Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Meta-blogging: Of Recontextualization and Self-Identity

Dear Juliet,

My report last Tuesday was about Personal Web Pages and the Semiotic Constructions of Academic Identities. Basically, Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard's paper says that "webbers" aka bloggers/netizens reconstruct themselves so that the identities they post online are only hybrids of their offline identities and their online identities, or only extensions of their offline identities. What we post online are not exactly what or who we are offline. This is because recontextualization happens every time we talk about personal experiences and social practices. When we recontextualize, we also construct a new reality, a new social practice, a new experience, a new perception of the self. In as much as we try to narrate an experience as objectively as possible, we can't. There is recontextualization in almost everything. (For example, a wedding is a social practice. It is a personal experience. When it is video-recorded, the recording becomes a mere recontextualization of the wedding. It may talk about the same wedding, but it is not how another person exactly experienced the wedding. It's also not the same wedding the person who recorded it experienced. Somehow, there is something that's disregarded/downplayed in the video-recording as compared to the recorder's actual experience. Gets?)

Given this premise, self-identities then, are not fixed and are not something we are born with. Self-identity is reflexively made or constructed. We tell who we are based on the way we see ourselves and based on the way we want others to see us. One's narratives in his/her blog say a lot about his/her identity. But, we also have to remember that what are narrated in blogs are based on the webber's prerogatives. These narratives are conveniently screened, chosen, and recontextualized to fit a virtual context that is the web page. We also have to remember that a web page has an audience, follows a template, and requires the webber to follow certain netiquettes.

Caldas-Coulthard also strongly points out the importance of a multi-modal analysis in studying web pages. According to her, analysts should not be confined only in the language used. There are other modes employed by the webber in his/her pursuit of projecting an image other than the text. If analyses are confined in the text, a lot of considerations are disregarded. The study stops at the computer's edge. Analysts may also consider other modes such as color, layout, images used, URL title, background music, tone of voice for vlogs, videos, etc.

Thus, before one fully presents/displays an identity online, there had been a lot of recontextualizations and mediations that happened first. And so, after my report, I decided to analyze my blog, and here are my observations:

1. I tried to hide behind the alias, Happidezz,but then my Facebook badge revealed my name. So that's one concrete example of not being able to maintain a purely online identity.

2. I use humor and self-deprecation. Yes. To avoid disapprovals from friends and readers, I make fun of myself and drop jokes to address issues subtly and lightly. I bully myself. I highlight my faults and weaknesses. That way, nosy people wouldn't have to rub my faults to my face. I already know, bitches!

3. I am happidezz because I want to prove the world that I can be happy despite what I had gone through. If you're a friend, or a reader since September 2010, you know what I mean.

4. I project an image that's not so serious, not so studious, not so industrious. I'm a dilly-dallier. I seem to not take life seriously. My posts are actually dense and do not have any social significance. Haha!

5. I am so full of myself because even in this entry about meta-blogging, I've decided to analyze my own blog. HAHAHA!

Hoping, waiting, believing.
★ Happidezz

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