Dan's Metablog
Writing about blogging, identity, and narrative

Lejeune's "How Do Diaries End?"   Sunday, February 26   9:34 PM

Another Biography article, Philippe Lejeune's "How Do Diaries End?" translated from the French for the Winter 2001 issue. Lejeune catalogues the ways print diaries end (and, along the way, the reasons we might write them) in reference to an exhibit on diaries. I'm starting to feel like "print diary" is the new "acoustic guitar."

In the course of discussing print diaries, Lejeune makes a few observations that seem relevant to lifelogs. First, a note about the materiality of diaries in relation to their endings which illustrates the difference between the two genres:

The choice of material is tied to an apprehension about death. The size and thickness of the notebook selected do not merely correspond to practical constraints. If it's too big, I'll never finish it. The excess space is the silence of death. If it's too small, I'll run up against the final word. (102)

A secondly, a dichotomy of diary writing styles:

There are two schools of diary-writers. There are those who write each day out of discipline or habit, who suffer when they skip a day and "catch up" when they're behind, filling in omissions. And there are those who write, more or less regularly, when they need to. In the latter case, the most common one, how do you know if a journal is "finished"? (105)

Cite for this article:

Lejeune, Philippe. "How Do Diaries End?" Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 24.1 (Winter 2001): 99-112.

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Shirky's "Power Laws"   1:44 PM

Clay Shirky's article "Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality," while indispensable for anyone concerned with website popularity, is at best only tangentially related to my area of study, but it took about five minutes to annotate, so I figured I'd put it here. Shirky relies on studies in the field of "network theory" and graphs showing a power-law distribution in order to explain blog popularity.

The most relevant bit (for me):

Meanwhile, the long tail of weblogs with few readers will become conversational. In a world where most bloggers get below average traffic, audience size can't be the only metric for success. [...] Publishing an essay and having 3 random people read it is a recipe for disappointment, but publishing an account of your Saturday night and having your 3 closest friends read it feels like a conversation, especially if they follow up with their own accounts.

This was somewhat troubling, as it seems to imply that bloggers fall back on the conversational mode when, consciously or unconsciously, they realize that link-popularity is out of their reach.

Other good pull quotes:

Diversity plus freedom of choice creates inequality, and the greater the diversity, the more extreme the inequality.

In systems where many people are free to choose between many options, a small subset of the whole will get a disproportionate amount of traffic (or attention, or income), even if no members of the system actively work towards such an outcome. This has nothing to do with moral weakness, selling out, or any other psychological explanation. The very act of choosing, spread widely enough and freely enough, creates a power law distribution.

Given the ubiquity of power law distributions, asking whether there is inequality in the weblog world (or indeed almost any social system) is the wrong question, since the answer will always be yes. The question to ask is "Is the inequality fair?

There is no A-list that is qualitatively different from their nearest neighbors, so any line separating more and less trafficked blogs is arbitrary.

Once a power law distribution exists, it can take on a certain amount of homeostasis, the tendency of a system to retain its form even against external pressures.

Cite for this article:

Shirky, Clay. "Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality." Shirky.com. 10 February 2003. 23 October 2005.

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Rak's "Digital Queer"   Thursday, February 23   7:06 PM

This is the essay, "The Digital Queer: Weblogs and Internet Identity," was recommended to me by Prof. Weiner as the rational alternative to the three "Online Lives" essays she disagreed with and which I've annotated below.

Despite the narrow focus implied by the title, this essay is full of new ideas (certain for the audience to which it is pitched) more in line with blogosphere scholarship than the works of life-writers. There's also a bit of big name theorist name-checking, which doesn't get done enough in this area, actually.

The performance of blogging is based on the assumption that experience congeals around a subject, and makes a subject who can be written and read, even when the discourse that seems to support this subject threatens to undermine it. (166)

Paper Diaries, Online Comparison

On the three writers I just posted about, and their ilk:

What is at stake here for these researchers who must compare an electronic discourse to a non-electronic one, even when points of comparison evaporate? I suggest that this is an instance of what Jacques Derrida has said about genre, that it is made thinkable by means of a law which simultaneously marks the limit of inside and outside, even as the excesses of the law demonstrate the impossibility of setting such a limit (59-62). The problem with reading blogs as diaries, and with the accompanying decision to forge on with this kind of reading even when it does not work, shows how powerful the need is for autobiographical genres to work as forms of classification, even as the objects studied must exceed that attempt. (168-169)

An apt metaphor:

Foucault has said that the practice and theory of contemporary psychology depended on a construction of sexuality as a "new" object of inquiry for the "new" science of the mind, which meant that scientists had to overcome their own senses of doubt about the subject matter, and discipline the subjects themselves as part of the construction of their own discipline. Something similar, I suggest, is happening in the developing area of life writing or auto/ biography studies as some of its researchers encounter blogs and try to explain how they work in terms of older forms of life writing. (169)

The critique of life-writing scholarship, restated:

. . . the uneasiness and even queasiness about online diary scholarship depends on the constitution of weblogs as online diaries in an atmosphere of doubt, and then certainty. The field constitutes itself in the delineation of its new object and the sublimation of doubts about the object, and the problem is ultimately seen to reside in the indeterminancy of the object itself, an indeterminacy which the analyst must overcome to "understand" the new phenomenon and rationalize it. (170)

Blog Rhetoric

And the angels sang:

I begin with an assumption that weblogs are not a continuation of diary writing in a new form. Weblogs are better understood as an internet genre with a history as long as the history of the internet itself. (170)

She goes on to cite Blood, of course. Here she's discussing the journal-weblog distinction that gave me so much trouble earlier today:

The major difference between online journals and blogs is, according to Blood, the labeling decision of the site maintainer or publisher (7). But there is still some insistence that length and subject make the difference between online journals and blogs. (171)

The difference, at least for one of the bloggers Rak mentions, is one of direction, inward or outward. She goes on with a bit of history, talking about how online journals pre-dated weblogs then blogs came along and became popular and blogs mutated to become more like the online journal.

Blog Ideology

Now the importance of their mutation from the more ideological linklogs becomes more apparent:

But even as the corporate use of blogs and the corporatization of the materiality of blog writing have grown, and blogging itself changes, most blogs rhetoric still adheres in some form to a version of liberalism which was part of early internet culture. In this form of liberalism, freedom of expression is important, particularly when it occurs outside of institutional attempts to control the flow of information. (172)

A commonsense statement of blog privacy, note the "most":

Most blogs, therefore, work within what I call a semi-private environment, where private aspects of a person, such as habits, relationships, living arrangements, and economic status, are made public so that other members of the blog community will stay interested in the blog. (173)

Audience and blogger:

This role of the internet as public and private at the same time appears in blogs as the constant crossing between private experiences which can be revealed because the blogger is interacting with online people. (173)

Identity as unified and real online:

blog rhetoric depends on something that belies the many discussions of internet identity: an idea of the subject that does not shift, is not multiple, and most significantly, does not lie. (174)

Mimesis again?

It does not matter as much that bloggers cannot ever approximate face-to-face communication, or that representation cannot approximate who they "really" are, as it matters that blog rhetoric be made to approximate what the real "feels" like. Blog rhetoric is an instance of Jean Baudrillard's "strategy of the real," a rhetoric that derives its urgency from a sense that the real is lost and must be simulated (174-175)

Dead wrong. Verifiably, profoundly wrong:

Bloggers do not "post" their material on blogs, but "publish" it (Stauffer 311-14) (175).

Blog as a Genre

Another point against the postmodern identity-experimentation approach:

Blog identity involves a recouping of strategies of the real, which include the use of offline experiences as a guarantor of identity, to reconstitute liberal subjectivity in a public space. (176)

On the "randomness" of blog entries.
Although blog software such as Blogger states in its instructions that a writer can write anything at all in the composition space, and many blogs say that they are random collections of thoughts, blog entries are not random. As a genre, blogs create a specific type of social space, and are constructed to attract specific types of community based on similarity rather than differences. (176)

Cite for this source:

Rak, Julie. "The Digital Queer: Weblogs and Internet Identity." Biography 28.1 (Winter, 2005): 166-182.

Interesting citations to follow up on:

Browning, Gary, Abigail Halcli, and Frank Webster, eds. Understanding Contemporary Society: Theories of the Present. London: Sage, 2000.

Coe, Richard, Lorelei Lingard, and Tatiana Teslenko. "Genre as Action, Strategy and Difference: An Introduction." The Rhetoric and Ideology of Genre: Strategies for Stability and Change. Ed. Coe, Lingard, and Teslenko. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton, 2002. 1-12.

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Kitzmann's "That Different Place"   2:26 PM

Andreas Kitzmann's "That Different Place: Documenting the Self Within Online Environments," which popped up in van Dijck's essay, is firmly rooted in the media studies tradition, focusing in the interaction between humans and technology. He name-checked several media theorists, including Benjamin and Lyotard. Both webcams and weblogs serve as the objects of study, and kudos to Kitzmann for using them as support for a mainly theoretical argument rather than as claims presented as standard evidence. The essay begins by focusing on the print diary then moves into the digital.

Kitzmann separates his approach from the usual one, described here:

An "adaptation model" implicitly constructs a temporal hierarchy of formal and cultural elements in which, by virtue of their essential "natures," successive "new" media usurp their predecessors. (49)

Compare his method:

Instead, I would like to propose an approach that pays much closer attention to the material and experiential conditions of self-documentation, and to the manner in which those conditions are integrated into the much wider phenomenon of material "complexification." In constructing this approach, I am drawing upon the insights of Jean Francois Lyotard, Walter Benjamin, and more recently Mark Hansen, who each explore the interplay between technology and the structure of human experience. (49)

In this essay specifically:

For written and for online diaries, what we need is a critical or analytical perspective that can recognize and work with the broader "cosmological" shifts that alter not only experience within the medium, but also the nature of experience itself within the "universe" of embodied, conscious materiality.

The specific conditions explored in this essay are identity, privacy, reality, and time. While hardly exhaustive, these four conditions are arguably key with respect to their being reoccurring biographical and literary preoccupations. (51)

The diary and modernity:

Indeed, to make the self modern is to make it the center of attention: to reflect upon and articulate one's self as an individual, as one capable and perhaps even destined to determine one's fate and future. The place of the page thus becomes the place of the future, of the self made man or woman, of the isolated, focused and internally driven agent of history, will, and power. I write about myself, therefore I am. (53)

Diary as a site of stored memory:

The written diary thus functions as a memorial, an avatar one could say, that literally stands in place of the individual who wrote it. The slightly voyeuristic thrill (or feeling of guilt) that comes from reading someone else's diary arises from this fact, that one is potentially entering a secret and highly private world. (54)

Kitzmann ends this section by asserting the equivalence of print and online weblogs in the area of identity. The real differences lie elsewhere.


Fuzzy notions of private and public:

as Jeff Weintraub notes, "despite widespread use of public and private as organizing categories," the terms are "usually not informed by a careful consideration of meaning and implications" (2) (55)

Definition of privacy:

At its most basic, privacy can be defined as "the measure of control an individual has over 1) information about himself, 2) intimacies of personal identity, or 3) who has sensory access to him" (Schoeman 2). In essence, privacy here is an issue of access: to be private is to control or regulate the level of access that the "outside world" has to one's personal property, body, or thoughts.

A more tempered view of the blogger-audience interaction than I've found elsewhere:

For the Web diary writer, and indeed any Web self-documenter, the audience is not only anticipated, but expected, and thus influences and structures the very manner in which the writer articulates, composes, and distributes the self-document. (56)

Not tech-determinism, but tech as "equal partner" means that:

When considering the differences between written and online diaries in terms of private and public space, it is therefore necessary to consider how the technology itself makes possible and even naturalizes certain practices and experiences unique to its particular "nature." (59)


One view of media today:

In keeping with the work of Jean Baudrillard, postmodernity is said to have rendered the real obsolete, as distinctions between reality and unreality have blurred to the point where the artificial may seem even "realer" than the real. The concept of the original and the copy, which one could take as a foundation of the real, has been lost. There are only copies and derivations of simulations — pure simulacra. (59)

I think that Kitzmann is getting at something good here, but in the face of real atrocities he's not willing to quite commit to subjective truth. He moves on to diaries, and I'm hoping that he says something about fictional diaries not predicated on real individuals.

That diaries and autobiographies, both handwritten and electronic, are grounded to a significant extent on real, authentic individuals is a common enough assertion. Philippe Lejeune has famously described an "autobiographical pact" that underlies readers' expectations of autobiographical works. By violating the terms of the contract, writers who deliberately fictionalize their autobiographical accounts are said to have betrayed the trust of the reader, and in my interviews with diarists and Webcammers, a few acknowledge having been hurt and outraged by deliberate acts of deception. In fact, Web-based forms of self-documentation are so concerned about such violation that "reality" has been almost fetishized: proclaimed as a kind of value, especially in terms of "liveness." (59-60)

Apropos of a discussion of webcams, Kitzmann turns away from the simulacra theory to mimesis:

What is at work here is not a simulation, but instead a mutation of the much "older" mechanism of mimesis. (60)

[. . .]

Online self-documentation, and indeed most autobiographical representation, assumes that human actions and thoughts are actually being represented rather than created or simulated. (60)

Compare avatars in online gaming communities.


Emphasis on the present:

Dialogue, or more accurately "multi-logue," is the preferred mode of discourse: Web diarists write for themselves, and for others who also write for themselves and others, creating "Webrings" which encourage nearly constant interaction. This discursive environment clearly privileges the present, the moment within which material is created and exchanged. (62)


More on the old interpretative method:

However, I would argue that remediation remains more or less a theory of adaptation, because it still implies that existing cultural practices or traditions have the upper hand, still guiding or shaping the nature of the practice within each new media encounter. New media or technology functions as an empty vessel waiting to be "filled up" with cultural content. (63)

Note to self: pay more attention to Prof. Hansen in Theories of Media:

Hansen thus seeks to establish what he terms a "physiological basis for human interaction with technology that is not based primarily on language" (viii). Within such a mechanism, technology is emancipated "from its reductive metaphoric function," and properly recognized as "an agent of material change" that is inseparable from the "real that it produces" (65). (63)

Cite for this article:

Kitzmann, Andreas. That Different Place: Documenting the Self within Online Environments, Biography 26.1 (Winter, 2003): 48-65.

Interesting citations to follow up on:

Hansen, Mark. Embodying Technesis: Technology Beyond Writing. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2000.

Weintraub, Jeffrey. "The Theory and Politics of the Public/Private Distinction." Public and Private in Thought and Practice: Perspectives on a Grand Dichotomy. Ed. Jeffery Weintraub and Krishan Kumar. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1997.

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McNeill's "Teaching an Old Genre New Tricks"   1:08 PM

Laurie McNeill's essay, also in the Winter 2003 issue of Biography is another attempt to connect the blog to the diary, though I find her methods and choice of blogs somewhat haphazard. She also seems to think she can prove a point (or at least imply that she has) by quoting a single blogger and saying his/her writing "suggests that" some broad claim is true.

Her attempt to connect the two genres relies on a broad view of both — in the end only the new media features of a blog separate it from the traditional print diary. Interactivity, both for readers looking at links and pictures and for the blogger, who now craves commentary from the reader-as-public, is key. As I note below, she also makes a distinction between online journals and blogs (based on the thought going into posts?), both apparently subsumed under the "online diary" category, which I can't follow.

On the individualistic nature of the lifelog:

Bypassing the commercial, aesthetic, or political interests that dictate access to traditional print media, and that decide whose life stories deserve to be told, online diaries can be read as assertions of identity, and arguments for the importance of an individual's life. Even as their authors retain a degree of anonymity, these texts make very personal connections to a reading audience that recognizes and confirms these individual life assertions. (26)

More evidence that diary weblogs come up against our prejudices:

the long-held popular assumption that the diary is a private, for "oneself alone," genre. Web diaries' public nature but private — that is, personal, often intimate — content confounds traditional distinctions between public and private writings and functions. (26)
The relationship between blogger and reader:

In a contemporary print diary, that confessor would typically be an imagined or projected addressee; in cyberspace, however, he or she actually receives the confession, and often responds. The reader of an online diary therefore actively participates in constructing the text the diarist writes, and the identities he or she takes on in the narrative. Though active and even intimate, however, that participation remains virtual, disembodied. The confessor stays behind the "grille" of the Internet, allowing the diarist — and the reader — the illusion of anonymity necessary for "full" self-exposure. (27)


Online participation in this genre allows writers to carry on diary conversations that will no longer be monologic, where the response will not be just imagined but actual. (28)

An attempt to bring the blog back into the fold. At this point in the paper McNeill has tried, and failed in my view, to set up a distinction between the blog and the online journal, while noting the diary elements of both. Hopefully she picks this up later.

Despite [veteran web diarist] Steve Schalchlin's belief in the Internet diary as a "new artform," its practitioners in many ways reproduce the traditional diary, upholding instead of resisting the genre both in form and content. (30)

On hypertext, audio, video, etc:

Many of the accessories found in an online diary reflect its nature as a public document, meant for readers other than the diarist. (30)

Background on the imaginary (now real) reader:

Of course, writing a text to suit an imagined reader is hardly a new concept, even for the diary. (32)

On a more banal variety of post:

[Some] entries fulfill the diary's traditionally personal functions of logbook and memoranda, but when written on the Internet, diarists give these functions a public purpose, presuming that others will want to read these records, and even comment on them. (32)

Bringing the reader into your life:

A reader from or visitor to New York may feel a sense of identification with Nora because he or she also frequents the "Morning to Midnight" store, or is familiar with "11th and third ave." These diarists' use of proper nouns, place names, presuppositions, and explanatory asides are traditional strategies by which both on- and offline public diarists create intimacy. Web diarists, though, also have the option of adding links to external sites to help the reader feel a part of their personal lives. (33)

More of that "all bloggers are unsatisfied with nanoaudiences" nonsense I often see peddled:

...online writers extend the invitation to read not only to intimates but also to the reading public at large. They post their diaries in the hope of reaching a wider audience, an imagined community who, by reading and responding, will become an actual community. Writers who create online diaries express their desire for acknowledgment, perhaps praise, for their life or their writing — some assurance that their voice is being heard. (35)


For online diarists, who write explicitly to be read, the absence of an (active, responsive) audience would be a significant blow. (36)

Contact the genre police! This blogger is violating the rules!

To attract and maintain engaged readers, online diarists must anticipate and meet audience expectations. But since bloggers write in a familiar genre that predates the Internet, they must also satisfy that genre's requirements even though they have taken the genre into a new forum. (37)

But here's something interesting, a discussion of truth as contract:

Even in a public diary, Schalchlin extends the promise of total and unmediated honesty: "Part of the 'deal' we have together — as diary writer and diary reader — is that I do not hide the times when I am an ass or a fool" (26 Apr. 1997). [...] Schalchlin's "deal," so reminiscent of Lejeune's autobiographical pact, underlines the popular concept of autobiography as requiring some kind of participation from, or even communion with, the reader, who accepts the writer's claims of identity and facticity, and believes in the autobiographer as a "real" person. (37)

Bringing in identity construction:

Unlike the players in MUDs and MOOs, who take on the identities and characteristics of characters in a larger game, diarists play "themselves," but in a venue that seems disconnected from, if based on, their offline lives. Though these readers do not know the diarist outside of the context of her text, they believe her textual representation is "real," the flesh made digital. (37)

Cite for this article:

McNeill, Laurie. "Teaching an Old Genre New Tricks: The Diary on the Internet." Biography 26.1 (Winter, 2003): 24-46.

Interesting citation to follow up on

Miller, Carolyn. "Rhetorical Community: The Cultural Basis of Genre." Genre and the New Rhetoric. Ed. Aviva Freedman and Peter Medway. London: Taylor & Francis, 1994. 67-78.

Yes, our old friend Carolyn Miller, co-author of one of the best blogging essays, has an interesting essay on genre out there.

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Sorapure's "Screening Moments"   11:21 AM

Finally delving into the articles in the Winter 2003 issue of Biography, a special issue devoted to "Online Lives." The first essay I read was a work by Madeleine Sorapure called "Screening Moments, Scrolling Lives:
Diary Writing on the Web

Sorapure takes as her primary corpus the weblogs available through diarist.net, a resource of which I was unaware. This possibly more appropriate corpus helps underscore the importance of defending my own choices — the first justification that jumps to mind is that diarist.net is a more insular, diary-centered community, and the weblogs they honor are rarely among the most popular elsewhere on the web. You could say the same for the Bloggies, of course, but judging from the Technorati rankings, I think the Bloggies have more participants. More people reading web diaries not out of interest in the genre but out of interest in a particular diarist or two.

Sopapure's approach comes off as an introduction to the online diary genre for people interested in print diaries; there is some mention of other forms (e.g. research on hypertext) but it's taken for granted (and shown somewhat convincingly) that diaries are the primary influence on online diaries. Her focus on the writings of apparent diary enthusiasts in the same theory universe is too narrow for my taste. Also, the title seems to imply more of a focus on the hidden-media aspects of the genre (web browser, monitor) than is actually there.

First, a troubling attempt to make a distinction. Or acknowledge a distinction others are making; I don't see Sorapure backing this up:

Although many online diarists use blogging software and hosting for their work, blogs and online diaries are not necessarily the same thing — at least not to purists in both camps. According to Ryan Kawailani Ozawa, the founder and lead editor of Diarist.net, "a traditional weblog is focused outside the author and his or her site. A web journal, conversely, looks inward — the author's thoughts, experiences, and opinions." (1)

She compares this distinction to Blood's filter-style vs. journal-style distinction, which seems more fluid than what Ozawa is talking about.

A defense of her corpus, something I'll have to confront:

Because online diarists themselves determine the criteria for excellence and select the award-winning sites, the Diarist.net Awards provide evidence of what writers of this genre value, as well as a useful starting point for critical interpretation.

On the often too-simplified issue of permanence online:

although online diaries do not exist materially in the same way as print diaries do, they may in fact be more permanent in the sense that they can be copied and stored in an archival database. There is, in other words, a "technological rhythm" for online diaries that differs from the "biological rhythm" of paper (5)

Basic background, about as concise as I could put it:

An "about me" or "bio" page is a standard feature of online diaries, used by writers to provide autobiographical background in a more linear, narrative format than the diary entries allow. (6)

Apropos of the "100 list," another important lifelog element, the first discussion of the weblog as a "database" narrative:

The "random facts" motif represents a database model of identity, a non-narrative model in which discrete pieces of information are collected and stored. In fact, the diary as a genre, particularly in its online form, constitutes a database of sorts, with information entered in discrete, chronologically-coded units (7)

More on the database in print and online:

Although a print diary is also structured like a database of entries, the self-representation it contains appears to be more continuous and unified by virtue of its being chronologically continuous, bound together in a book or notebook, and read linearly. For online diarists, writing on the computer and publishing on the network, the database form more thoroughly infuses self-representation. (8)

The digital text and the private self:

Sven Birkerts has pointed out this fundamental difference between print and electronic texts: "The print engagement is essentially private. While it does represent an act of communication, the contents pass from the privacy of the sender to the privacy of the receiver." In the electronic order, however, "engagement is intrinsically public, taking place within a circuit of larger connectedness" (122-23). Online diaries therefore not only challenge our current conception of diary writing as a private act, but also compel us to reconsider the boundaries of the private self in a culture characterized by connectivity via cell phones, email, pagers, and other communication technologies. (9-10)

More useful background, this time on how audience changes the writing. The bloggers:

...modify what they write in direct response to their awareness of the specifics of their multiple audiences. (10)

The paratactic nature of the diary:

as Hogan puts it, "there is no subordination to suggest that one idea or event is more important than another; the clauses are 'equal' in grammatical structure and rhetorical force" (101). For Hogan, the parataxis at work in the diary represents the writer immersed in a flow of events, recording everything (or many things), and only later (if at all) reflecting on certain events and assigning greater significance to them than to others. Parataxis also engages the diary reader in assigning significance, and in the absence of transitions, making meaningful connections within and across entries. This paratactic structure and style distinguish the diary from typical narrative autobiographies. (13)

And why it matters:

because parataxis is also the logic of the database, diaries translate or transcode well into the computer medium. (13)


in contrast to a retrospective, linear narrative that leads up to an ending, a paratactic form doesn't have a logical reason to end, aside from running out of space. For online diaries, this constraint is even less significant than for print diaries. (13-14)
The function of links:

Links can establish connections between entries, and between one site and another; in Manovich's terms, links can provide the narrative that connects different elements in the database of the online diary. (14)

Another observation about blog readership, with not stats to back it up but intuitive nonetheless:

the most common method among regular readers of online diaries and the diarists themselves is to read across diaries — to move from one online diary to the next, reading only the most recent entries of each (15)

Finally, another observation about readership:

Although the Internet has been regarded as a medium more accommodating to men, most online diarists are women. (20)

Cite for this article:

Sorapure, Madeleine. "Screening Moments, Scrolling Lives: Diary Writing on the Web" Biography 26.1 (Winter, 2003): 1-23.

Interesting citations to follow up on:

"How Do Diaries End?" Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 24.1 (Winter 2001): 99-112.

Birkerts, Sven. The Gutenberg Elegies. Boston: Faber & Faber, 1994.

Doering, Nicola. "Personal Home Pages on the Web: A Review of Research." Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 7.3 (Apr. 2002). 10 Aug. 2002.

Hogan, Rebecca. "Engendered Autobiographies: The Diary as a Feminine Form." Prose Studies 14 (Sept. 1991): 95-107.

Manovich, Lev. The Language of New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001.

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Corpus Update   Monday, February 6   3:49 PM

Got the email from Nolan with the updated corpus. Score.

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Advisor meeting notes #1   Saturday, February 4   2:47 PM

-There's a third way, not rhetorical aspects but the higher-order "narrative structure," that I can probably use to taxonomize my way down to diary weblog (or whatever I end up with!).

-The issue of "success" is problematic. I don't think so, personally, but I can make roughly the same argument without saying something that smacks of the normative.

-Mimi was right, I still have some wriggle room with my corpus. I asked the Bloggies guy for the top nomination-getters for the 2005 and 2006 awards in my category, figuring that was a less distorted metric, and it might happily exclude some of the more problematic or annoying blogs. The end purpose of having "finalists" has little to do with my project.

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