Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Shanghai Blogger Roundtable: blogging for personal network

This is a section excerpted from the research paper “Unique Identity & National Discourse in Chinese Participatory-Network Spheres,” presented by Dr. Beth Coleman, MIT July 2007 Ubiquitous Media Asian Transformations conference Tokyo University, Japan

The Nanjing Hopkins Center is the source of many of the participants of the roundtable discussion. This sample group of bloggers address culturally specific use. They represent the first group of early adopters: white collar professionals.


-Blogs are largely used as extended social systems—to chat about their lives and work. In a sense, they use blogging like a big telephone

-The group talked about the gender gap in media use, trusted channels of information, self-expression on blogs, and celebrity blogging.

-Issues of nationalism and self-representation emerge indirectly.

As opposed to the US conventions of blogging, which are to “get naked” either by confession or expose, The Chinese blogger group, to the person, but particularly the women, made clear that mediated communication is representational. They acknowledged formality to one’s presentation that is explicitly understood as a cultural value around media communications practices.

Question: Why blog?

A: Female, university student, 18 years old and the youngest in the blogger roundtable discusses her use of multiple layers of media representation: the most public is [of course] the most congenial.

I have several blogs. They all have different friends [groups]. The first one I created in 2003 because I was writing an essay on blogs, so I created it for the experience. But my real blog is created last year and it was for some private things. Five friends know this blog and I do not plan to open it to others. This is only one of my blogs. The second one is a room-diary or dormitory diary. It is a university diary. These are my friends but they are not too close. In my real blog I write my private feelings, my feelings after reading a book or seeing a film or some philosophical ideas. Just recently I opened a third blog on MSN Spaces. The first and second are very private. The first is my friends and myself; the second is myself and dormitory; And I feel I would like to be known by others, so I opened MSN Spaces. On the public blog I only write pleasurable things, jokes, etc. I write things that do no harm to anyone.

A: Female, young professional. Mid-twenties

I don’t think people will express their true, deep feelings on the Web. What you expose on web is what you want people to know. You will keep the things you don’t want people to know in your heart or go outside and run for an hour.

Link to the whole thing when the
MIT site is fully up.


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