Within blogosphere studies, there is considerable disagreement as to whether the blogger’s contruction of identity is a form of role-playing or an authentic attempt at mimesis. Some theorists have adopted apparently extreme positions: Raynes-Goldie, embracing postmodernism, suggests that “in this informational chaos, the question of truth is not really a useful one,” whereas McNeill notes that “though these readers do not know the diarist outside of the context of her text, they believe her textual representation is ‘real,’ the flesh made digital” (37). Presenting a more measured view of the subject, Kitzmann writes, “that diaries and autobiographies, both handwritten and electronic, are grounded to a significant extent on real, authentic individuals is a common enough assertion.” He compares the fictionalization of blog entries to a violation of Philippe Lejeune’s “autobiographical pact” (59), the contract of trust formed between the reader and the writer, the autobiographical pact is based on the reader’s recognition that the name of the author, narrator, and protagonist are the same, and that these three seem to share a common identity. —Daniel Holbrook —Theorizing the Diary Weblog (PDF) (Our Bold Hero)
I’m planning to beef up my knowledge of the personal diary weblog as part of my preparation for teaching Writing for the Internet, and Holbrook’s paper (which he submitted for his MA thesis at the University of Chicago) covers the area nicely.