On Monday at 5:30 (in room 14E-310) I’m giving a talk at MIT’s Purple Blurb series, kindly hosted by Nick Montfort. This will be an extra fun challenge because Purple Blurb focusses on art and practice, so I’m going to be talking about how I’ve used digital self-representation myself, research blogging and taking selfies. I’ll talk about my book project too, using bits of the talk I’ve given a few times now, but it’ll be interesting framing it using my own practice – I don’t do that as much as I used to.

I’m going to have to start with my high school diary:

My diary in high school, ca 1989.

And of course move on to my peak blogging years, which when I look back at them now were filled with much more personal posts than now, and with long comment threads. I do miss that, although the comments aren’t gone, they’ve just moved to Facebook and Twitter where there is no way that I will find them ten years from now as I find comments from Diane and Elin and Collin and Scott on a post about fiction and blogging I wrote in 2004. Here I am, ten years ago, happily showing off my new t-shirt. Terrible resolution; I can’t find a bigger version of the image.

Then my PhD was done and I was teaching and running a department and suddenly a grown up academic and blogging became difficult. I wrote an essay about that: Blogging from inside the ivory tower.

And here’s today’s selfie, from the beach here at Hull outside of Boston, squinting into the sun. I’m not sure that a selfie like this really stands in for the shift away from the personal in my blogging, but it’s all you’re getting today. Monday you’ll get more about the uncomfortableness of selfies, about the hiding that is necessary in a blog and about all the things you can’t measure, can’t visualize, can’t represent.

Selfie by the beach

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