Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Shout into the Wind, and it shouts back

Today I was assigned the reading "Shout into the wind, and it shouts back" by Lori Kendall. Although our class has been studying blogs for the past two weeks, this reading's main focus shines light on another Web 2.0 application, known as LiveJournal. This reading consists of a study conducted by the author involving the identity and information management strategies of LiveJournal users. Kendall (2007) stated that she "Conducted face-to-face interviews with a theoretical sample of 26 LiveJournal users in several different United States cities."(p. 2)

The author begins this study by explaining how her interviewees distinguish between blogs and LiveJournal. She states that they believe "A blog requires more skill with html and is housed on a personally controlled website, while LiveJournal is a site hosting online diaries."(p.2) Some interviewees stated that LiveJournal is used as a diary, but very private things must be left out since it is displayed to the public. One interviewee, Robert, makes a very good statement regarding this. He states "Even if my post is marked private, it's on somebody elses server and if the government wanted to subpoena all of my records concerning me they could." Kendall also had discovered other findings in her study. She stated that some interviewees chose LiveJournal over Email as a better form of asynchronous communication with friends or even the public. If a user wanted to post something in their journal that they wanted the public, all of their friends, or even a few selected friends to hear, they can send their message through their journal. After their friends have viewed what they wrote, they can reply back and provide feedback. This is where the Kendall had developed the quote "Shout into the wind and it shouts back." Users shout out what they want others to hear or read, while in return they receive feedback.

This reading was very interesting to me in the area of feedback. This can be used in many beneficial ways in my opinion. If a user loves to hear feedback on their opinions that they post, then this website would be very entertaining for them. If you want to send a message to a massive audiance, such as informing your friends that you just had your first child, then this is a also a very beneficial website. I believe the feedback portion of this website is what Kendall is trying illustrate in the area of identity and information strategy.

Kendall, Lori. (2007). "Shout into the wind, and it shouts back." Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal. First Monday, 12. Retrieved on August 21, 2008 from http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue12_9/kenda11/index.html

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