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Brave new genre, or generic colonialism?

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Abstract

This chapter analyses online users&#8217; debates about the generic classification and ancestry of &#8220;blogs&#8221; and &#8220;Internet diaries,&#8221; looking in particular at users&#8217; defensive definitions and meta-generic commentary that would distinguish the blog from the diary. I argue that these directives draw on traditional generic stereotypes, reproduced from print culture, that associate the diary with the narcissistic, feminine, and amateur, qualities apparently antithetical to self-styled &#8220;bloggers.&#8221; Since actual practice does not necessarily support a tenable distinction between blogs and diaries, I suggest that such genre claims arise from and protect particular communities&#8217; ideals about the World Wide Web&#8212;and therefore its forms of communication&#8212;as novel. These often-heated commentaries offer opportunities to explore how communities understand and invest in genre in an evolving situation. A blog is not a diary. A diary is where you store private information and self reflection about your life, snapshotted feelings, etc. A blog is publicly there for anyone to see&#8230;.A blog is a living autobiography&#8230; &#8211;Austin (2006 19 Oct.) <i>Weblog, n</i>. A frequently updated web site consisting of personal observations, excerpts from other sources, etc., typically run by a single person, and usually with hyperlinks to other sites; an online journal or diary. &#8211;<i>Oxford English Dictionary</i> (2003) Defining &#8220;blog&#8221; is a fool&#8217;s errand. &#8211;Jeff Jarvis (2005 27 Aug.).

References

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