bloggers in Dean, Dockray, Ludovico, Broekman, Thoburn & Vilensky 2013
s always and only in the
‘belly of the beast’?
JD Is there a political dimension to I Cite’s enabling a different mode of
‘talk’ or ‘writing’? This is hard. My first answer is no. That is, the fact of
blogging, that there are blogs and bloggers, is not in itself any more politically
significant than the fact that there is television, radio, film, and newspapers.
But saying this immediately suggests the opposite and I need to answer yes.
Just as with any medium, blogs have political effects.
ne content is now time-stamped, permalinked, and
archived, yet we would not call it a blog (the New York Times website has blogs
but these are sub-features of the site, not the site itself). All these features
enable certain kinds of quantification: bloggers can know how many hits we
get on a given day (even minute by minute), we can track which posts get
the most hits, which sites send us the most visitors, who has linked to us or
re-blogged our content, how popular we are compared to other blogs, etc.
is no difference between
comments that are spam, from trolls, or seriously thoughtful engagements.
Each comment counts the same (as in post A got 25 comments; post B didn’t
get any). Each post counts the same (an assumption repeated in surveys of
bloggers - we are asked how many times we post a day). Most bloggers who
blog for pay are paid on the basis of the two numbers: how many posts and
how many comments per post. Whether the content is inane or profound is
The standardisation and quantification of blogging induce a kind of
contradictory sensibility in some bloggers. On the one hand, our opinion
counts. We are commenting on matters of significance (at least to someone
- see, look, people are reading what we write! We can prove it; we’ve got the
numbers!). Without this promise or lure of someone, somewhere, hea
can prove it - look, only 100 hits today and that was to
the kitty picture - provides a cover of anonymity, the feeling that one could
write absolutely anything and it would be okay, that we are free to express
what we want without repercussion. So bloggers (and obviously I don’t have
in mind celebrity bloggers or old-school ‘A-list bloggers’) persist in this
affective interzone of unique importance and liberated anonymity. It’s like
we can expose what we want without having to deal with any consequences
- exposure without exposure. Thus, a few years ago there were all sorts of
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