‘Other’ Identity at BlogHer

Here is the drawing I used for Blogher on identity:

BiogHer Identity Picture

First I talked briefly about why people get so bent out of shape when they find out that the person he or she was reading was not who he or she thought it was:

“We, however, have talked about the relationship between blogging and journalism until we are blue in the face. It is time to admit that they are kissing cousins and move on. For me, coming at this from the perspective of a linguist, what is interesting is not so much the why in the drama of uncovered other identity, but rather the how. How do we build, maintain and manipulate identity?”

I went on to mention that there is a continuum between the public and private identity. On one end of the spectrum you have the private blogs: those that blog anonymously, pseudonymously, or with an ‘other’ identity. These blogs use their reputation (not linked to a physical description) as their identity. On the other end are the private blogs, those which fully disclose physical attributes, in addition to their blog presence to establish identity. Their identity becomes/builds and maintains their identity. Here you can find many company and academic blogs (although I learned about some companies who blog using pseudonyms such as Carmen Electrode and Brittney Sparkplug…and we can not forget the ever brilliant BitchPhD.) While Bitch would fit into the private end of the spectrum, the ‘other identity’ company blogs would be found closer to the public end of the continuum.

(p.s. the gray stuff in the middle are things we use to build identity in blogs)

cross posted from my blog

On tagging

“Tagging is about serendipity and accessibility. A way to tapping into something and finding things you would not be able to find”. –Marnie Webb

BlogHer in San Jose

We just finished the first session of BlogHer and it was quite interesting. I attended the ‘Pimp Your Blog’ session, and while I knew a lot of the information already, there was a bit on accessibility which was really interesting. Skye described accessibility as allowing people to recevie the same information, regardless of the channel. She went on to illustrate many of the common mistakes bloggers make that make their pages inaccessible to those with dissabilities, especially people who rely on a screen reader to read their webpages. For example – possibly the most easy to fix being where you put your sidebar and how you contextualize your links. Another important tip had to do with pictures. Because the readers often only read the ‘alt’ of a picture url, it is important to make it as descriptive as possible. Great tips, nice little handout, and a lesson worth repeating. I think it is time to make the HUMlab blog as accessible as possible.


I did my talk on “Bringing cyberinfrastructures together: Studio spaces, multiplex visualization and creative interaction” at the Cyberinfrastructure Institute here at UCSD a few hours ago. I really enjoyed doing the talk and also thinking about these matters beforehand.

Someone asked me about a conceptual framework or conceptual cyber infrastructure in the Q & A session and even though I have not thought about it in that way I think that is probably what I am trying to do in relation to HUMlab and the humanities and information technology. A good point and it has already helped my thinking.

Another point that came up related to the use of laptops and portable devices in relation to our space (not least because we are planing to expand the space). It is something we have talked about to som extent but we need to discuss this more.

A third point concerned the situaiton for Ph.D. students with double affiliation, and more generally, the situation for younger researchers interested in doing work in this field. This is a complex issue and for us the graduate students and their double affiliation are very important. They are involved in changing both worlds. Other strategies we have adopted include doing research seminars with departments (in their space) on issues to with the “digital” in relation to their discipline. And, of course, seminars and other activities are important. Not least with established scholars who both have an excellent track record in more traditional research and ‘new’ research. It is a give and take kind of process and one key aspect is mutual respect. We also try to help the departments when they have students who want to do work in the field. But it is never a matter of taking over – either way – but rather it is all about working together.

In any case, the powerpoint file (as a 2,3 MB pdf) is availble from here. The talk was streamed and will be made available in an archived version later. I will post the link as soon as it becomes available.

expanding the lab

I have been fortunate enough to work with a gifted 3D designer when trying to develop a concept for the possible expansion of the lab. It is a creative process and I love being able to try things out.


This is part of the 3D model (left part is the planned part and the right part is today’s HUMlab). We will produce a fly-through animation of the new part of the lab later this summer.

For tomorrow’s meeting I am considering the possibility of integrating bookcases into the extension. They would have to be curved but I think they would add to the ambience and functionality of the lab.