Friday, 23 August 2013

Virtual Songlines

Virtual Songlines
BA1002          Kendall Munro          Monday 3pm

Van Luyn (2013) explained in this week’s lecture that we are physically creating our own narrative all day, every day. Through what we do, what we say and how we say it, we are sharing a part of ourselves that is open for interpretation by those who are around us, whether that is how we intended for our story to be perceived or not. So is our story ever truly our own? Those who observe our narrative may go and share it with another (where it is open for interpretation once again), and our story has become a part of their narrative. Facebook enables this chain of reaction to occur more rapidly and to a larger audience.
Through features such as the ‘share’ button, Facebook allows users to share other user’s ‘status’ updates, videos, and photos. When somebody shares something you have uploaded, on the ‘post’ a small icon appears that says ‘# shares’, if you click on this it’ll open a list to who has shared your item. You can further click on the individual names to open their post, where they have shared your original post, and possibly made their own comment on your item. By leaving this trace of who has shared your post, Facebook creates a trail that shows where your online narrative has travelled and who has seen it, this can be likened to this week’s reading The Songlines. Bruce Chartwin’s ‘The Songlines’ (1987), describes the way that the aboriginal community believed “each totemic ancestor, while travelling through the country, was thought to have scattered a trail of words and musical notes along the lines of his footprints”, these songlines were maps and directions for that path. As the song line travelled, it would be shared with those that cross paths and so and so forth. I believe this is similar to how Facebook members use their profiles, each day they are creating their own virtual songline. Share their experiences, their triumphs and their failures, leaving behind a map of directions for their Facebook friends to follow or be conscious to avoid.
Feel free to read through Chartwin’s essay, I believe we can apply the concept of the songlines not only to our virtual footpath, but in our daily lives too.
Chatwin, B. (1987). The Songlines. Jonathan Cape Ltd
Van Luyn, A. (2013). BA1002: Our Space: Networks, Narrratives and The Making Of Place, Lecture 4: Narrative. [Notes] Retrieved from:
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  1. Hi Kendall,

    I was really engaged in your blog this week, and I thought that the points you addressed were really interesting. I wasn’t aware that if people shared your posts, you were able to see who has shared it (most likely because my posts are never shared). In response to your question “so is our story ever truly our own?” In terms of Facebook, I believe so. Although people are able to share your posts, it’s not as if they are taking away from your story, it is more like they adding to your story. Other people are able to influence the way your story is perceived when they add to it, but this does not necessarily change the way you told the story. The narratives we construct can and will depend on other’s input to help it grow; as McNeill states that life narrators write themselves and others. In my opinion, a post becomes more significant when people contribute and tell your story in their perspective, building more to the original.

    I look forward to reading more of your blogs in the next few weeks.

    McNeill, L. 2012. There Is No "I" in Network: Social Networking Sites and Posthuman Auto/Biography.

  2. Mikayla Giuffrida23 August 2013 at 14:22

    Hi Kendall,

    The way you described out individuals’ life story on Facebook was really interesting. I also liked how you included the fact that our narratives can be shared and interpreted differently by others. The question you posed of “is our story ever truly our own?” is a good one. As Van Luyn (2013) states, “In a virtual network, you are not the only person constructing your identity”. By people sharing your posts, others are constructing an opinion on you although not necessarily one you intended to share with the world. The link you described between the Songlines reading and Facebook was very well identified, how like Songlines, we are leaving behind a trail of our own narratives which can be followed.


    Van Luyn, A. (2013). BA1002: Our Space: Networks, Narratives, and the Making of Place, Week 4 Notes (PowerPoint). Retrieved: