Thursday, March 09, 2006

Blogging spawns “culture of self-disclosure”

Try opening the www.mindovervagina.blogspot.com, scroll a few pages down to her January 22, 2006 blog post and you will see a pretty woman, her nipple protruding through the slit of the cup of her black brassiere. She asks, “Tell me why I hate Mondays?”

Click on the comments box below the post and you will see reactions from readers: “Because of your bra ripped,” said an anonymous comment. “Hmmm... this is my first time to read a Pinay blog of this type. C'est intéressant!,” said another anonymous reader. “It’s a day after Sunday, when one is forced to return to the weekly routine after a weekend of deserved rest or fun or sexual romp...,” said another.

If you are one of those who spend a lot of time online, reading these very personal, sometimes racy journals called ‘blogs’ and posting ones yourself, you are one of the growing millions of people out there who are hooked on blogging.

Academics call it mediated exhibitionism. Others call it empowerment and freedom of speech. Still others simply call it entertainment.

Media since the late 90s have been characterized by the continuous blurring of the boundaries between public and private. In television, this was evident in the popularity of talk shows and reality TV. What was deemed scandalous or inappropriate a decade before is now accepted and even expected in the name of free speech. This ‘culture of self-disclosure’ is especially showing up on the Internet.

“On personal home pages and message boards, in chat rooms and on listservs, and most especially in blogs, people are sharing unprecedented amounts of personal information with total strangers, potentially millions of them,” says North Carolina State University researchers Carolyn Miller and Dawn Shepherd (http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blogosphere).

Exhibitionist’s world
Most blogs discuss personal experiences. According to The Cath, a US-based Filipina blogger, in her blog “Now What, Cat?” (http://cathcath.com/?page_id=1206), majority (76 percent) of the Philippine based blogs belonging to the Top 100 Blogs ranked by Technorati, an internet search engine for blogs, belong to this category. Whether it’s the illusion of anonymity afforded by Cyberspace or simply the need to be heard, most bloggers don’t have qualms about publishing their very private thoughts online.

“Blogging has given the ‘average people’ the ability to communicate and publish their work, without having to face publishers and editors,” said Melissa Atienza-Petri (www.pinayexpat.com), a Filipina expatriate working as mathematical analyst for a high tech firm in Germany. “That means that more and more people are given the chance to express themselves, even anonymously. The internet in general makes a big difference, especially to those who have never been exposed to other cultures. One could broaden one's horizons without having to line up for a visa.”

“Oh yes, I also exhibit myself, not new. I’ve crossed my exhibitionist barrier in Yahoo Messenger where I strip for lots of random people. Lately, I’ve penetrated Pinoys and Pinays like me who are also offering whatever it is I’m offering, and have actually encountered someone I know. Should I be open with my life or is that living dangerously? Now that I have a community? Pinoys aren’t Pinoys unless they reach out in a personal way with their hearths and hearts,” says Mindovervaginawoman in her February 18 2006 post.

“You blog because you want people to read what you post. Otherwise, why blog at all?” says Vlad, an avid blogger who maintains several sites including www.awbholdings.com/blog for his thoughts on technology and politics. Like the rest of the world, Filipinos are flocking towards blogs as a new way of expressing themselves and connecting with other people.

Some do it to clarify what they want to do with their lives. Roseraven11 (www.roseraven11.blogspot.com), for instance, writes about her day-to-day experiences, viewpoints, and her ‘quarter-life crisis’: “A couple of months after I started working, I was asking myself whether or not I’m happy with where I am right now – if I took the right degree, if I liked my job and if I can see myself doing it until I retire..It [blogging] helped me know more about myself and explore new horizons. I tend to dwell on my ideas when I write so they become more concrete.”

Voyeur’s delight
When asked what was so appealing about reading other people’s blogs, Egai, a Filipino expat in Korea laughingly points out that people are naturally nosy. “People are generally voyeuristic and tsismoso [gossips]—I think it’s the drive for knowledge.”

For other OFWs, blogs are a more convenient and less expensive way to update friends and family back home. “I blog when I have good news or if I want to share some pictures—things I normally want my friends to know right away. It’s a hassle to call them one by one, especially those who are there in the Philippines, so I blog them instead,” says Osang (www.kaseladang.blogspot.com), a Filipina expatriate working in Dubai. (Written with Debbie Pepit0. Next post: will blogs transform Philippine media?)

Related post

Blogging for money is not for the faint-hearted

6 comments:

mindovervaginawoman said...

thanks for the mention dave, in the blog world, there are no consequences

Vlad said...

Thanks for the mention, sir. Linking your site in my blog.

Without Borders said...

mindovervaginawoman: welcome to my blog, a world without borders. been reading your blog for long actually. very interesting. im intrigued by your statement "in the blogworld there are no consequences." in my own world, i always believe that "there is no such thing as a free lunch." meaning that for every action that we do there are always consequences, negative, positive or a mix of both. but then again, that's a fresh perspective that i need to appreciate.

Without Borders said...

vlad: thanks for visiting my blog. welcome to a world without borders. i wont mind exchanging links with you.

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting site...
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Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY!
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