Essay: The Perceived Freshness Fetish

Why do I feel a need to blog daily? There seems to be some kind of consensus or norm in the blogosphere that blogs should be updated daily. Several blogs about blogging recommend posting daily and blog search engine Technorati’s rankings are correlated to a blog its freshness. There is both an internal and an external “perceived freshness fetish”? (Rogers, 2007) in the blogosphere. The internal freshness fetish could be described as a wish, a personal demand or a wanting to blog daily. The external freshness fetish could be described as a requirement by external parties like Google and Technorati to blog daily to achieve a certain ranking. This external freshness fetish is further imposed by using ping techniques to let services such as Technorati know that you have updated your blog.

This essay deals with the phenomenon of the perceived freshness fetish, the automation of this freshness and the common habit of apologizing for a lack of freshness. I will argue that this freshness fetish is not new to blogs but that it has existed ever since the World Wide Web became popular. The web is often referred to as an open construction which is dynamic, ever expanding and never finished. With the increasing popularity of the Live (dynamic) web we can see the freshness fetish represented in the history of the web in the use of under construction signs, last updated scripts, pinging services, blog apologies and Twitter. This representation in history is not meant as a teleological narrative with Twitter as the ultimate example of the perceived freshness fetish. It rather serves as an illustration of the phenomenon because there is no implicit causal finality in the account of freshness.

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14 thoughts on “Essay: The Perceived Freshness Fetish

  1. Thanks! I would love to read your finished essay on “Interactivity, Government and Affect”. A glance at your blog post made me want to read more, could you maybe e-mail me a PDF once it is finished? That would be great.

  2. You’re right, it’s strange and bizarrely the freshness of content factor seems to over-ride the quality of content for many. Personally I’d rather read high quality content published every other day (or even every week) rather than poor quality content published daily.

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