26.1: Online Lives

Onlines Lives
vol. 26, no. 1, Winter 2003
Guest Editor: John Zuern
Identity,” by Liz Rideal. Photographic collage, 2000 mm x 5000 mm, 1985. This mass self-portrait, which includes a larger self-portrait of the artist within the main body of images, consists of 4,880 individual portraits of members of the general public, taken by a photo booth installed in the National Portrait Gallery during the summer of 1985. By courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Online Lives: Introduction” by John Zuern

Screening Moments, Scrolling Lives: Diary Writing on the Web” by Madeleine Sorapure

An analysis of online diaries suggests some of the ways in which autobiographical stories and subjects are shaped on the Web. The computer as a writing tool, and the Web as a publishing medium, influence the practices of diary writing, affecting how diaries are written, what is written and to whom, and how they are read and interpreted.

Teaching an Old Genre New Tricks: The Diary on the Internet” by Laurie McNeill

This article examines the diary’s transformation from print culture practice to online phenomenon, considering the implications of this change for the diary as a literary genre and as life writing. This discussion explores the challenges the online diary represents to traditional concepts of the genre as private and monologic, investigating the ways in which online diarists attract readers, build communities, and create identities in cyberspace.

That Different Place: Documenting the Self Within Online Environments” by Andreas Kitzmann

This article is based on a very straightforward question: what are the differences between conventional handwritten diaries and the online diaries that are increasingly appearing on the World Wide Web? I argue that an important aspect of the differences lie in the experimental and material conditions of the Web itself.

The Gnome in the Front Yard and Other Public Figurations: Genres of Self-Presentation on Personal Home Pages” by John B. Killoran

In light of empirical research showing that personal home pages are not as personal as their reputation suggests, this paper proposes that sustained selfpresentation on the Web by ordinary people has been hindered, in part, by the feeble legacy of suitable genres. Drawing on a sample of over one hundred personal home pages, this paper illustrates how, in the absence of generic precedents, public self-presentation is instead achieved through innovation with past genres.

At Home in Cyberspace: Staging Autobiographical Scenes” by Elayne Zalis

United by a common tendency to raise questions about the meaning, recollection, and locus of “home” in a digital age, the five hypermedia Web sites on this virtual tour open up arenas for staging autobiographical scenes differently. Broadening the scope of The Home Project that the trAce Online Writing Centre maintains, and drawing on theories of spatiality and cyberculture, the survey of Family Portrait, Grandfather Gets a House, The Family Album Portrait, Home Maker, and Heard It in the Playground shows how these networked experiments with collaborative storytelling and a composite approach transform personal home pages into new spaces for cultural intervention that, while merging “private” and “public” spheres, provide forums in which culturally diverse casts of characters showcase theatres of recollection for heterogeneous audiences around the world.

Technobiography: Researching Lives, Online and Off” by Helen Kennedy

This article is an argument for technobiography, a term coined in Cyborg Lives? Women’s Technobiographies, a collection I coedited in 2001. I outline what technobiography is, and how, by allowing access to what it feels like to live certain digital experiences, it can contribute to building a comprehensive picture of cybercultural landscapes. If we want to understand lived experiences of the Internet, we need to study not only online, virtual representations of selves, but also lives and selves situated within the social relations of the consumption and production of information and communication technologies. Drawing on two technobiographical projectsÑone involving a group of black, working-class women returning to education with the aid of networked technologies and computer-mediated distance learning, and another exploring social relations in a digital multimedia production center -I indicate ways in which technobiography can contribute to this important project