Past-Blogging: Defining a Practice

Past-Blogging: Defining a Practice

Ana Lúcia Migowski da Silva (Justus Liebig Universität/Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Germany), Gabriela da Silva Zago (MIDIARS, Brazil) and Daiani Ludmila Barth (University of Brasília, Brazil & Federal University of Rondônia, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3822-6.ch003
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Abstract

In this paper, the authors conceive past-blogging as a narrative practice which is based on a specific media format. The practice can be initially defined as an account of past events developed according to blogs' most common characteristic: the reverse chronological order of published posts, in which the most recent posts appear on top of the page. Past-blogging practices give rise to cultural products developed in various digital media platforms, especially in journalistic and educational contexts. In order to understand this phenomenon, the authors conducted an empirical and qualitative analysis of 34 cases in which content producers narrate past events by reenacting them or telling their history as if they were happening in the present. The sample – composed by different categories of events, platforms, narrative strategies, motivations for the content production and participation of audience – demonstrates how historical events have been represented within digital media.
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Platforms, Uses And Practices

The use of blogs to narrate events is directly linked to its origin as “web” navigation “logs” (Blood, 2000). Since these tools were initially created by hand using html, the most recent entry used to be added to the top, with all other messages being pushed down the page. That led to the emergence of one of the most classic features of the blog format: the reverse chronological order (new entries on the top, older entries on the bottom).

Initially, blogs were used for personal purposes, such as for navigation logs or personal diaries. But over the time they started to be recognized as a medium for news. Blogs started to be seen as spaces for news especially during the Iraq War, with warblogs being used to report what was happening on the scene (Recuero, 2003; Wall, 2005). This use is directly related to historians' use to blog about contemporary history and current affairs (Cole, 2011). “Historians addressing current affairs can function journalistically, doing information-gathering, presenting analysis and synthesizing or aggregating large numbers of narrow articles” (Cole, 2011, p.669). These digital platforms started to be used because they allowed for agile, easy and flexible ways of publishing and sharing news and messages. Today one can find blogs focused on various topics and communities of interest, from cosmetics, fashion and health care to tourism, education and scientific popularization - just to cite a few examples. We are here concerned with the appropriation of blogging practices in regard to historical events.

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