Laura Trippi

I stumbled onto a very acidic personality on the web that I just had to know more about: net.narrative.environments seems like a journal concerned with many of the same issues I am. But other than the name of the writer, and it’s academic tone there are few clues about the writer. So I did a search, and found Laura Trippi’s resume. MA in intellectual history, low marks for tact. I lose respect for people when they use dictionary definitions in posts for anything other than comic effect. Blogging about blogging has been a constant topic of fascination for me. I’m always curious what people think they are doing. Anytime narrative gets mentioned in the same sentence with blogging, it gets my attention.

Though I’m not interested in game theory per se, digressions into the narrative elements of gaming and blogging in this entry make me question my own fuzzy definitions of narrative. The presence of narrative in any discourse which is marked by division into days, hours, minutes, etc., is for me a given. Even a collection of links is a narrative of a certain kind, showing the temporal discovery of these events in the environment. Narrative doesn’t have to be sequential, in my opinion anyway. I think the narrative drive is the drive to make sense of time (as described by Augustine of Hippo in Confessions) and because of this, it’s never far from all human activity. So the division of two forms of blogging (linking and narrative blogs) seems really like an artificial construct with little validity. I think that the primary difference between blogs and hypertext is the presence of a time element; past a certain point, you let go of the document as it scrolls back into an archive. This greatly facilitates the writing process, in my opinion. I feel as if hypertext, without the element of time, becomes ultimately meaningless to the typical user. Therefore, Trippi’s key question seems misdirected:

How are constraints of the software shaping the narrative dimensions of weblogging? To the extent that the division of blogging into these distinct subgenres reflects more than the constraints of software (not to be pedantic or anything), what does it tell us about identity and narrative construction in networked environments?

These concerns seem secondary to me. The software creates the narrative dimension. How is identity constructed in a public, networked environment? That is the real question. The rules regarding the construction of identity are loose and individuated. What rules people choose to adhere to in their blogs is far more interesting than any limitation by software; software changes quickly, people change slowly.

Given her observations in her blog, it seems strange that I would have to search independently in order to construct Trippi’s identity. Her web site is an odd combination of well developed portal and personal reflection. I liked it, though I am a bit uneasy about the whole thing.