Posted on May 16, 2003 @ 17:55 in Research
Yes. Except when they're not. Classification is like modelling; useful up to a point.
For me, classification is always a proces, a "tool to think with," not a definitive answer. Classification is also about power: the power to decide on the conditions for inclusion or exclusion. What choices do you make by classifying and what are the unintended effects of those choices? What is the meaning created by calling X a particular type of Y? And maybe more importantly, which particular qualities or meanings of Y go unacknowledged or are suppressed by saying Y is a manifestation of X. And from a more political point of view: who benefits? So yes, I agree that classification in and of itself is only useful to a certain extend. It's the proces, however, that I'm interested in.
Owen further describes the difference between a home page and a weblog as:
A blog tends to be your kitchen table. More personal, more casual. Rolled sleeves, relaxed talk. Coffee cup rings, ashtrays, and tangents. A home page tends to be more kin to the parlor and front step, and is kept tidy as such.
I thought long and hard whether the 'home page' of fragment.nl should be the weblog or a nice and tidy front step. For a long while the weblog sat in the /blog directory and the root index was simply a PHP include of the weblog index. If I wanted, I could switch in a moment and clean up the front step. I guess I grew comfortable with people walking in through the backdoor and sitting right down at the kitchen table.
For all those personal home pages I'm studying, only about a third (rough guess, will do a count later) use a "welcome to my home page" type of front step, unless you'd also count the "welcome; this is me" index pages, in which case it'd be more like half of the home pages. The other home pages dump you straight in the middle of the hobby room, all kinds of interesting things all over the place. (Another metaphor I should consider more indepth later: rooms in a house for the different pages on the website; also compare with more geographically oriented metaphors for turning space into place.)
It's also a question of impression management, which Goffman talks about it in terms of frontstage and backstage. What is the image you have of yourself, what is the image you want to project, what are the social and cultural tools you have or choose for that, and very importantly, what are the technical tools and expertise you can draw on?
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