Here are the slides I’m speaking from today at the The Network as a Space and Medium for Collaborative Interdisciplinary Art Practice here in Bergen today. There’s already video up from the performances and readings last night, and some ongoing discussion on the Twitter hashtag #network09. A short summary of my talk follows the slides.

Literary narrative genres develop from personal narrative practices. The first novels were based on letters and diaries, though the genre developed into something independent in time. This presentation discusses contemporary personal media and narrative practices, such as those we see in social media. Some of these practices are constrained by corporations such as Facebook or Twitter, which steer our expression in specific ways. Others appear free, yet are heavily influenced by cultural templates, copying and voluntary rules. Often, corporations or organisations provide systems to automate some of these voluntary rules. We’re also beginning to see some examples of social media sites that take our contributions and create their own visualisations and representations of an aspect of our life. For instance, Dopplr.com generates reports on your travel, Flickr.com shows you your photos on a map or as a calendar, Trixietracker.com graphs your baby’s sleep patterns and Google Web History visualises your search activity in time. What happens, then, when our personal narratives and self-documentations arenít hand-crafted as with diaries and scrapbooks, but are automatically generated? What would literary narratives following these personal but computationally assisted practices look like?

The talk builds upon and extends an essay to be published in the European Journal of Communications in December this year (Preprint available).

6 thoughts on “personal narratives, corporate templates

  1. Omer Rosenbaum

    Your students are so lucky! Were in the world you will find a professor using Kanye West’s thing in a presentation (not to mention knowing about that).

  2. […] “I don’t actually mind cookie cutters – I make a lot of cookies, and I use proprietary cookie cutters.” -Jill Walker Rettberg [Jill’s slides and a preprint of her related paper are online.] […]

  3. nick

    Your talk was great Jill, in explaining the story-building and personal value of some of those 2.0 systems, even though many of look askance at them. Thanks for the slides and paper link. I slapped up a quick post about the workshop over at Post Position.

  4. Jill Walker Rettberg

    Thanks, Nick, and I like your strategy of posting analects instead of a summary 🙂

  5. Pierre Mounier

    Hi Jill,

    thank you so much for this presentation. It makes me think to what I name “reluctant authors” : persons who begin a blog, a facebook wall or Tweeter account just to document their own life (for themselves, their kin and close friends), and begin to attract attention from others with whom they are not engaged in an interpersonal relationship. At a cerrain moment, they realize they have an audience though it was not their goal at the beginning. Suddenly, the device makes them a “reluctant author” and they have to manage all the litterary problems authors traditionnaly have to manage. For the fun : I tried to present this idea at the french equivalent to the authors guild (named SGDL) ; I let you imagine how it was received 😉

  6. Jane Barry

    Hi, Jill. Just wanna thank you for the presentation. I study at LSBF and gather information for my dissertation work concerning social media. You gave me a new direction to follow in my research. Thanks again.

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