Essay: My blog the visual media

  

Or how the visual medias came to have an impact in my life and my history

Written for HIST 379: History through visual medias, with Rachel Berger, in October 2007

Interested as I am in the new technologies and the Web, and having done some studies in multimedia during my years in CEGEP, it is totally understandable that I have my own space on the World Wide Web; a place where I would leave my creations online, talk about my latest idea or keep a written record of my daily life. Over the years, I have maintained a web journal, where I wrote anything happening in my life, from my personal and intimate aspects of it to my biggest professional achievements or academic essays and studies. A weblog, or blog for short, is an online diary, a record of written texts, images, videos and other objects that are posted on a website and that record the thought or mood of the moment, the idea or the reflection of someone on a certain subject or matter. My blog is mostly my thoughts, words that pop into my mind at different time of the day, and I share it with my readers, always ready for a discussion or new opinions, or simply having an ‘ear’ (the ears and eyes of my readers) to evacuate the emotions that are kept inside and needed a tribune to express it.

The blog is part of the visual media that is the Internet, the World Wide Web being a community of people from all around the world ready to talk and share anything with all of us. In my case, starting as an online diary hosted on LiveJournal in early 2003, I transferred my web diary on my own server in 2005, and since then, I constantly update my blog with my ups and downs; my ideas, concepts and criticisms in my professional an academic fields; and my readers’ comments on my daily life. It is a online diary of my last 4 years, and when I surfed through my archives, it reminds me of my emotions and events at a particular moment of my life, the thoughts that I had at that time…It is a useful tool, as I tend to forget what I did five days ago. A reminiscent of my life as a young adult woman in the early 21st century, trying to deal with what her life brings her and makes her live through. It is the historical archives of my own life.

I will mostly reflect here on the impact of my blog in my life, private or public. How, as a visual media that I produce and share to others, it helps give a precise account of the daily events and thoughts that I had at one moment in my life, and that I mostly would have forgotten if it was not written in my blog. I will try to explain, in this short essay, how my blog is different from a ‘recapitulation’ of my last few weeks of my life in a small paragraph; how I come to understand the impact of visual media in my own private and daily life, and how it gives a different ‘image’ of it than a small résumé of 1 page done as homework for the general public.

My blog is an historical record of my life that is produced mostly in the moment, when I have a computer available. It is, in part, a representation of me, as I tend to write spontaneously what I think or live, what I read or did just before writing my post. I give a lot of importance to this aspect in my writings, as I think it gives a visual image of myself to those (the readers) who did not met me previously, or just came across my website. Of course, I have to deal with the fact that parts of what I present on my blog, in my writings, are only a small representation, an assumption of my personality, and some readers could think that they know me through the tidbits I leave in my texts. In a way, my blog is a gallery, a museum, presenting myself as an exhibit to the world, like Ann Reynolds’ Visual Stories article explains how Alfred Parr let his public makes their own assumptions, their own analysis and thinking over the subject he presented. And as such, it was part of my decision to write most of my online texts as spontaneous ones, to see how my readers would come to conclusion concerning me. My blog is an interesting laboratory where I test my readers’ assumptions over me and my life, how they perceived me by the end of the reading<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Rey02 l 3084 < ![endif]–> (Reynolds 2002)<!–[if supportFields]>< ![endif]–>.

My blog is a script, resuming my daily life – or sometimes weekly, as I do not have the time to write everyday – to everybody that comes and visits it. If I was asked to do a résumé of 1 page of my last 6 weeks, that would be an adaptation, as I would skip some details and go to the big events or thoughts resuming my last few weeks. I would probably skip some parts of my daily chores and events, probably thinking ‘oh, it’s not important to the reader’, or ‘I really should not talk about this as they would not understand it’ etc., but by the end, I would probably skip important information that I would forget to relay to my reader, and be even biased on my own thoughts and writings, censuring myself on probably important or vital information to the comprehension of some events or matters in the reader’s mind. A résumé would also miss all the subjectivity that was written in the tone of my texts; all the emotions, the coded message that would probably be hidden in some of my text, relaying deeper thoughts on me, or connotations that could invoke my state of mind at the moment, even if I did not wrote it down directly<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Bar02 l 3084 < ![endif]–> (Barthes 2002)<!–[if supportFields]>< ![endif]–>. In fact, my résumé would only bring a gross image of myself, not totally true and not deep enough.

My blog gives also a visual story of my life to my readers, most of them I rarely or even never met in real life. My words describe my life in general, and give a visual story to those who are interested enough to read about it. I am exhibiting myself to my voyeurs, my readers whom are all, in a way, interested to know what I did last Monday (see post of Oct 9th), or what I thought of the last match of the Rubgy World Cup 2007 (see post of Oct 14th)<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Rou07 l 3084 < ![endif]–> (Rouleau 2007)<!–[if supportFields]>< ![endif]–>. The readers thus form a mental representation, an image of me, that might not be complete or true to me, but I have no control over their processes of thinking. I can only manage to influence them a little bit with my texts, having to present to them my rhetoric, my vision of my thoughts and sayings as best as possible<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Bar02 l 3084 < ![endif]–> (Barthes 2002)<!–[if supportFields]>< ![endif]–>.

Also, my blog, again, is a place of expression for my philosophy of life, my thoughts of many social matters and cultural trends, and I try by my own rhetoric to subjugate my readers to my way of thinking, to influence them in their own life too. It is a huge satisfaction – in a perverse way – to hear or read about a reader that simply tells me that I did change his/her vision on a matter, and want to thank me for my text on my blog. Of course, the people who normally read my blog do agree, in part, to my opinions and what I have to say, and they have accepted, by reading my texts, the ideology that I present in my text, for they would not read it if they did not principally agree to most of my discourse. Of course, being my blog, I can also block out all the negative comments that some readers leave; after all, my blog is my own little kingdom where I am the queen, the dictator, and where everything that is posted online has been approved by me. My blog is a very subjective place where I expose my vision of life, and I do not hide it<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Alt02 l 3084 < ![endif]–> (Althusser 2002)<!–[if supportFields]>< ![endif]–>.

My blog presents my history, how I perceive it, and sometime, I might talk about an event (like let say a party that I attended – see post of Oct 7th) that is presented in a different way than many other texts other bloggers have posted online<!–[if supportFields]> CITATION Gau07 l 3084 m San07< ![endif]–> (Gauthier 2007, SansCartier 2007)<!–[if supportFields]>< ![endif]–>. I present a small part, my part in fact, to the readers, so if they wanted to have a global view of the event, they would have to surf other blogs to read about it, to gain another side, another vision, or another anecdote. I present, in fact, what I perceive as the truth, my truth, of the event.

In the last few weeks, or in the case of this essay in the last 6 weeks, my blog was a board for expressing my personal history, my personal life as it went by. Thoughts from readings, ideas for homework, concepts of web design for the job, reminiscences of old events, recapitulation of parties and events, they are all small parts of my life, all some artwork composing the exhibit that is my life, only showing a representation, a glimpse of all the thoughts, emotions and events that I went through at the time of the writing, or after I posted a text. My blog is my personal book of thoughts on how I see life in general, my biased opinions, my personal thoughts, all presented to the reader as a subjective experience, for I give my opinion on a event, my experience. My blog is my own accreditation of an importance over my history. It shows what I give an importance to, and why.

Finally, my blog is just that, my visual media that I leave behind as a reminiscence of me, even if it will never show a complete, objective view of me. It is my own archive to my memories, to my thoughts, to some emotions that I had at a particular moment in my life. I must admit that I do rely a lot on technology, and if my server comes to crash, I might lose part of the data as I do not keep a constant back-up of my blog. Or I might be prompt to an attack by viruses, spamming my blog or making it malfunction one day. But as it shows, my blog represents that part of me that believes in the future, in some positive ‘tomorrow’ that will not make my blog crash. My blog is me.

Bibliography

– Althusser, Louis. “Ideology & ideological state apparatuses.” In The Visual Culture Reader, by Nicholas Mirzoeff, 139-141. New York: Routledge, 2002.
– Barthes, Roland. “Rhetoric of the image.” In The Visual Culture Reader, by Nicholas Mirzoeff, edited by Nicholas Mirzoeff, 135-138. New York: Routledge, 2002.
– Gauthier, Sarah. Blonde et addicted to shoes. 10 15, 2007. http://blondeetaddictedtoshoes.blogspot.com/2007/10/laprs-spin-la-shit-dans-la-chambre-de.html (accessed 10 14, 2007).
– Reynolds, Ann. “Visual stories.” In The Visual Culture Reader, by Nicholas Mirzoeff, 324-338. New york: Routledge, 2002.
– Rouleau, Debbie. The Chronicles of SekhmetDesign. Vers. 10. 10 15, 2007. http://sekhmetdesign.thegeekcartel.com (accessed 10 14, 2007).
– SansCartier, Jean-Luc. Histoires de geek! Oct 15, 2007. http://keeg.ca/?p=1541 (accessed Oct 14, 2007).