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Riverbend - Baghdad Burning: A Diary Or A Blog

Page history last edited by Bjoern 13 years, 11 months ago

Riverbend - Baghdad Burning: A Diary Or A Blog?



"A little bit about myself:I`m female, Iraqi, and 24. I survived the war. That`s all you need to know. It`s all that matters these days anyway." [...] "I never thought I`d start my own weblog. All I could think, every time I wanted to start one was `but who will read it?`".


Table of Contents


1. Introduction

2. Definition of a blog

3. What is a diary

4. Riverbend: Diary or blog?

5. Riverbend - Baghdad Burning

6. Conclusion




“Bloggers are not exactly journalists, which is a mistake many people make. They expect us to be dispassionate and unemotional about topics such as occupation and war, etc. That obejctive lack of emotion is impossible because a blog in itself steems from passion – the need to sit hours at one`s computer, slouched over the keyboard, trying to communicate ideas, thoughts, fears and frustations to the world.”


1. Introduction



Lots of people share their feelings, thoughts and emotions with their diaries by writing them down with a pencil. Diaries can help people to understand and they probably help people to cope with their present situation. Therefore, a diary is some sort of best friend you can tell everything, especially things you wouldn`t tell anyone else. As we are living in a media controlled world, the internet has become a big part of our lives and of course there has been a change from the traditional way of writing to a new and modern one – blogs. But are there no differences between diaries and blogs? What do they have in common? This essay is going to analyse Riverbend`s blog in detail – is it really a blog or more like a diary?


2. Definition of a blog


A blog (a contraction of the term "web log") is basically a web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (artlog), photographs (photoblog), sketches (sketchblog), videos (vlog), music (MP3 blog), audio (podcasting), which are part of a wider network of social media. Micro-blogging is another type of blogging, one which consists of blogs with very short posts. 



3. What exactly is a diary?


A diary is a record (originally in written book format) with discrete entries arranged by date reporting on what has happened over the course of a day or other period. Diaries undertaken for institutional purposes play a role in many aspects of human civilization, including government records (e.g., Hansard), business ledgers and military records. Schools or parents may teach or require children to keep diaries in order to encourage the expression of feelings and to promote thought.


Generally the term is today employed for personal diaries, in which the writer may detail more personal information and normally intended to remain private or to have a limited circulation amongst friends or relatives. The word "journal" may be sometimes used for "diary," but generally one writes daily in a diary, whereas journal-writing can be less frequent.


Whilst a diary may provide information for a memoir, autobiography or biography, it is generally written not with the intention of being published as it stands, but for the author's own use. By extension the term diary is also used to mean a printed publication of a written diary; and may also refer to other terms of journal including electronic formats (e.g., blogs).



4. Riverbend: Diary or blog?





According to these definitions it seems that Riverbend has mixed up both terms and created a blog in diary-style or a diary in blog-style. But is it really a mixture of both? And if not, what is it exactly?


As Riverbend calls herself a blogger, there must be some detailled differences between a blog and a diary. What are the main differences?

There are lots of components that seperates a blog from a diary:


1.      a blog is always written online

2.      hyperlinks are used in a blog, which is just impossible to use in diaries

3.      the latest news / entries are always presented on top

4.      people can communicate in a blog (forum, E-mail, entries)

5.      content is supposed to be read by others (a blog is mainly written for others to share feelings)

6.      therefore it`s public (everyone can read it)

7.      there is a tool to search for keywords or topics


Also the structure of a blog differs in many ways to a diary:


1.      most of the blogs use a standardized layout (colors, format)

2.      it`s basically about one special topic ( Riverbend wrote about The Iraq War)

3.      often there is a blogroll used (author links to other blogs which could also be intersting for the reader)


5. Riverbend – Baghdad Burning


Monday, October 22, 2007


Bloggers Without Borders...

Syria is a beautiful country- at least I think it is. I say “I think” because while I perceive it to be beautiful, I sometimes wonder if I mistake safety, security and normalcy for ‘beauty’. In so many ways, Damascus is like Baghdad before the war- bustling streets, occasional traffic jams, markets seemingly always full of shoppers… And in so many ways it’s different. The buildings are higher, the streets are generally narrower and there’s a mountain, Qasiyoun, that looms in the distance.


In this entry Riverbend decribes her own personal situation. She had left Iraq because of the war and went to Syria. The model she uses in this entry strictly follows the scheme of a diary – describing the surroundings, feelings and emotions.


Sunday, December 31, 2006


A Lynching...

It's official. Maliki and his people are psychopaths. This really is a new low. It's outrageous- an execution during Eid. Muslims all over the world (with the exception of Iran) are outraged. Eid is a time of peace, of putting aside quarrels and anger- at least for the duration of Eid.


This does not bode well for the coming year. No one imagined the madmen would actually do it during a religious holiday. It is religiously unacceptable and before, it was constitutionally illegal. We thought we'd at least get a few days of peace and some time to enjoy the Eid holiday, which coincides with the New Year this year. We've spent the first two days of a holy holiday watching bits and pieces of a sordid lynching.


America the savior… After nearly four years and Bush's biggest achievement in Iraq has been a lynching. Bravo Americans.


Here Riverbend writes about the political situation in Iraq during a holy holiday. This entry is also very emotional but rather in a different way. It`s not about her own personal situation, it`s more about politics, social aspects and the present situation of all Iraqis. It seems more like a platform for information, just like a newspaper, but a non-objective one. Riverbend uses the word “we” in this entry, which is quite interesting. She doesn`t just talk about herself but about all people that are involved. Probably this wouldn`t be used in a diary.


6. Conclusion


“While bloggers and academics alike attempt to define the "blogosphere" as a practice and medium that exists almost independently of old media labels, a close examination of a blog can reveal these elements of old media still exists in their structure. Blogs certainly differ in their means of transmission, and a case can be made that they are an entirely separate medium.”


So I would say that Riverbend actually mixed both media and therefore created a new medium. Riverbend`s blog contains all aspects of a blog and a diary. She wrote a diary using the techniques of new media.




Riverbend - Baghdad Burning (blog), 25.10.2008: http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/2003_08_01_riverbendblog_archive.html


Wikipedia - The free encyclopedia, 25.10.2008: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page


Blogsofwar - Salam Pax as Diary or Blog, 25.10.2008: http://blogsofwar.pbwiki.com/Salam%20Pax%20as%20Diary%20or%20Blog


Riverbend."Baghdad Burning II - More Girl Blog From Iraq". First Feminist Press edition, 2006. New York.

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