Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kendall on LiveJournal

Kendall (2007) discusses problematic factors that occur if people chose to express their thoughts and opinions in an online journal. Over the course of two years, Kendall looks at several examples on the website LiveJournal and how people may change their style of writing and their personal thoughts to conform to public acceptance of the writings. Four main themes are incorporated into this experiment and observation which include private journal vs. public performance, efficiency vs. audience management, control vs. connection, and Autonomy vs. the desire for comments.

In some of the examples, there are many reoccurring observations made. People are less likely to deeply express their true emotions and often leave out details of how they feel because it people are worried about the effect of their self in other’s views. Also, the managing of an audience can be a cause for great concern. LiveJournal is a useful tool to get spread information, such as getting engaged, to a large number of people simultaneously. But one problem that may occur is how we interact with certain groups of people. The way a person is around their family can be completely opposite when interacting with social friends, so therefore the context of the message can vastly differ. One last problem is the struggle between control and connection. People can enjoy the control over what they read and post on LiveJournal, but sometimes experience problems when people try and connect with them by commenting on an entry. One of the interviewees said it was “really weird to me to comment back on my own journal” (p. 10).

As opposed to a typical journal, an online journal in which friends and family can read and react to will definitely change the nature of your posts. In my personal experience with posting public information about myself, I’ve felt constrained to saying or listing my exact thoughts or actions simply because they may not be interesting or appealing to other’s thoughts about me. For example, if I was to write a journal that had to do with my personal relationships, I wouldn’t want my mother or father reading into detail every account of my private life.

Kendall, Lori. (2007). "Shout into the wind, and it shouts back." Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal. First Monday, 12. Retrieved on August 21, 2008 from

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