Weblogs have come to the fore as major new media for identity formation and management. Within the context of the current “global village” those new electronic spaces became vital tools in orchestrating certain particular and cultural traits that can be understood as new forces of anti-globalization resistance. Equally, such weblogs are also indispensible in contemporary modern societies notably multi-ethnic and multi-cultural ones like the United States of America. Based on American experience, this article attempts to show how American ethnic groups employ new technology to give a new shape and dimension to their quest for rights and identity assertion. Thus, blogs provided for ethnic and social minorities a digital virtual space to negotiate their identities and promote their perspectives. Bloggers, consequently, expressed and presented their “real” ethnicity-related concerns in that virtual space. In this article, I randomly analyzed qualitatively a number of race-related blogs in order to trace the interplay between the real and the virtual in new media in general and blogs in particular.
Key words: blog; ethnicity; the virtual; the real; and identity.
With the upsurge of multiculturalism, ethnic identity has come to the fore as a pressing cultural and political issue. The failure of the Melting Pot politics ushered in the celebration of cultural diversity. Thus almost all ethnic minorities have been demanding for not only a recognition of their cultural rights but also genuine socio-economic and political rights. Examples of ethnic struggle for civil rights are numerous which created a kind of ethnic resistant identity in America. This article attempts to show how American ethnic groups employ new technology to give a new shape and dimension to their quest for rights and identity assertion. Internet and mainly weblogs represent a new opportunity for ethnic minorities to voice out their deep concern and worry about their identity rights. Weblog or blog defined as « a personal website where entries are commonly displayed in reverse chronological order » (Wikipedia) has become a popular new medium in America. Every internet user can easily create a blog in which s/he can publish any thing and get a feedback from her/his audience. Blog creating needs no special technical experience and it is free. This renders it within the reach of everybody including ethnic minority. Based on Erving Goffman's presentation of the self model and on the concept of self-disclosure, I argue that blogs provided for minorities a digital space to negotiate their identities and promote their perspectives. I randomly selected some weblogs that tackle ethnic issues and analyzed their content to decipher some of the messages conveyed by ethnic bloggers. The content of such blogs tended to vacillate between a virtual and a real management of ethnic identity. While blogs permitted a virtual reconstruction of ethnic identity (or more accurately a re-imagining of ethnic identity), real socio-cultural issues and worries were projected. Also with the help of Jean Baudrillard's concepts of simulation and simulacra, we are tempted to suggest that, despite the advantages of weblogs, they are likely to cultivate a sense of social alienation and demote ethnic minorities' real communicative competence. Thus weblogs might become just a virtual itinerary of ethnic identity; a kind of escapist journey.
Weblogs are defined as personal internet applications which can be used by internet users to electronically publish their views, and ideas. There are many types of weblogs. If the blogger publishes his/her videos, thus he/she created a vlog. If links are published, we get linklog. It will be photolog, if photos are uploaded. Thus, blogs are of many types. Historically, the first blogs emerged in 1994. The term weblog was first coined by the American blogger Jorn Barger in 1997 to describe the process of "logging the web". Blogging has become a popular phenomenon in the United States. The number of blogs and bloggers has been on the rise. According to a specialist website, the number of blogs in America was more than 12 millions in 2006. The number was more than 50 millions at an international scale. This gives a clear idea about the importance of internet in general and weblogs in particular as an alternative medium that empowers the traditionally powerless.
- Quote paper
- Hassen ZRIBA (Author), 2010, Ethnicity-related weblogs. The interplay of the virtual and the real in ethnic identity management in America, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/267026