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Conclusion

I initially concentrated on Norwegian fashion blogs for my project, but soon decided I was more interested with lifestyle blogs. The two main blogs I studied for my project were www.fotballfrue.no and www.eirinkristiansen.blogg.no. They are both extremely popular and widely discussed blogs in Norway. Furthermore, they represent two slightly different age groups: “Fotballfrue” is in her late twenties, has settled down in the suburbs with her child, house, and husband, and writes about her everyday life as a stay-at-home wife. Eirin Kristiansen, on the other hand, is a younger blogger, but she too has similar interests as “Fotballfrue”. The similarities are many, especially when analyzing the esthetic design of their blogs: the color palette ranges in different light pastel tones, and the language is positive and welcoming.

In my project, I questioned the viewership of Norwegian lifestyle bloggers, and the attraction that Norwegian youth seem to have towards lifestyle blogs that emulate traditional values as opposed to modern working values.

In my research, I interviewed my mom’s friends, as most of them work and have children of their own. Their thoughts as I predicted: lifestyle bloggers’ façade were far from what my mom’s friends’ everyday life looked like, and they were provoked by “Fotballfrue’s” way of presenting her life as perfect, avoiding to write and share awkward or unglamorous topics. I asked them questions such as: how realistic is the life that “Fotballfrue” presents on her blog? Do you think there is a reason for why she chooses to use this type of positive but naïve language, considering her Journalism-education? Considering the feedback I got from you, they contradict “Fotballfrue’s” popularity in many ways – why do you think her blog is so popular? 

In Norway, popular bloggers are also considered celebrities. They get the opportunity to attend big events, promote products, and collaborate with designers and big brands. “Fotballfrue”, has, since she first became a famous name in Norway, frequently been criticized in the media for her unhealthy body image. She also heavily emphasizes health and fitness on her blog, which creates an extreme image towards young readers. A term often used in Norwegian media is the concept of a “pink-blogger”, which basically means a blogger who writes about materialistic subjects such as beauty and fashion. Some have been criticized in media because they make a lot of money on their blog, which, for many, is not considered a “real” job.

One of the most interesting aspects of my project, in my opinion, was the blog post on housewives and women in the labor force. Norwegian lifestyle bloggers seem to idealize the role of the housewife, contradicting the over 70% female population in Norway and their active role in the workforce. If over half of the female population in Norway work, why is “Fotballfrue”, a stay-at-home mom sporting the role of the housewife, the most read blog in Norway? One reason might be an urge of escaping reality: a place to seek light entertainment and inspiration. My generation sees the blogging-culture in two ways: we are provoked by the amount of money bloggers make by writing a few blog posts about materialistic topics, but at the same time we read blogs regularly. Reading lifestyle blogs is seen as a “guilty pleasure”. We are very opinionated about bloggers even though we frequently read them, as the interview with my friends proved. We don’t like the idea of bloggers calling their blogs their job, as we see the phenomena as leisure rather than work, thus incorporating the questions related to labor: what distinguishes paid from unpaid labor in the digital world?

To answer the question of the viewership of Norwegian lifestyle bloggers is tricky, as I find it challenging to give a concrete reason. Even so, I think that one main reason is that lifestyle bloggers’ readers are young, and may not yet realize the unrealistic presentation of everyday life that many bloggers actively sport. On the other hand, I think that some realize the unrealistic presentation, yet read blogs as entertainment. Still, the oppositions between bloggers emulating traditional values and modern workingwomen are crucial; yet, it seems natural to question whether these values are starting to blend into each other.

Not all lifestyle blogs are glamorized

In my project, I have explored Norwegian lifestyle bloggers and the way they present themselves online, but there are also lifestyle bloggers who write about their unglamorized everyday life: they sarcastically make fun of lifestyle bloggers in a humorous way, revealing their unglamorous everyday life by posting funny pictures of themselves without makeup with their kids chaotically running around them. One of these bloggers calls herself comedian wife (http://komikerfrue.blogg.no), directly making fun of the famous blogger “the soccer wife”.  The “comedian wife” writes about her problem with acne and her poor cooking-skills. It’s funny, because she writes the same product reviews as “the soccer wife”, but hers, especially when it comes to food, turn out to be disasters rather than perfectly done, picture-ready meals. Here’s an example of both bloggers reviewing “cake in a cup”:

 

“The soccer wife”:

http://fotballfrue.no/2014/02/25/cake-in-a-cup/    

 

“The comedian wife”:

http://komikerfrue.blogg.no/1396815102_sjokoladekake_i_kopp_.html

 

“The comedian wife’s” blog does not look as esthetically professional as fotballfrue.no’s platform, and instead of focusing on photos and colors, she writes funny stories from her day, emphasizing mistakes, her messy husband and bad habits. Reading her blog is like confirming or reassuring ourselves that striving to become as perfect as “the soccer wife” is not realistic.

 

It seems like the comedian wife’s main purpose is to present a more genuine, real and humorous type of housewife to show us that, even though other lifestyle bloggers present their life as perfect, it does not necessarily mean that it is perfect. Presenting personalities online is a tricky case: it is easy to create a perfect profile, and can be described as filtering, where all the negative aspects, or aspects you are not happy with are excluded.

Bloggers and digital labor: An interview with my friends

Looking at Norwegian lifestyle bloggers such as eirinkristiansen.blogg.no and fotballfrue.no: how far is your everyday life from the way they present theirs?

 

“The way she (eirinkristiansen.blogg.no) presents herself and her everyday life is far from what my everyday life looks like. She lives a perfectly structured life, and apparently has a lot of time on her hands, or just gets up three hours before going somewhere. I could never get up in the morning looking as fresh as she does and make homemade juice and avocado-toast before going to school. She writes about juice-detoxes and her newest training clothes before she goes off to the gym. I tend to question how realistic all of this is, and if her life actually looks the way she depicts it on her blog. I definitely think that this “perfect-life presentation” will fade after a while, as the readers, especially young readers, eventually will get bored and realize that most people don’t live their lives in a “blogger-esque” way.”

 

“I agree. I think that they have time to do all these things because these bloggers – all they do is blog. They take it very seriously and treat it as a full-time job, even though it seems like an easy but still such a well-paid job. For most people, writing three blog-posts a day about fashion and food seems like play rather than work. When these bloggers are asked what their job actually consist of, their answers are vague and ambiguous.”  

 

As mentioned before, my generation (at least in Norway) is very opinionated about bloggers even though we read blogs all the time. People don’t like the idea of bloggers calling their blogs their job, as people see it as leisure rather than challenging. I think this comes down to what we have talked about in class: digital labor. How do we distinguish between what should be paid and what should be unpaid labor in the digital world?  

"The body is our new soul"

My generation sees the blogging-culture in two ways: we are provoked by the amount of money bloggers make by writing a few blog posts about materialistic topics, but at the same time we read blogs regularly. Reading lifestyle blogs is seen as a “guilty pleasure”, a way to comment on or make fun of the way society has become -- at what people can call paid jobs. Bloggers have the same influence on readers as fashion magazines have, if not more. One can give the argument that they play an important role in the Norwegian fashion-world, as they have a much bigger amount of readers than any magazine or platform has. My counter argument would be that people working in magazines or other fashion related platforms most often have an education, while bloggers start early, preferably in the age between 17-20, and, well, they don’t see the urge to get an education as they earn as much money by blogging as they would if they got a job. 

 

As mentioned before, lifestyle blogs often consist of fashion, beauty, health, travel and fitness. When something tragic happens, preferably in Norway, they will write about it (many bloggers shared their support and love to the families and friends of the teenagers killed in the 2011 Norway attacks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Norway_attacks)), and from time to time they will advertise about supporting organizations like the Red Cross, most likely because these organizations sponsor them. Other than that, lifestyle bloggers seldom write about politics or problems facing society. Norwegians are, as mentioned before, a beauty-focused society. I found an interesting article (http://www.aftenposten.no/meninger/Kroppen-er-den-nye-sjelen-7418582.html#.UsBKymTuIq4) stating, “The body is our new soul”. It talks about how religion, spirit, history and politics always have been in people’s interest. Now, we are more interested in our bodies. It goes on saying that “Fotballfrue” is the biggest role model, as thousands of followers consume photos of her food, exercise, smiles, happiness, clothes etc. Everything looks perfect – but how perfect is it? The entire platform is confusion between a body image and commercialism.  

 

The article goes on saying that this type of media creates a feeling of failure for many of the young readers. The problem is, another paradox in society is the importance of being unique, but we try to create a unique self by copying others. Why?

Surveillance and Morality

The first speaker, Gregory T. Donovan opened the discussion panel by talking about participation, proprietary media, and what he called ”dataveillance” in the ”smart” city. ”Dataveillance” means ”the surveillance of a person’s activities by studying the data trail created by actions such as credit card purchases, mobile phone calls, and Internet use”. This type of surveillance can be used on ”no fee”-services such as Google and Facebook, two platforms in which we share a big amount of our ”private” information. “Smart” cities can be defined as a vendor or term commonly used to refer to the creation of knowledge infrastructure, and relates to a broadband, wireless and digital concept for future cities. In this, Donovan mentioned smartphones and “Easypass”, two frequently used digits, which automatically tie you into urban surveillance. He also mentioned a development of new media districts, such as IBM, a surveillance center looking over many aspects of cities (crime, economy etc.). Donovan brought up Focault’s panopticon, and how society is moving towards the opposite: the urban oligopticon. The panopticon was originally a prison-structure, a model based on the idea of being watched but not seeing anyone from your own position – the oligopticon is based on the idea of the opposite.

 

When talking about surveillance, Donovan mentioned “United States vs. Jones”, a case based on the violation of constitutional law: a tracking device was placed on Jones’ vehicle to track him down. Donovan talked about how we have different social expectations, which puts things into perspective, and asked the question, is it OK to install your own tracking device for driving directions? Where does the moral line go? Jones was suspected for drug trafficking: when in suspicion -- when is it OK to track down people?

 

We have lately talked a lot about digital surveillance and information privacy, and many times there have been questions about morality. As mentioned before, I think it is important, and about time that we create a digital handbook, as there is a lot to inform and be informed about in terms of what we agree to and what we don’t agree to on the Internet.

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