his definition of a “more traditional notion of community.” So this poached argument is weak at best, and not worth mentioning.

From here Lindemann moves onto his next error, which is an improper, or at least too narrow, definition of multi user domains or MUDs. He claims that in MUDS, “users navigate avatars (e.g., a cartoon, a picture of a celebrity) and communicate with others in various visual settings” (p. 360) Something seems wrong about the stressing of the visual aspect of MUDs.
Again I turn to David Bell (et al) and Cybercultures. It explains that, first of all, MOOs which are multi-user, and object oriented are a subtype of MUDs. Most well known of MOOs is LambdaMOO, the setting for Dibbel’s (1999) "A Rape in Cyberspace", which was not a visual environment, and instead relied on textual descriptions of the environments and characters. So, there’s one MUD that’s not visual. Cybercultures also defines MUDs as “virtual text-based worlds in which participants interact.” (p135)

The next part that I found confusing is when Lindemann talks about the review feature on LiveJournal. “LiveJournal users also engage in online activities under the auspices of community and community building. The most prominent of these is the review of users’ journals by other users, in which users volunteer themselves for reviews by others whose own ‘success’ in the review process has qualified them to function as reviewers.” (p. 360)

I am frustrated by this as there is not enough said about it to learn exactly how it works, and there is no information about it in the LiveJournal FAQ. There is a way to suggest a journal to appear in the “spotlight section” on the main page of, but anyone can do that, seemingly even if they are not a member of LiveJournal. He doesn’t expand enough to say that he isn’t talking about a specific LiveJournal “community” or users who just take it upon themselves to review the journals of others that seem to be asking for it. There are, however, LiveJournal Communities centered around review journals and finding the ones “worth reading” such as the LiveJournal Reviews community at He later talks about such things as “the Random Review page, which boasted over a million hits in 2003-2004, The Reviewers, which has upwards of 30,000 posts since it’s creation in 2003” (p 361). From the terminology he uses, it would seem that “the Random Review page” is an actual website, whereas “The Reviewers” is a community journal. That almost clears things up a little. Only not.

And let’s just ignore the fact that he uses the word “site” instead of “journal,” which makes it easy to think he is talking about an actual personal website instead of the focus of his article, which he earlier very definitively described as “online journals.” The most flagrant is when he analyzes the review of the journal of user ufp0275 and describes what you see on his “homepage”. He does not link to a homepage in his profile, so this was confusing. He then quotes a passage you could see on his “homepage” with the citation of “(Curtis’ Journal “Off MC”) (p. 364), which is actually titled “Off MC, Done with Xmas Shopping and misc” for those trying to find it in his archives. But now I’m just being nitpicky.

It was at this point I realized that Lindemann was conducting some sort of analytical experiment that lacked a summary of a methodology in the beginning. As you read his findings and analysis you find out how he went about his work little by little, which is really difficult to follow. Also, in the end, you find out that a lot of his explanation of online community and/vs social networks isn’t entirely pertinent to his final exploration.

So perhaps it’s my own fault for looking to Text and Performance Quarterly for new media-based research with some sort of technological background, but hey, at least the title sounded useful.


Anonymous said...

[url=]no presciption Viagra[/url]

[url=]web сайты знакомств[/url]
[url=]loveplanet ru знакомства[/url]
[url=]интимсити ру сайт[/url]
[url=]бляди питер вход[/url]

[url=]геи проститутки оставили сообщений[/url]
[url=]досуг алматы транссексуал[/url]

[url=]проститутки москвы дешовые выезд[/url]
[url=]интим знакомства новгород новость[/url]

[url=]досуг ну[/url]
[url=]секс большого города[/url]

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Hi there!
I would like to burn a theme at this forum. There is such a nicey, called HYIP, or High Yield Investment Program. It reminds of ponzy-like structure, but in rare cases one may happen to meet a company that really pays up to 2% daily not on invested money, but from real profits.

For quite a long time, I earn money with the help of these programs.
I'm with no money problems now, but there are heights that must be conquered . I make 2G daily, and my first investment was 500 dollars only.
Right now, I managed to catch a guaranteed variant to make a sharp rise . Visit my web site to get additional info. [url=]Online Investment Blog[/url]

Anonymous said...


When ever I surf on web I come to this website[url=].[/url]You have really contiributed very good info here Frankly speaking we really do not pay attention towards our health. Let me show you one truth. Recent Scientific Research points that almost 70% of all U.S. adults are either obese or overweight[url=].[/url] Therefore if you're one of these individuals, you're not alone. Infact many among us need to lose 10 to 20 lbs once in a while to get sexy and perfect six pack abs. Now next question is how you can achive quick weight loss? Quick weight loss can be achived with little effort. You need to improve some of you daily habbits to achive weight loss in short span of time.

About me: I am blogger of [url=]Quick weight loss tips[/url]. I am also health trainer who can help you lose weight quickly. If you do not want to go under hard training program than you may also try [url=]Acai Berry[/url] or [url=]Colon Cleansing[/url] for effective weight loss.

Anonymous said...

Delete shis text plz. Sorry

Anonymous said...

Wow that was odd. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't appear. Grrrr... well I'm not
writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say
great blog!

Take a look at my web blog; "box camera"

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol cheap no prescription tramadol withdrawal loperamide - tramadol 200 mg high