Aug
2009

remember

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I’ve been sharing Katrina-related links on FB and Twitter all morning, but now can’t think of anything to say.

I’ve become numb remembering all of this again, even with it as my dissertation topic and therefore something I think about ALL THE TIME. That writing, though, is focused on the positive, the uses of technology to help build community. I appreciate my NOLA blogger friends [and interview participants] so much, mainly because we don’t have to explain ourselves to each other. Our loss is mutually understood.

Many of you who read this will never understand what it’s like to have lost so much, or even what it is we’ve lost because it is so beyond the tangible things, so all I can ask of you is just to remember.

Aug
2009

the blogger who doesn’t blog

All I can say is that the posts have been few and far between b/c I’m writing in a much more important space, my dissertation document!

Still, it’s weird that I write about blogs all day and night but haven’t blogged much at all since the loss of access to my USF blog. I think the majority of my public comments have been limited to Facebook and Twitter, probably because I receive so much more immediate feedback there. But there’s something to be said for the longer thought…not to mention maintaining my web presence.

So here goes:

Tonight, I read 2 great pieces as part of my quest to meet some very important deadlines. The first was the hardcover version of the web-comic (or nonfiction graphic novel) I blogged about in 2007, “A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge.” I remember clicking through some of the chapters then, but the quality of the print version’s pages and vibrant colors really makes this stand out as one of my favorite Katrina texts thus far. Go check it out!

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I appreciate it for what it is—a snapshot of different residents’ riding out the storm or evacuation stories. Unlike some Katrina texts which rely on information culled from interviews conducted mere months after the storm, A.D.’s creator Josh Neufield took four years to create this version, crossing mediums every chance he could. He admits his online version “allows for a multilayered experience…seeded with links to podcasts, YouTube videos, archived hurricane tracking reports, and even personal details…” but states he always planned to put it in book form. And his conclusion to the book’s Afterword is exactly what I’m aiming in my work, “to provide a window into a larger world, one that few of us understand and that we’ll be trying to make sense of for a long time to come.”

Which brings me to my second text of the night, “The Psychology of Blogging: You, Me, and Everyone in Between.” All throughout my dissertation I celebrate the blog genre and what it affords the people of New Orleans since Katrina. In particular, I’m focusing on the extended looks blogs offer, being chronological narratives that end only when the blogger decides to stop updating his/her page, and Laura Gurak and Smiljana Antonijevic’s article helps me support that agenda when they write: “Unlike personal Web presentations, structured around ‘the essence of me,’ blogs are structured around ‘the process of me.’ Unlike chatting, pointed toward ‘hear me out at this moment,’ blogging is pointed toward ‘hear me out throughout this time'” (65).

In a recent revision of my first chapter [the one that finally seems to have figured itself out after countless drafts], I simplified things and stated, “Hurricane Katrina made these locals hyperaware of their basic human need to give and receive information” and this article’s final paragraph dovetails that nicely, don’t you think?

Blogs (and social networking sites in general) illustrate the fusion of key elements
of human desire—to express one’s identity, to create community, to structure one’s
past and present experiences temporally—with the main technological features of
21st century digital communication (speed, reach, anonymity, interactivity, broad-
band, wide user base). In this sense, blogs can serve as a lens to observe the way in
which people currently use digital technologies and,in return,transform some of the
traditional cultural norms—such as those between the public and the private.

I cannot wait to add these points to my chapter tomorrow!