22 March 2007


I wonder does all research have an autobiographical element? There are many layers of autobiography to my research interests; diaries, journals and even blogs are part of life writing, and choosing to study life writing necessarily leads to writing your own life. I started writing my life in 1971, in an extremely cool apple green locked diary (with a drawing of a girl wearing flares, an indian tunic and beads on the cover; in my memory, she is dancing). My diary had a name, that I shall always swear I do not remember... I started reading blogs in 1999, on my first computer, in the bedroom of our apartment in Paris while the Little One was sleeping. See how things intermesh; one of the blogs I read every day is being written from an apartment in the same XVème arrondissement. Back in Ireland, as I went back to college to study for a Master’s in Translation Studies, the Very Big Sister started a blog. When the time came for my dissertation, I chose to study French and Irish adolescents’ blogs, and then decided to continue towards a PhD. I now also read research blogs, and some political or current events blogs, but always go back to what Herring et al calls the journal-type blogs. The more I read, the more I find that even in research blogs, even in journalistic blogs, the private comes to the fore, pushed maybe by the perceived intimacy between the writers and their readers, and the negotiation of the author’s voice. But see how things converge: I was talking to the Big Brother yesterday about the ways of finding Irish adolescents’ blogs in a sea of English language, and about culture-specific search words. His profound and intimate knowledge of Irish teens’ vocabulary was an invaluable help. We narrowed it down to some specific words, such as skangers, some specific and teenage-altered place names, Belvo for Belvedere College, the Wez or Oxegen for going out, and altered spellings: mon, roish, loike that aim to mimic the accents of the well-heeled amongst teenagers (obviously non-skangers). It took me two words and three clicks to land on the Big Brother’s Bebo page, which up to now I had studiously avoided.

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