Blogging Ethnography

Ethnography of bloggers, ethnography through blogging, blogging about ethnography… English is cool for ambiguity, even though many English-speakers follow a Gricean language ideology.


I guess it’s because I gave a presentation on ethnography last night. I do get in an ethnographic mode. And the day before yesterday was rather intense for me, in terms of social networking and blogging. Not that I blogged much recently, but I’ve been thinking about bloggers quite a bit.

And several things have stimulated my thinking about blogs and bloggers. I guess I’m figuring out whether or not I’m a blogger.

An important point: right this minute, I was going to save this entry as draft and pick it later. But RERO is more than a resolution. My family’s oikolect has “foulfur” for the same concept. Comes from “full” and «fur et à mesure» (“as you go”). In this case, it’s “blog as you go.” Instead of waiting and thinking about it, I’ll just botch it up.

So, stimuli to think about blogs. I already blogged about these, but this is a somewhat different version. If you’re disappointed by my redundancy, please say so in the comments;-)
First, a Montreal Linkup event where I met, among others, fellow YulBlogger Andi and chance reader of my Linkup blog entry Saib.

Then, YulBlog’s very informal monthly meeting was the same night. In approximately reverse chronological order: talked briefly with Ed about blog comments and academic blogging, had a lengthier conversation with Pat about local bloggers and influence, briefly discussed musical openness with Julien, eavesdropped on a conversation between Aurora, Erin, and AJ about pretentious academics they all know, and had an extended conversation with Aurora on disparate topics(!). Other bloggers were present.
The following day, Blork posted a comment on my blog and linked to a fascinating thread  about blog reading. I really want to respond on that thread, even though it’s rather old. More specifically, I’d like to talk about the fact that though blog reading is often cursory, the fact that it’s not passive reading has important implications, especially when we think about the social context of long-term conversations between authors… But I guess I’ll just keep these ideas for later.  (Whoa! Am I epileptic?)
YulBlog is a fascinating phenomenon. Though some people argue that the Quebec blogosphere is “behind other blogospheres” in terms of specific figures, YulBlog proves the vitality of blogging in Quebec. As an ethnographer from Montreal, it’s really hard for me to keep a distance from this local blogging scene, but I do think that there’s something “special” about Quebec bloggers. Not better. Perhaps not even cooler. But somehow special.
For one thing, there’s special guestbook at every one of those meetings and McGill biologist Andre Nantel transcribes all the guestbook entries for the month!

At any rate, I guess I still feel rather new to blogging and, sometimes, out of place. I do notice many things, though. «En vrac»:

  • Emphasis on timeliness.
  • Graffiti.
  • Word!
  • Personalized writing style.
  • Writing to the audience.
  • Blog/journalism dialectic.
  • Status of proof.
  • Critical thinking in action.
  • Bait, flames, flamewars, personality conflicts, and other common Internet ills.
  • RERO’s applied.
  • Reflective reading (“what can I respond to this post?”).
  • Concept of expressive freedom (vs. free expression).
  • Peer evaluation.
  • Performance theory of public writing.
  • New genres.
  • Reactionary attitudes toward dead-tree writing.
  • 1337-speak.
  • Register shifts.
  • Friendly competitiveness.
  • Selfless egotism and ego-centred altruism.
  • Geek culture.
  • Calvinist ethic.
  • Web design.
  • Anglophonism.
  • Anglophilia.
  • Stylish writing.
  • Link etiquette.
  • Puns.
  • Deadpandering.
  • Etiquette, ethics, etic.
  • Titlism.
  • Sense of self-worth.
  • Self-unconsciousness.
  • Tagging as thought organization.
  • Amorphous communities.
  • Purposeless social networking.
  • Dating games.
  • Humour.
  • Work/play.
  • Playfulness.
  • Core references.
  • Presumably shared knowledge.
  • Quick editing.
  • Opinionated attitude.
  • Rants.
  • Trolls.
  • Echo-chamber.
  • Respect.
  • Exoteric-esoteric, macro-level/micro-level.
  • Brilliance.
  • Influence («trafic d’influence»).
  • Streamed thoughts and steamed clams.
  • Zeugmas.
  • Sleeplessness.
  • Reaching out.
  • Tribunes.
  • Fearlessness.
  • Abusive tagging.
  • Self-deprecating humour.

Ah, well…