Mar
2007

waiting and previewing

I am still waiting for comments from my exam committee–mainly whether or not I passed–which has left me in some what of a limbo. I know there are things I can be doing to move toward the only step left, writing the dissertation, but I’d like to hear from my committee about specific directions I can go in my three areas of study before outlining my 5 chapters. I might even want to draft articles based on my exam question responses since I did so much reading in preparation and don’t feel I got a chance to use a lot of that literature. So til I hear, I’ve been cleaning the apt. like a mad woman and watching way too much television. Who knew I’d ever become addicted to The OC???

Next week we go to NOLA for Easter weekend, to see the friends that matter most, and to research stuff for our wedding (date still to be determined…)

I am still working on my interactive interview with New Orleans bloggers and posted follow up questions this week. It’s been amazing to see it all sort of happen on a wiki without me, i.e., whenever people have the time to contribute. I can’t wait to start writing a paper about how this technology offers the chance to reflect upon what’s been going on in the NOLA blogosphere!

Speaking of which, I’m posting the abstract that got me into the Oxford Internet Institute here so to get feedback and let everyone have a glimpse at where I see my dissertation going:

Since 9/11 people’s responses to tragedy have evolved, and where “news-telling” occurs has expanded. The immediacy of the Internet allows web sites and weblogs to have their own validity, levels of interaction, and concept(s) of truth. Previously unheard voices are now speaking to wider audiences than ever intended. When local citizens “go global,” in a phenomenon some refer to as placeblogging, the whole world can read about (or watch videos of) someone’s daily life, and in post-Katrina New Orleans, those days are saturated with loss. Yet, via the burgeoning New Orleans blogosphere, we can read these accounts of witnessing, reacting to, and dealing with that loss and, more importantly, answer their calls to action.

The Post-Hurricane Katrina Blogosphere and its Ability to Heal, Inspire Recovery, and Celebrate the Rebirth of New Orleans begins by exploring the breakdown of communication during Hurricane Katrina and then offers examples of how online spaces since created by native, displaced, and “naturalized” New Orleanians encourage new ways of creating knowledge and inspiring activism. I also include data collected from an interactive interview where New Orleans bloggers and I discuss our reasons for going public with our opinions. Our reflections and ongoing dialogue demonstrate how writing continues to help us work through the natural and man-made disaster we experienced in August of 2005. Ultimately, my dissertation aims to illustrate how the typically de-centered and diverse web creates knowledge in a collective way more effectively than traditional media and thereby enhances the definition of technological literacy.

Let me know what you think and I’ll be sure to post follow ups as soon as I hear more about my summer programme schedule.

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