Into the Blogosphere: Notes

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Summary

Blogs are unique in the way that no one can quite agree on what they are. There are debates over whether or not the ‘blogosphere’ is a community, what is really worth posting, and how democratizing blogging really is. Blogs have many contrasts to traditional mediabecause they are far less formal and the audience decides what is ‘front page’ worthy: bloggers report in ways that print could not and would not report. The press reports in a formal, one-sided dialogue run by profit, while blogs are run by those just looking to put information out there and not worrying about profit while keeping an open dialogue between reader and writer. Most blogs, however, are not what the public would normally want to read: young women with fashion and makeup blogs or people with journal-type blogs make up most of the blogging community, rarely posting and having small audiences of friends and family. While anyone can own a blog for free, the internet is not always an accessible and free resource or in a language that much of the world speaks; English outnumbers all other languages on blogging 3:1, with Portuguese being second most spoken in the blogosphere.  Just because the work is online does not mean one has a global audience, and with mass amateurization of the blogging art, this may not be a negative thing.

Commentary 

One  subject of interest to me in this article was the author’s similar attitude towards teenage girls with makeup blogs. In the last article we read, Seeing Ourselves Through Technology, the author argued that women finding a voice even nowadays online is being shamed. The author of Into the Blogosphere writes, ” It is within this periphery,
containing the hundreds of thousands of “teenage girls” who have been wrongly disparaged as not contributing anything useful to the web (Orlowski, 2003)”. This was very similar to the previous article’s point about shaming women who find a platform and a voice, no matter what the subject.

Key terms & main ideas:

  • ‘Nanoaudience’: friends and family
  • “Blogdom”: singular blog 
  • Filtering helps a reader to find blogs with a common interest
  • The ‘blogosphere’ is not technically a community, but it must be counted as something. There are not strong interpersonal links or consistent communication.
  • Press: market economy, blog: gift economy
  • ‘Meatspace’: the offline world

The blogs that are often linked to and widely read do not represent the ‘blogging community’ as a whole: in addition, few people can agree on if bloggers form a community or not and how democratic the blogosphere as a whole is.

 

Unorganized Notes

  • 2003: 2/3 of blogs have not been updated in two months and are considered abandoned; 1.09 million were posted to once and left; average lifespan was four months
    • The blogosphere is an iceberg: the blogs that people see the most do not represent the vast majority
    • ‘Nanoaudience’: friends and family
      • Resemble more personal diaries
  • The ‘blogosphere’ is not technically a community, but it must be counted as something
    • There are not strong interpersonal links inside the blogosphere
    • The community exists inside one’s mind
    • The different styles of blogging must be recognized and appreciated
  • “All communities larger that primordial villages of face-to-face contact are imagined.”
    • Nationalism is imagined
    • Distinguish communities by the style in which they are imagined
  • Anderson recognized reading the morning paper as a mass ceremony in which one participant will be completely unaware of the other participants
    • Bloggers are similar in a digital fashion rather than in print
    • Blogs vs newspaper: blogs are not driven by profit
      • Press: market economy, blog: gift economy
        • A shift in the status quo
      • This has the power to pull focus off one-way, formal print and become more decentralized
      • Blogs are more affected by their author and the author can be very self-expressive
        • Traditional media attempts to maintain ‘detached objectivity’
    • Bloggers take information from traditional media, but report it in a way news could not
      • Unedited personal accounts among the traditional media’s more pressing issues
      • Some bloggers ‘keep the pressure on’ until the mainstream notices and keep stories alive
    • The process of blogging has a democratizing effect and can evoke feelings of shared experience
    • Blogs simultaneously engage the consumers and the producers
    • On opinions, blogging has the upper hand
    • Hyperlinks cause community
    • ‘Meatspace’: the offline world
  • Most bloggers do not link to and engage with other bloggers
    • 10% update sites daily, 60% 1-2x/week or less
    • Back-and-forth only takes up about 2-7% of communication
  • [what’s up with this author slamming teenage girls with makeup blogs?]
  • “Blogdom”: singular blog 
    • Most recent posts at the top of the page in reverse chronological
      • Emphasizes currentness
    • Likely contains links to external sites & comment pages
      • Facilitates interaction
    • Filtering helps a reader makes sense of so many blogs, to find those with a common interest
      • Filtering assures that someone’s work is read even if it is not widely read
      • Not profit motivated as with print
        • The community decides what is ‘front page’
        • Human and automated processes
  • Some consider that the blogging community is dangerous, in a way, because it leaves the door open for unlimited reproduction and distribution of writing. No limits on supply and a fixed cost.
    • Mass amateurization enables anyone with a computer to post their work
    • Online does not equal global audience
  • The internet can resemble ancient Athens where democracy was limited to a wealthy few
    • ‘The internet’ is not always a free, easily accessible resource
    • English blogs outnumber any other 3:1, Portuguese being second because of the push to make it second

 

 

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