Anytime I think of safe space, I think of Joyce, she taught a life skills course for young people, my mom enrolled me in her course when I was fifteen. Joyce talked a lot about mediation and encouraged us to think of our ‘littles’. It’s a funny sounding term, but a lot used in therapy to talk about times when you felt carefree as a kid. I guess by picturing yourself as ‘little’ again, running around worry free, you are able to gain a better chance of finding a safe space for mediation (or blogging).
Even as we talk about safe space our writing shifts to words that seem to flow differently. While reading your blog, I noted similarities in tone and style, marked by a more open space, familiar to self-help style formats. So, as you mention, it’s not only the content that carves out safe space for the blogger, it’s also textual in character. This contributes to the “model of self-disclosure” Cooper and Dzara describe in their article, which is premised on identity formation through a particular process of self-disclosure. The authors argue this mode of self-disclosure should ultimately lead to ‘digital intimacy‘.
I think this is one way of connecting what we experience in the material world with larger ideals, outside of ourselves as individuals. In order to study this process found in diary writing and personal reflection feminist scholars, for example, have included reflexive approaches to research. These modes have become part of western feminist scholarly research, such as auto ethnography. Similar to blogging, this style of ethnography opens up space in a way that is not possible unless we start from personal experience. And similar to my mediation example, it allows you to start from whichever perspective you choose as there are always multiple perspectives. However, one gains a sense reading auto ethnography (Jackie Orr, Panic Diaries, for example) the mode of writing remains entrenched in unspoken resistance. To write personally is to challenge the spaces of disproval. Spaces that warn you to remain distant, so that we only need diaries like Jackie’s as a form of counter-power (Castells) .
I really liked the connection you made between blogs and diaries because I can easily use it to describe my own connection with blogging and mediation; “It can be anything you want it to be”. But it is the reflexive process involved that makes it meaningful I think. There is so much resistance in our everyday lives to write personally because something is always at stake, whether it’s pleasing/or appearing authentic to your readers (Alice E. Marwick and danah boyd talk about this in our week 10 class readings), or explaining experience in the appropriate format. However, I agree with your analysis of Carstensen, in that we are being shaped through the medium of blogging, encouraged to carve out a safe space for ourselves, which really is to engage reflexively, or move uninhibited online.