Social Media as Literature—Story & Style (part 1)


For someone who is starting to write a blog, it is important to try to find one’s own unique personal style.  In trying to come up with a style that fits my personality and my purpose for writing, I first look at the definition of three literary styles or genres based on definitions given by Joseph Campbell in his lectures on James Joyce entitled Wings of Art.   Then I locate examples of each of these styles in blogs regarding the Middle East that I have either followed in the past or am following now.   Finally I discuss why one might want to use these styles for one’s blogs or tweets.

The first style is lyric style, which is defined by Joseph Campbell in his lecture on James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man as the style where the writer presents the object in direct relation to the subject.   This means the writer is using words that give clues to what the writer is feeling or experiencing.   It focuses on the “I” or “subjective viewpoint” of the writer.

Examples from blogs regarding the Middle East are the blogs that I read during the Iraq war that were written by ordinary Iraqis themselves:   Baghdad Burning by Riverbend, and Where is Raed? by Salam Pax.   These are pseudonyms of Iraqis who lived in Iraq during the time of the Iraq war.   Their blog posts were collected into books, respectively “Baghdad Burning: Girl Blog from Iraq” and “Salam Pax: The Clandestine Diary of an Ordinary Iraqi”.  Their subjective impressions of the war in Iraq as it was being waged around them were invaluable for me in understanding what the average Iraqi experienced during the war.

The lyric style is good for reporting on events when you’re experiencing some special event.  If you’re describing ordinary life, however, then this will be entertaining or informative for readers or tweets or blogs only if they care about you personally.

Tomorrow, I will talk about the epic or narrative style of blogging.

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