When I started using WordPress at the beginning of my internship, my intent was just to showcase some of the items I had been working on at NewsDay. But I soon came to the conclusion that the site was very useful in creating my own archive. It would keep my items in one place and would make it easier to organize and ccess my data when I will start my thesis in April. The WordPress-page will also function as my final product. It will be a virtual gallery, showing my reflective pieces and products from my internship in Harare.
A short theoretical framework
Several academic pieces have been written on seeing virtual spaces as archives, including Social Media. Lina Bountouri and Georgious Giannakopoulos have written an article on the growth of using Social Media in archiving processes.1 They mention: “In this paper, we explore the use of Social Media in Archives. The last five years the archival services worldwide have started using Social Media for various purposes, such as content delivery and promotion of their work. (…) The results of our research revealed, among others, that there is an extended use of Facebook, YouTube and blogs by the archival services (…).” 2
In their article ‘Popular Culture, digital archives and The New Social Life of Data’, Beer and Burrows explain: “Digital data inundation has far-reaching implications for: disciplinary jurisdiction; the relationship between the academy, commerce and the state; and the very nature of the sociological imagination. Hitherto much of the discussion about these matters has tended to focus on ‘transactional’ data held within large and complex commercial and government databases. This emphasis has been quite understandable – such transactional data does indeed form a crucial part of the informational infrastructures that are now emerging. However, in recent years new sources of data have become available that possess a rather different character. This is data generated in the cultural sphere, not only as a result of routine transactions with various digital media but also as a result of what some would want to view as a shift towards popular cultural forms dominated by processes of what has been termed presumption. Our analytic focus here is on contemporary presumption practices, digital technologies, the public life of data and the playful vitality of many of the ‘glossy topics’ that constitute contemporary popular culture.”3
In that same line, Mary Amouelian argues the following: “Archivists are converting physical collections to digital formats and displaying surrogates of these primary sources on their websites. Simultaneously, the Web is moving toward a shared environment that embraces collective intelligence and participation, which is often called Web 2.0. (…) investigates the extent to which Web 2.0 features have been integrated into archival digitization projects. Although the use of Web 2.0 features has not yet been widely discussed in the professional archival literature, this exploratory study of college and university repository websites in the United States suggests that archival professionals are embracing Web 2.0 to promote their digital content and redefine relationships with their patrons.”4
1./2. Lina Bountouri, Georgios Giannakopoulos, The Use of Social Media in Archives,Procedia - Social and Behavioral Science, Volume 147,2014, 510-517. 3. Beer, D., & Burrows, R. (2013). Popular Culture, Digital Archives and the New Social Life of Data. Theory, Culture & Society, 30(4), 47–71. https://doi.org/10.1177/0263276413476542 4. Mary Samouelian (2009) Embracing Web 2.0: Archives and the Newest Generation of Web Applications. The American Archivist: Spring/Summer 2009, Vol. 72, No. 1, pp. 42-71.