Digital Despair

Geert Lovink
Novi Sad, January 25th, 2008, 20:00 -20:30

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The war in Iraq, from 2003 to the present, is the first war covered by bloggers. Salam Pax caused a stir by reporting online the last months of the Sadam Hussein regime and the US invasion. During the short summer of media freedom (2003-2004) Iraqi weblogs popped up in great numbers. Four years later we find ourselves in midst of a pool of 'digital despair'. Most bloggers have left the country and report from Damascus, Amman or London. Humor and irony have vanished. Some became news professionals, others turned silent. How are modern communication technologies such a blogs used to express emotions about the loss and exile? The tragic condition of the Iraqi blogosphere is used as a case study to investigate blogs as online diaries. Rather than promoting 'citizen journalism', I analyse blogs as 'technologies of the self' (Foucault).