The Travel Blog: A Remediated Version of the Postcard

You’ve seen it all before; Photography remediated painting, film remediated stage production and television remediated the radio. Now, the cultural phenomenon of the Travel Blog is remediating the age old postcard.

In “The Double Logic of Remediation” Bolter and Grusin suggest that the postcard is a hypermediated form of media (49). This is evident as the images on a postcard provide the viewer with a “live” point of view; transporting them to that specific location, where they can experience all the wonders of the place being represented. However, the the text in which these images jump out at us or the text located on the back of the card remind the viewer of the existence of the medium. (See for example: http://www.ebbets-field.com/CYCLONES/ConeyIslandLinks.htm)

Now, Travel Blogs are doing much in the same as the postcard. Instead of receiving one image at a time, viewers are bombarded with a variety of images that transport them to countless countries and cities, placing them right in front of famous monuments and breathtaking views. However, the Travel Blog is still hypermediated because it is essentially a database of photos and videos that are accompanied by text describing the thing being represented.

Perhaps it can be said that the Travel Blog is at a higher level of hypermediacy than the Post Card. Blogs such as: AsWeTravel.com, include Facebook and Twitter links where followers can discuss the various posts and their own experiences. Viewers can also see travel links that suggest great websites that help with organizing their own travel experiences, or point them in the direction of the cheapest flights and packages.

Essentially, the Travel Blog is a remediation of the postcard because it is a replication of the content of the postcard, however, the media experience is quite different.

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2 Comments

  1. What I also think is interesting about the travel blog is that it opens up the experience so that it is more than just simple communication between two people. Originally, you would send the postcard to one individual or one family to relay your experience. But when the information is on the internet, it is accessible to many.

    In this way, the blog becomes a community experience, similar to what Marshall McLuhan was talking about. The global village is opened up.

    The database that the travel blog creates can appeal to all of your senses through recipes or music files or touchscreen experiences. This way, not only can you say that the travel blog has a higher level of hypermediacy, but also a higher level of immediacy that the postcard could never reproduce.

  2. The travel blog is an interesting nexus of remediations. As you noted, the primary remediation is of the postcard. But it’s equally a remediation of the photo album, the regular blog (in that it offers access to real world locations in a way a purely online blog doesn’t), and even the travel guide, by offering a more personal account of traveling.
    It also reminds me of a special case of the database Lev Manovich discusses, as it is essentially a narrative people create out of the database of photos they’ve taken.
    –Michael Hancock


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