An experiment: here’s the current draft of the paper I’m writing on ways in which social media visualise and narrativise their users historical data, providing us with new kinds of mirrors in which to see ourselves and decide who we are. Here’s my previous blog post about the paper. It’s due in four weeks and there’s still plenty to do, but I’d love comments, feedback, corrections etc if you have the time and inclination.

Stuff I’d particularly like feedback on includes: are there more than the three ways of researching social media that I identify in the fourth paragraph and on? What do you think of the patterns/templates I identify in the visualisations? Are there more dark sides (towards the end of the paper)? Who should I cite and how should I make the argument that we use narratives to understand our lives and construct our identities, and that often these narratives build on cultural templates/norms that define what is important?

The paper’s in Google docs and the link above lets you be a collaborator. I’d appreciate it if you simply add comments (using the INSERT –> comment tool or using a different text colour) at relevant places in the text – or write a comment here, or whatever.

7 thoughts on “please: give me feedback!

  1. Margrethe Aas Johnsen


    I have had a quick read through your paper (thanks for letting us see it!), and although I don’t have many thoughts on your questions, specifically, I think you’re presenting interesting examples, and covering a large area of social media theory.

    Basically, all I want to do is say thank you for letting me read it. I’m currently writing my BA-thesis on social media (more specifically blogging, and then LiveJournal as personal journal on display) and its role as a literacy practice. I’ve found several interesting points, and references, that I hope I can include in my own paper? Do you know when and where your paper will be published?

  2. Jill Walker Rettberg

    I’m glad you found it useful! Of course you can use references in your own paper. My paper will be published in a special issue of The European Journal of Communication later this year – I think they said December was likely. I’m sure it will change a lot before it’s publsihed, though. Good luck with your thesis!

  3. Margrethe Aas Johnsen

    Thanks, Jill 🙂 I’ll just add your paper as “not published”.

  4. David Brake

    Putting up your paper as a Google doc is an interesting idea – how are you planning to credit those who contribute when you produce the final piece? Is there some point in the editing where people would get “promoted” to co-authorship? I might try this method myself sometime…

  5. Christian Katzenbach

    Concerning the aspect that “we use narratives to understand our lives and construct our identities”, Jenny SundÈn’s point that, in order to exist online, we must write ourselves into being, came instantly to my mind. Just browsed your paper and couldn’t find, maybe that helps. danah boyd extended it in an First-Monday-Article “Friends, Friendsters, and Top 8: Writing community into being on social network sites” (

    (Jenny SundÈn, 2003. Material Virtualities: Approaching Online Textual Embodiment. New York: Peter Lang.)

  6. Jill Walker Rettberg

    David, I realised when looking at all the people who’d visited and/or left feedback that I’m going to have to credit people in the acknowledgements of the paper. I do have everyone’s google account names, some of which easily convert to real names – I assume I can email others and get their real name (or however they’d like to be credited?) there. I’m not sure about converting to co-authorship – that’s an interesting thought. At this point certainly nobody’s contributed to that extent but it’d be possible, wouldn’t it?

    Oh, I’ve read Jenny SundÈn, thanks, I’ll revisit her piece.

  7. Margrethe Aas Johnsen

    Hello again,

    I’m trying to share a document the same way as you have done here, on Google Docs, with limited success. How did you get Google to create a link that invites anyone who clicks it?

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