Social Diary and News Production: Authorship and Readership in Social Media During Kenya's 2007 Elections
This paper offers an analysis of the politics of (self-)referentiality on the Kenyan weblog kenyanpundit.com during the elections of 2007 and their violent aftermath. It discusses news reporting on this website through the concept of a communication circuit, and the changing forms of address by conceptualising the narrative as a social diary. These two parallel routes of interpretation, the first spatial and the second temporal, are framed in the wider context of the role of the media during the Kenyan electoral period. The analysis shows the boundaries between news producers and publics to be blurred, even if the blogger Kenyan Pundit controlled the final publication of the writing in her function as gate-keeper to the blog. The online space provides the possibility for a participatory readership that is in principle limitless, but it is shown that this online space does not render older axes of debate - such as the nation and ethnicity - obsolete. I argue that the weblog's community engage in evaluative and emotive debates about the news. However, these debates do not constitute a uniform whole; rather, the blog posts and comments on Kenyanpundit.com form a narrative diary that establishes the weblog as processual rather than static.