Saturday, February 7, 2009

PL 19/09: Private, personal, public

Filed under: LATINA — plinius @ 7:39 am

personalBlogs straddle the division between the private and the public sphere.

Yesterday I spoke with the international library students at the LATINA course about the role of blogging in our programme. We are accustomed to treat publication as something special – and private as the normal state of affairs.

With blogs and similar low intensity tools, it is the other way around. Web publication is the default rather than the exception.

This does not mean to abandon privacy. The public/private boundary is one of the important structures in our life-worlds. But blogs shift the boundary.

I do not care if people write boring blogs – or blogs that I find boring. The world is full of boring newspapers. So I don’t read them.

But I find it very useful to read the ideas of people in their tentative and formative stage. I use my blogs to talk to myself, and like to follow people – in my professional field – who are doing the same. I also enjoy people who combine the personal and professional, like Jill Walker does. She is not pumping iron, but breastmilk.

This is clearly a real issue – with public implications – at certain times in the life of a certain gender.

Starting to write “for the world” may be scary. I said to the students: relax. Use the blogs to explore ideas and to share good stuff you discover. From blogs people don’t expect polish and perfection. If somebody should criticize you for releasing unfinished work, they don’t understand the medium.

Write every day, if possible. Writing for a public – even a very small one – is excellent exercise for the spirit.



  1. Yes! Writing is good. And while I certainly want to keep lots of my life private, I think there are lots of personal things that really make up a big part of our professional “public” lives – like, in my case, needing to pump breastmilk somehow when I go to another city for the day to give a talk at a conference…

    Comment by Jill Walker Rettberg — Saturday, February 7, 2009 @ 9:25 am

  2. […] 19/09. Private, personal, public. Blogs move boundaries, but do not abolish […]

    Pingback by P 22/09: Når utdanning blir global « Plinius — Friday, February 13, 2009 @ 9:00 pm

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