Hi there! So you decided to stick around?
Travel Blogging is my topic for this post this week.
This post will talk about travel blogs in relation to the concepts discussed in my course (remember this is part of my education). Some concepts of how digital technologies have impacted us, how the development of the Web 1.0 & 2.0 have provided new spaces and opportunities for us, and how the development and rise of new media formats/new communication systems have changed the reality of our identities (the fine line between virtual and physical).
What is a blog? Below is a pretty good video that sums up what blogging is all about.
There are two types of people that travel blogs exist for: the producer (blogger/traveller) and the consumer (reader/potential traveller). The success of travel blogs is only achieved by the producer embracing the technologies (Web 2.0 – social media and media-sharing platforms) that is available and to communicate effectively with the consumer. The impact of blogs have been allowing users to own a part of digital space and to have control over how they communicate with others digitally (which might lead to actual, physical communication such as joint-travel groups for travel bloggers).
The development of Web 2.0 in which all our digital technologies are part of now has provided us with platforms such as WordPress, Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. Even previously closed off countries like Vietnam and China have begun to embrace digital media, finding it difficult to restrict citizens’ acess to digital media. China’s Great Firewall is one clear example. Compared to other mediums of print, radio or television, digital media forms such as blogging has enabled far greater reach and access, along with lesser government intervention or regulation. Digital media has been rising in China with their own alternatives to social media platforms such as Weibo (impossible to keep citizens of the world’s most populous nation from social media considering the amount of social interaction that occurs daily).
Blogs are part of the array of outlets that Web 2.0 has afforded us, enabling a discursive space and at the same time offers a self-reflective platform for individuals. Similar to other digital media platforms such as Youtube, blogs are often an open space of collaborative work (collaborations such as The Huffington Post and Boing Boing are similar to Youtube collaborations such as We are the world 25 for Haiti). Blogs gives the individual ownership of digital space and shows much potential for users to participate in digital communications.
However, all these developments in digital media have led to a blurring of identity by users. Users update their online identity so often that the online identity defines their ‘RL’ (real-lfe/actual) identity. Both forms of identity plays a big role in our lives and frequently contest to be the primary identity that defines us. There are even videos on Youtube on how to build online identities. Clearly, this is an area of concern as many people are already addicted to social media sites like Facebook and take it too seriously (many marriages have blames Facebook for marital failure and there is the problem of Facebook stalking).
In the context of travel blogging, travel bloggers take their interest in travelling so seriously that they quit their jobs and leave home to travel the world, showing that their online persona is a more important and more accurate description of who they are. This is interesting as digital media has made it possible for people to somewhat morphed into the identity that they have created digitally, clearly erasing the line between digital and physical identities.
On the other hand, other types of bloggers such as political bloggers may not morph into their digital identities but may be very different in real life. They might be introverted individuals who are discontented with the current political environment they live in and use blogs to fiercely voice their opinions (sometimes very offensively…) in ways they which not normally do so. Somewhat of an alter-ego.
To sum it up, this post was a bit of a conceptual exposition of the topic of travel blogging in terms of identity, impact, and potential. Hopefully, this post helps readers of travel blogs or for the matter, people who are interested in digital media and its place in our world.
Thanks for the read! Promise the next post would be about a new destination!