09:58, Wednesday 22 Dec., 2004 Link
Something's changed in blogs and IM. I get the impression that fiction is no longer acceptable. Or rather, obvious fiction and identity play is okay, but fiction-that-could-be-true or less apparent identity play gets categorised as lies or fibbing (dirty words). Faking referral urls to somebody's website used to be a game, now spammers do it. There used to be anger about a person pretending to be someone else in a blog, now it doesn't happen. Maybe this is because the air is clearing on what these media are good for, and with people online more and more they've become quicker and more conversational. Conversation is interactive media and the old message-down-a-conduit model isn't appropriate--could that be the change? Or perhaps it's because we've realised what identity really means online: it's whatever face you choose to apparently invest time and effort in. So although you might be telling fiction on your blog, that's not how it happens online: you don't exist, and your blog is lying. People don't seem to fictionalise over sms either (I see it a little more in email). I wonder whether the same will happen with social networks. We'll get sick of the fakester idea, and realise that whatever identity you have online is real, there's no such thing as a fake if you bless it.
Books can be storytelling devices; journals aren't. They cross sometimes, for novelty, but we keep them apart. Perhaps blogs and IM aren't going to be storytelling media. Perhaps doing so would inhabit some kind of narrative uncanny valley. Perhaps it would be like a person's usual voice being taken over by a telling voice, sitting round a campfire intoning long poems thousands of years ago. Perhaps that means there's no oral culture online.