When I was reading Bob Whipple’s chapter on commonplace books and digital self-fashioning, I had many opinions that agreed with him.
At the beginning of the chapter, Whipple discussed how in the 19th Century it was popular to use commonplace books and that it was a place where people had the opportunity to record information that they found interesting or things that they wanted to try in the future.
It went on to talk about Lockridge and the opinion they had on commonplace books, thinking that they were “areas for individual identity formation, reinforcement and negotion” (99). By this, Lockridge simply meant that our writing tells us who we are and can tell and show us what we are interested in. I agree with this thought, because I know when I write, sometimes I don’t plan out exactly what words I will type on the page and then once I am done and go back and read it, sometimes I learn new things about myself and my thoughts on certain subjects that I wouldn’t have known if I didn’t physically write it out.
The chapter went on to state that visual commonplaces came about and resembled a scrapbook. Whipple said that people would post things of what they might want to do, be, or use in the future. I thought that this was interesting, because I know that I save pictures of workout goals that I want to accomplish and quotes of my favorite authors that inspire me to write more.
Whipple went on to talk about the digital commonplace book. This is the part of the chapter that really got me thinking. Whipple mentioned Jen Almjeld’s 2006 thoughts on this book, saying that these books were like blogs. The text went on to point out similiarities between blogs and commonplace books, saying that they both are keeping places for information and knowledge. I agree that these writing platforms are similar, though blogs don’t really hold information for future use like commonplace books do. Blogs usually are written for ‘the now’.
I was really suprised to see the differences of commonplace books throughout time. I shouldn’t have been shocked that commonplace books evolved from physical paper to physical pictures to digital to digital pictures. The same evolution can be said for newspapers, photography, etc. It didn’t click until they made a reference from scrapbooks to digital images that can be found on flickr, etc.
Whipple makes the claim that commonplace books show who we really are, like our passions, interests, and mentality. I agree with him on this thought, because I know that when I write blogs I allow others to know a little more about me each time. I also know that everything that I save, whether it’s a funny video, meme, pictures, or article that it has the ability to show others’ different sides of me, most likely my personality.
I never thought that everything that I saved could describe me (even if just slightly). This article made me think and realize that everything I post allows others to know me.
What do you think about Whipple’s claim?