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Gi Meg En Scene!


Meet and Greet – Kristian Bjørkelo, writer

May 15, 2013

I met Kristian on that lovely day in London (remember?) through mutual friends. I promised him a Hello Kitty for his collection (we are HK kindred spirits) and stayed in touch via Facebook. Staying in touch is a light way to put it as we talk almost every day. He is not only a dapper looking gentleman in a long beard and three piece tweed suits but is also in possession of a very quick wit and a sense of humour very similar to my own. He makes me laugh very frequently and I think that’s one of the reasons we get along so well (that and the strange fascination with cute Japanese cats with no mouth). On our frequent talks he mentioned that one of his recent publications has been a book about Norwegian bloggers called “Give me a stage!”. Although reading it will be impossible unless I learn Norwegian, I thought it might be interesting to share some of his views on blogging and his book on here. Who knows this will help create a demand for a translation into English?

Photo by Ida Sekanina

1 – What’s your main area of expertise?

I’m a folklorist, and my interests vary from internet culture to political extremism, and everything in between. I have a hard time settling for any one subject. I think this confuses people around me more than myself, though.

2 -what made you want to write about Norwegian bloggers?

Because I am one of them, and we’ve had a lot of fun. The thing about the internet is that it is far more ephemeral than you might think, things don’t stay online forever, and this is particularly true for cultural phenomenons. Blogging has changed a lot in Norway over the last ten years, in ways far different from what people expected. And also in different ways than blogging all over the world. The political and debate-oriented bloggers didn’t really become the powerhouse we have seen in other countries. Norway’s most popular bloggers are teenage girls who are paid to write about make-up, and use the money to fund plastic surgery. So I wanted to give a voice to some of the bloggers that may have been overlooked, to tell part of the story of Norwegian bloggers. About the bloggers who became authors, column-writers and politicians. So I called around and asked if they wanted to contribute, and luckily several of them wanted to. So my job was first and foremost to knit it all together.

3 – What kind of perspective do you offer on blogging on your book?

 I may have answered some of that above, but mostly I’m personally interested in how blogging allows one to take the stage, and assume not just a role, but an identity. Like much of social media, and the internet in general, it allows for people to develop their identities, to evolve them and find out who they are, who they want to be, and who they want people to think they are. People don’t get to know the whole me by reading my stuff, they get to know the parts of me that I feel are worth knowing. And as someone who writes under a pseudonym, and as a character, I find this very fascinating.

4- as an attentive observer and participant of online activities, what are the main differences you see now in blogging as compared to 10 years ago?

For Norway the biggest change has been the change in demographics. The Norwegian blogosphere is totally overwhelmed by young girls writing about make-up, fashion and whatever they had for breakfast. There’s a constant struggle to be the most popular blogger, and the best paid blogger. Commercial forces, whether it is clothes lines or mass media has meddled a lot in these young girls’ lives. Intervened in their process of finding out who they are, and I don’t know how healthy this is. Compare this to Norwegian blogging just a few years ago, when there were a lot more vibrant debates and meta-blogging going on. Things change. Facebook and Twitter is an important part of that change. A lot of the stuff that you would blogg ten years ago is now discussed on Facebook and Twitter. When I write a blog post I get 10-20 comments on Facebook, and none on my blog. Add to that, all the shares on Facebook where I’m not able to answer comments or participate in a discussion. That’s just the way things are.

5- Any ideas on trends for the future?

I have no idea, I don’t have ESP. What I have noticed however is that a lot of these young girls have started to show more skin, and use professional glamour photographers to attract more readers. Again, I don’t know how healthy this is. Also, I think you’ll see new forms of blogging develop. We see this already, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram all of these formats developed from “blogging”, and we’ll continue to see new ways of sharing, discussing and taking the stage online.

6 – Do you have any Norwegian style blogger you would recommend?

I would recommend my dear old friend Barbro Andersen