Thursday, March 31, 2005

Dominant research areas?

What are the dominant research areas connected to blogs? Off the top of my head, I would say seven:
Hypertext - literature studies
Genre studies - again, within leterature and media studies
Social networks and online communities - social sciences coupled with information science
Cyber culture - sociology and ethnography
Technology, software - information science, informatics
Journalism - media studies and sociology
Media politics - media studies and sociology, ethnicity and gender

I am certain there is research done which does not fit in any of these categories, but at the moment I can't see it. And the categories need to be more precisely described. Anybody got any thougths on this?

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Signs of Spring

Summer in Volda is not neccessarily so warm that the winter clothes don't come in handy. The real difference is in what footwear we use. After months of heavy, insulating boots, to be able to slip the feet into light sneakers or perhaps even an optimistic pair of sandals is a luxury. And then there are the activities which are impossible in winter.

This year I am borrowing/inheriting a pair of roller blades from my son. Yesterday I tried them for the first time ever, as I found a place I hoped would be sheltered from prying eyes. Turns out that half of Volda had decided to practice rollerskating away from prying eyes at the exact same road as I was on, at the same time. Nothing like looking helpless and clumsy in company of all your neighbours for the community spirit.

This winter has been too long and too dark, and I have been more affected by the weather than ever before. Exhaustion has been a familiar companion, edging me towards despair as I have failed tasks and seen opportunities slip. But now the days are longer than the nights, and the intense light from a wide open sky, reflected in the ever-moving water, fills even the darkest corners of my mood.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A blog by any other name...

Seriously, this is going too far. When Norwegian politicians publicly argue the issue of whether what they are writing is a blog or not, and they start defining blogs, then the word is about to lose all meaning. (A: Because Norwegian politicians have learned it, B: Because they think it matters what they call it.)

Kristin Halvorsen, of SV - Socialistic left - argues with Torbjørn Røe Isaksen of the young right, about whether or not Torbjørn has a blog. Kristin's argument was that his blog had no comments, so it had to be a net diary. Torbjørn was bragging about being the first Norwegian politician with the important, sophisticated political instrument called a blog.

I don't know if I should despair over what goes for a Norwegian blogosphere, or be happy it's only about 5 million people in the world who understand the language brilliant debates such as this take place in.

But for a researcher who likes to study pop cultures, cultural changes, the internet and rhetoric, the politician's use of the word blog, as well as how they strive to be the one using it correctly and according to a norm, is fascinating.

Although my personal solution might be to limit myself to New Norwegian blogs only. Is there a portal for New Norwegian blogs? Probably a project for Aasen-tunet...

Save Toby!

Did you think Norwegians were cruel, with the whaling and in general insistance that hunting for food is OK? Perhaps we should learn from this guy, who is blackmailing the world at Unless YOU pay 50 000 $, Toby, the cute little bunny, will be eaten on the 30th of June. There are pictures and recipes, for those who doubt the resolve of the man about to eat a rabbit.

This is a brilliant idea. Rather than defending the whaling as a matter of research, Norwegians should just say: Yes, it’s cruel, but pay us XXX XXX XXX$ for each whale we would otherwise kill, and we’ll find some other research to do. And if a rabbit, who looks like he can’t weigh more than a kilo or two, is worth 50 000 $, imagine what a whale would mean for the research funds of Norway!

Link by way of Thomas.

Academici: akademia meets social software

Through the college mail I received a request today to consider a new social site called Academici. A quick glance without logging in tells me it's a networking area, directed at finding other academics working in the same area, and contacting them.

And all this for only Euro 5.95 a month. For free, you don't get to search, but you get to put in your own information and invite friends - so you may contribute content for free, but can not find it.

This looks like a rather standard contact site set-up, only with a clear target group: academics. Not a silly thought, really, but I can find so many people online for free, do I need this as well?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Envy the Norwegians

you who do not understand our perfect language! Because we can read the blog Dagens Onde Kvinner and understand what Drusilla writes!

And for you poor language-deprived people out there: It's a blog about gender in Norwegian society (among other things), well-written, enthusiastic and sharp, and a testimony to the fact that perhaps Norwegians aren't to be that much envied after all. Life for women in one of the countries where we are supposed to have the most options and the most protection, isn't quite that perfect once you scratch the varnish.

Link by way of Hjorten, who's inspired this Easter.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

It feels like flying!

Did you ever dream you were flying? As a child, this was one of the good dreams, one of those I hoped for and wanted. Waking up from them always made me feel exhilarated and happy. I still occasionally dream I can do it, I still have that feeling, but it has become oh so rare. Not like as a child when I would find myself in a dream running like the wind, and then I would just take off and run just above the street, then higher and higher, in great, impossible leaps above the world. Sometimes I woke from those dreams, laughing myself awake.

I remembered this because the last couple of days, I have been experiencing the closest I ever got to that feeling. I had a present from the men of the family: I got a new bike.

I have wanted one for years, and now I have it and it's spring! No matter that the snow is melting slowly, the roads are bare and I am flying low above the ground. OK, so I am sore in muscles forgotten and places unmentionable, but the sensation of wind in my hair, of racing along with no effort, freely, unfettered - it is like a dream.

And so it's spring, Sunday 20th was the spring equinox, days are now longer than nighs here, and the light is returning fast. I have a slight burn on my cheeks after biking into the sun, and I haven't wanted to collapse with exhaustion at any time today. All I want to do is cherish that sensation of flying.

And not think of those other dreams.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Oh, if I was Beathe!

Note: all links in this post go to Norwegian language blogs.

Beathe is a young Norwegian male who wants to write his life as if he was a happy, young girl. He gives no particular reason why, he just wants to. His writing is really pretty "girly", perhaps exessively so, the way young men who play female characters in role-playing games are more female than women.

What is interesting and attentiongrabbing with "Oh, if I was Beathe!" is the fact that he was denied access to the Norwegian portal The purpose of is to let other bloggers know that your blog has been updated. A kind of mutual reading circle. The rules for being on are: you have your own blog, you link to, you write a personal blog and not a topical blog (I suspect the distinction is something along the lines of diary vs themed blog - I also think I would not be permitted even if I wrote in Norwegian), you don't use your blog for flaming and you don't focus on or write engraving about sex. (Yes, actually uses the word which translates to engraving. No, we are not talking about double meanings here, who ever wrote that fac must think "inngraverende" means "graverende" - which means something along the lines of compromising.)

But these rules were not there when Beathe wanted to link his/her blog to the portal. At that point all he needed was a blog, writing in Norwegian and a link on his blog to

This has become a crucical moment in the Norwegian blogosphere, because it highlights several problems. One is the problem of "real". Hjorten, one of the Norwegian language blogs I enjoy due to his mixture of heavy sarkasm and common sense, withdraws from because he isn't real. His blog, he claims, is an edited version of reality, and doesn't honestly and totally reflect his person.

Tonje points out the elitism in the decision: that only one person can make and enforce the rules of the portal more or less randomly, and decide what is real blogging. Andreas leaves the portal for this reason, while another Andreas claims communication theory insists all writers need a receiver, a reader.

And this is what the portal and the fight is over: the readers.

The purpose of is to supply readers for writers. The real power in the media is traditionally not on the supply of writers, we know that. Quality content does not automatically lead to power, as any person with some slight critical sense will discover from reading and watching some of the larger media institutions out there. Power in the media comes with having an audience. And so being refused by a portal such as this means to be excluded from "the source".

Well, guess what, the current discussion proves why blogs have a different kind of power from the established media. Blogs can share, generate and focus readers with very high speed. Beathe reports that s/he has had more readers and comments than ever, since s/he was excluded from The event seems to have made parts of the Norwegian blogosphere react violently, making a stand for freedom of content and the right to present yourself as what ever you like, the kind of enthusiasm and intensity which creates the debates that creates the links that creates the blogosphere. This is the power of the blog, right here, in the buzz and the link and the sharing of the love, not in the organised portals and the control of the access to the readers. Come to think of it, hardly any of the blogs I read would have been permitted under the rules of, even if they did write in Norwegian.

The readers are there. Your skill, enthusiasm and involvement will grab them. But if it is only 5 readers who are made for your content, so be it, give those five your best, and it will be good enough. It is about the flow, not the fame. At least for me, and this is my blog, so right here, I rule!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Girls in Games

Game Developers are getting their own girly-organisation! I am of mixed minds about this: at the one side, women should be as naturally part of game developing as men. But we know that doesn't happen, so women need their own special interest organisations. I clearly see the need of the organisation, I support the goal, I admire the women doing this job, if they need a female game academic I'll be there for them as far as I can - and I resent the fact that organised rebellion is the only way for women to be able to participate as ... well, still not equals, but at least less insignificant.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Norway has the best gamers!

Or at least the three best CounterStrike players in the world, according to the results from WEG, World eSport Games. I just heard the news on "Dagsrevyen", which strives to be the most prestigeous news review in Norway: Norwegian NoA won the finals today. Reports on (in Norwegian).

WOW! Go NoA! This is as good as the double Norwegian victory and new world record in ski-jumping in Slovenia today! (Although not as heavily covered by Norwegian broadcasting just yet.)

The doom is postponed

The article Hilde and I want to write together for the conference Women in Games, seemed to be doomed this week. After months of trying to get together, in Bergen or in Førde, between Volda and Sogndal, we were supposed to cooperate online using a livejournal blog (for their privacy settings) and lingua.moo. We managed to agree on a good and solid outline, we have been doing a lot of game-playing seperately, and we were ready to rock. That's when work hit me hard, and the daily drudgery at the college took all conscious hours.

But, LOOK, the deadline for all submissions was not 21st of March as we though, but 28th! Lucky me, I get to spend easter finishing this!

Well, I get to spend two days of easter for this. The rest of the period it is back to the weblogs and literacy project, an article moving at snail's pace towards a deadline I keep supressing.

I think I'll make one of Jill's not-to-do lists, and look at all the things I can ignore for the next week, when I feel too far down from spending easter with the cat, writing and cleaning up in the basement.

Friday, March 18, 2005

March morning

Marsmorgen, originally uploaded by Rotill.

The light has returned. I have hungered for it, through a dark and wet winter. Still, the cold lingers and spring hesitates. But this morning, before leaving for work, watching the sun tip the mountains and kiss the clouds, I let cold be cold as my eyes drank the light.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Dragons are coming!

I rarely regret the restrictions of Norwegian television channels, but for once I'd have loved to have the Discovery Channel. Look, Look, DRAGONS!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Norwegian in New York

Sadly, the rhythm doesn't fit Sting's lyrics, but when ever I think of going back to New York, the song pops up at the back of my mind. This time more so than ever, as I will be there for International Communication Association (ICA)'s 2005 conference may 26th - 30th.

ICA is a foreign organisation to me, it keeps its conferences within North America for three out of four years, and the conference programs and history do not tell anything about where the conferences are the fourth year. So I can't tell if outside North America means in Canada and Mexico, or if the conference leaves the continent. But I have known of it for a long time, and am curious about it. I also have not been in any of the more classic media scholar conferences for years, as my scope has narrowed to games and digital media, and so I am quite exited about dipping back into what I consider my scholarly roots.

But after years of digital media pursuits, I suspect that the feeling will be slightly Sting-ish: A visit to a country where the language is familiar and still slightly different: different focus, different values, different style.
I don’t take coffee I take tea my dear
I like my toast done on one side
And you can hear it in my accent when I talk
I’m an englishman in new york

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Date for State of Play

A third State of Play is being planned, and the date is up.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Increasingly real

I have emailed with Francis, I know a person who has met a person who has met him, and now I have heard his voice, talking with Steffanie. The Francis Strand construct is developing, gaining colour and moving into more dimentions than the one of written words.

I have never doubted the existence of Francis Strand, he is so human and writes such wonderful posts and emails. But I still enjoy the way his voice fleshes out the image of him.

(Oh, and the Scandinavian word of the day is torg/torv/torj, which means means market.)

(And while I search for Dust from a distant sun, in order to link to Tinka, I find she is leaving her location, a breadcrumb trail leading from the post that is about to be deleted to her new blog. Some other girl who calls herself Eve and calls her blog comes up at the url that used to lead to Tinka. While I stopped reading distantsun a long time ago, seduced to other reads, I know I will miss its existence in the links of friends and in other weblogs. Kind of like discovering that some of your neighbours have moved, there are new people in their home, and you never noticed.)

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Rent a German

From a colleague and resident German, a suggestion for business events, family experiences, weekends and surprise events: Rent a German!

Friday, March 11, 2005


In Bergen to visit students in their internships. Almost no computer access until Sunday night, but instead I am doing social networking analogue style. Made plans with Jill and Thomas last night, for a project we want to start. Main obstacle: the topic just sets us going with puns. While I love tongue-in-cheek writing, the program comittee may not. This will be tough.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


google, originally uploaded by Rotill.

It is the 8th of March today, the international women's day, and if I didn't like Google's imagery before, this does it for me. Keep that one, Google, give us more than just one day!

The legality of links

For Norwegian readers, an article from on a PhD from the Faculty of Law on links and copyright. According the the article, Knut Martin Tande defended a thesis on what kind of links may be illegal online. Luckily, he remembers to mention that in most cases, links are desired.

I won compensation!

Or: The Nigerian Scam - microsoft version

I have this soft spot for a well-written scam letter. It contains all the triggers and addresses our dreams. The latest promised me compensation for using microsoft products, addressing the latent resentment against a company so widespread and so powerful, we all feel it owes us something. It went on to say that I would gain economic independence, all I needed to do was give my account information over the Microsoft's connection in Netherland, and I'd be a million dollar wealthier.

S.C.F.N; BTH34678198/2005/TY
TEL/Fax; 0031-650-958-320.

Dear Winner,

We are pleased to inform you of the result of the Internet compensation promotion programs held on the 7th of March, 2005 and it is aimed at compensating frequent Internet explorers in all over the world. Your e-mail address attached to ticket number; *********** with serial number *************, batch number **********, lottery reference number ******** and drew from lucky numbers ****************which consequently won in the 2nd category, you have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of US$1,000,000.00 (ONE MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLAR) only by the Microsoft source Company, payable in cash credited to security file numbers; ************* at the Netherlands Payment Authority.

Interestingly enough, the email address of whomever I was supposed to contact ended with

Insert prince/minister/king for microsoft, insert money transaction for winning sweepstakes, and insert yours sincerely Prince Al Hassar Ayid Umhallan for the microsoft sweepstakes office, and you see that this email has close relatives in Nigeria.

It is still fun. Who wouldn't want a million $ in their account? I prefer the Nigerian scam in the pure form though, because it offers an additional little fantasy: After they have transferred the 12 mill $ to my account, and are about to move 11 of them on, who is to stop me from cancelling their permission to withdraw money from my account? All I need is to be quicker than them, and I will have 12 mill instead of one... Human greed and the conviction that we are smarter than them is such a good tool for those who live from our willingness to think money can come free.

Monday, March 07, 2005


Finally, some satisfying news.

Salam Pax speaks

In the comments, a link from thomas to an interview with Salam Pax. Thomas is writing a paper on weblogs this spring, and I am looking forwards to following the process as his supervisor. And thomas, I promise, this will be the last post about that issue from me.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

State of Play timecapsule

For once, in the other position: interviewing, not interviewed. I was asked if I would one of these interviews during State of Play in New York, and said yes, brightly optimistic that I could make it somewhat sensible. I haven't dare look yet though, I'll just let you all judge for yourselves.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


And idly avoiding to challenge my brain again (still ringing from that last article), if you like quotes, this looks like a good site. I have found a saint I think I have some sympathy for:
It is here, my daughters, that love is to be found - not hidden away in corners but in the midst of occasions of sin. And believe me, although we may more often fail and commit small lapses, our gain will be incomparably the greater. ~ St. Teresa of Avila

And, of course, it has a list of Isaac Asimov quotes, at least one of which made me reconsider my signature quote.:
If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster. ~ Isaac Asimov

Clever advertising

In the series of clever ads: enjoy bianco footwear's presentation of the athletes they sponsor!

Reflexive Relativists

Reading about literacy and the web brought me across an article by Jane Yellowlees Douglas, "Will the most reflexive relativist please stand up: hypertext, argument and relativism" in Page to Screen edited by Ilana Snyder.

Douglas' article is a delicious outline of the same mechanism as we have discussed several times about weblogs and academic discussions. By discussing the relationship between hypertext and the trivial, printed linear text, she touches on the issues of transparencies and the problem of reflexivity when the basic premise for research is that everything can always be interpreted differently and subjectively. It invites a discussion of the weblog as the relativists' tool, and opens up issues of written modes and prejudice which makes my mind sing, like a bell.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

What academic women need

Forget about whining about injustice through needing to more work than the men in order to be considered equal, Stop banging your heads against the glass ceiling, drop the formal demands to reviewing processes. What women need to do an outstanding job in academia isn't equality.

It's an independently wealthy, well educated, capable and tidy personal slave.

Whenever I want to do something, even just plan a lecture, there is so much paperwork I need to shovel first, my back hurts. I am fine with doing the nit-picking work of research, fine with reading 10 books for every 3 I can use, fine with reading 30 papers every 3 weeks, fine with working 12 hour days in order to prepare for a concentrated batch of lectures - what I am not fine with is spending one day on clearing the desk of demands from up above for each task I am actually trained for.

Let me teach, let me research, let me think, speak, gather knowledge and share it!

Just don't make me fill out another form... please...

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Have webpage, will travel

I guess I am number 500 on his email list, because his letter wasn't exactly personal, and I have to use the student guide to figure out who he is. So his email ALMOST ended up where all spammers end. However, it may be fun to watch - a kind of reality-blogging thing, where two young men are planning to hitchhike from Norway to China.

If you read Norwegian and want to watch two broke young men try to survive, make progress and find internet connections through eastern europe and asia, this is the link for you.

I foresee a lot of "No internet connection for the last two weeks, but we are still alive" posts. The question is: where WILL they manage to post?