Friday, 6 September 2013

Online Audience

Throughout the last decade, online diaries have gained notable popularity and are now a daily routine for thousands worldwide. Since the introduction of the internet, the diary has had a complete re-invention in both format and the generic features that create the diary itself. What was once an intimate and private journal, has now transformed into a public account, visible to the eyes of a wide audience of internet users. Instagram, the social networking site I have been researching throughout the past few weeks, is a prime example of how the both the format and genre specific conventions of the diary have developed with the introduction of the internet.

With a lack of a post feature, to allow users to verbally express themselves, it is hard to classify Instagram as an online diary, however, the genre conventions would say different. The lasting popularity of the diary genre is no doubt due “to its seemingly endless flexibility” (McNeill 2011), which has led to the current generation, posting their feelings, opinions and experiences on the World Wide Web. This change leaves almost no evidence of the once private, journal that was handwritten and hidden from friends and family, raising matters about the authenticity of the online diary. This public outlet for emotions and events, lacks the intimate and personal touch that made the idea of a diary so attractive for so many in the first place. When using Instagram for example, uploading photos and emoticons are the only way to convey how a user is feeling, users are not there authentic selves when posting, as there users are trying to appeal to their followers. Here is an excerpt of an essay by Bruce Merry, discussing the diary as genre.

 Just by looking at the presentation in which Instagram is displayed, the evolution of the diary becomes clear, transforming the design and the concept. But how can this new form the diary genre has undertaken be classed as authentic? There is no privacy on the internet, users are sharing their thoughts and opinions with a worldwide audience, hence defeating the purpose of the personal diary.


McNeill, L. (2011). Diary 2.0?: A genre moves from page to screen, in Rowe, C. & Wyss, E.L. (Eds). Language and new media. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton. 

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