Monday, December 1, 2008


Blogging is easily becoming one of the most popular trends of the internet. Its implications and uses are numerous. People are blogging now more than ever before with estimation of users reaching approximately 100 million. Blogs are easily becoming the wave of communication for the future. Personal journals, diaries, news, fashion, discussions, updates, and sports are all common examples of blogs. Bloggers use these various different styles of blogs for many different purposes, none better than the other. Blogging has become for many, personal, or where information is found, and for others a form of voyeurism, where you look into and are intrigued by the lives of others. Blogging serves many purposes and is different for all who use it.

Originating in the late 1990’s blogging is quickly becoming one of the most useful and influential tools of the Web. The origin of the technology is the source of some controversy since its origin is not completely clear. According to CNet news, one of the first bloggers was Winer “…a pioneer of Web syndication techniques and editor of Scripting News, which launched on April 1, 1997”. He claims that “…Scripting News "bootstrapped the blogging revolution" and that it is the "longest currently running Web log on the Internet". He also makes claims that "the first blogs were inspired" by Scripting News”.

Blogging has evolved from its early days, used primarily by technologically savvy computer users. Today’s bloggers are people of many different backgrounds. There is no one particular type of blogger. People of all ages can participate; all that is required is a computer and connection to the internet. Sites such as, have made the process simpler than ever imagined. is Google’s own blogging site that sets users up with their own blog with three easy steps that literally takes minutes. Detailed step by step directions allow even people with little to no experience with a computer to create their very own blog. The personal blog has many purposes. Some use it as a diary, or online journal. It is kept by one user who posts to it as frequently as desired. The controls can be set to varying level s of privacy to allow as many or as few people to read it. Some people share very intimate, private details on their blog, while others use their blog to express simple thoughts or ideas they may have. The personal blog varies from user to user, however one thing remains prevalent, the blogger is in control. They choose the topic, they choose when and what they wish to blog. Followers of blogs can post comments to blogs, usually a reaction to a posting by the bloggers. This allows for communication to reach a level of never before. Another common use of blogs is to keep friends and family up to date on occurrences in one’s life. Posting to a blog is far easier than calling each individual, or emailing each person that one may want to share news with. People interested in keeping in touch with one another can frequently do so with the convenience that blogging offers.

Blogging is also commonly used for entertainment purposes. There is a blog out there somewhere for each and every topic imaginable, catering to the needs of users everywhere. Some people turn to blogs to catch up on the latest celebrity gossip. For example, Crush is a blog that keeps its followers up to date on the latest details of the lives of young celebrities in Hollywood. It is followed primarily by young users, teenagers to be exact; however there are others of varying age groups. People check in daily and often make comments to the blogs, as if they were responding to the celebrities themselves. This is an example of blogging for entertainment purposes.

Some blogs are for informative purposes. People seeking information on almost any topic can search for a blog that allows them to post a question and be answered by another user. Often times, one can find a blog where someone else had the same question and you can be informed simply by reading the replies they received.

Blogs have also had political implications. Blogs can help or hurt political campaigns. It was said in the New York Times that “In March, political experts said, Malaysia’s bloggers helped influence elections, contributing to the biggest upset that the governing party, the United Malays National Organization, had suffered since independence in 1957. For the first time in decades, it held fewer than two-thirds of the seats in Parliament, and it lost control of 5 of the 13 states” (Mydans, 2008). There is free reign over what is written on blogs and what is read on a blog can influence choices made by its readers. There is also controversy associated with blogging in relation to freedom of speech. The question remains, how far is too far, how much is too much? In America people have the freedom of speech as one of their rights, however with blogging being an international sensation, some bloggers are coming across boundaries. In places around the world where the government in charge puts censors on what is said and alters what is heard by its citizens, the internet is where people who want to be heard can turn. The New York Times reports that in Malaysia “…bloggers are becoming a Fifth Estate, challenging the government’s monopoly on information in Singapore, evading censors in Vietnam, and influencing events in places like Thailand, Cambodia and China” (Mydans, 2008). The internet and blogging has created a new outlet for the government to try and control in the regions were freedom of speech does not prevail, however due to the amazing capabilities of both, the governments that want to take control are having increased difficulty in doing so.

Blogging is also a source of controversy in the field of journalism. Many question whether those who blog are worthy of being considered journalists. Some argue yes for several reasons. If you turn to any popular newspapers website today, there is a blog section. Often these are the same people writing the articles for the paper itself. Sometimes bloggers are people that are former journalists. If followers of blogs turn to blogs for information, some would argue that there is no difference between a blogger and a journalist as they are one in the same. However, on the other end of the spectrum, some people view blogs as personal and entertainment, not at all credible sources of information. For this reason, bloggers are considered simply bloggers, and journalists are those who write for established sources. Blogs vary in their tones and the level of writing they have, so this can also be of consideration when arguing the blogger versus the journalist. Blogs that are written very casually, in using computer terms such as LOL, to express laughing out loud might be considered written by a blogger.

Blogs are evolving on a level that has potential to change our society. Bloggers can focus on topics that may not be as prevalent in the main stream news. Blogs are rapidly growing and its audiences are as well. Followers of blogs are often inspired to start their own, leading to more and more users of the technology. Blogs are free and can be accessed at any time by anyone. They are current and constantly updated. They are personalized and often represent their author. Blogs are so popular and effective because they give those who may not have an outlet for their opinions a voice. It’s the first technology of its kind to give people those capabilities. If you put a thought out there, someone will read it, and possibly talk back. Bloggers have the chance to communicate with people across the world as well as someone right down the block. There are no constraints on blogs which is possibly a cause of their popularity. Bloggers are not afraid to say the right thing, and don’t have to. They are not being monitored and have no one to impress, except their audience, if they wish. Many writers prefer blogging because of the freedom from advertising executives that you might face when trying to sell a magazine for instance. Andrew Sullivan, a contributor to TIME says “It’s incredibly liberating” of blogging. People today blog for so many reasons; to stay in touch, to educate and learn, to express opinions, to be heard. Blogging can be summed up in one word: communication. It is rapidly becoming the most effective and convenient way to hear others and be heard as well. Blogging is becoming the way of the future. There is the possibility of the extinction of the personal diary, the telephone, the mailing system is blogging continues on its path to take over the world of communication.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Notes on Blogging

Before this class, I've heard of blogs, but never experienced them myself. With the requirements of this class revolving so often around blogging, the Web 2.0 medium I have chosen, I have become quite comfortable with them. I’ve looked through several different types of blogs. The one that I see and use most often is that blog for our class postings. When I started this class, I was very weary of all my personal work being placed on a blog, for all to see. Now that I’ve gotten used to blogging and seen firsthand its implications, I feel that I shouldn’t have worried at all. I look at my blog now as a place to display my work, and its work that I’ve put a great deal of effort to, so why not share?

I’ve also seen some blogs that are for entertainment purposes. People turn to them to get their latest celebrity gossip. It’s kind of as if the advances in our technology have helped the blog to evolve and take the place of tabloid magazines. This is also the case with newspapers. Very often people are turning to blogs to get their world news.

Some people use blogs as a diary or journal. I find this to be very interesting. Very often, what one puts in their diary or journal are their private thoughts. With that being said, the idea of blogging those thoughts opens a whole new world of possibilities. What was once private is out there for all to see. Some choose to make their blogs completely private, for their own personal use, but that is odd to me. Why not just put it in your own journal, why blog then? Some people also blog to share their news and or thoughts with others. I observed some blogs in search through the blogosphere where people just blog their thoughts and emotions. It’s kind of an attention seeking device. I found this horrifyingly disturbing blog where this girl was openly anorexic and bulimic. She talked about how she went about being that way, and how disgusted she was with herself for eating a carrot. The saddest thing about it was the people that were offering tips on how to have an eating disorder, asking her for advice, and encouraging her to continue with it. Not one comment on how to get better, or live a healthier life.

I think that the most practical use of blogging would be to update people on your life. The birth of a child, a promotion at work, or an engagement are all examples of the type of news one might post to their personal blog. I feel that you cannot always trust what you read from a blog, because in a way, they are personal opinions. So that is why I enjoy the personal blog that is intended to connect people with one another.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shirky Reading

With the increase of social networking sites and the advancement of the technologies that foster them, the likelihood of increasing ones contacts is inevitable. Sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Internet relay chats allow us to be interconnected with one another like never before. As discussed by Shirky, author of Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations, the chances of coincidently meeting a friend of friend are more likely thanks to the ways that these social networking sites work. There are several factors that contribute to the advancement of our connections with one another. This phenomenon is referred to as “Small World networks” playing on the common saying when one meets someone that they share a friend with “what a small world”.

The concept of “…homophily, or the grouping of like with like” (p.213) is an explanation to the so called “coincidences” that we see all the time when analyzing our social connections with one another. If thought about logically, it only makes sense that these small world networks would allow connection between people with similarities and shared interests. For example, Facebook in its early days allowed you to join a network that consisted of only fellow schoolmates. By only being connected to people that attend the same school, the pool of people from which to choose to interact with narrows greatly.

Another factor contributing to the success of small world networks is the idea of how closely connected they actually are. According to Shirky, “…large groups are sparsely connected” (p.215). This means that there is a greater likelihood of connecting with others who you might not know directly when the connections are loose. This allows the connection to grow, whereas if everyone literally knew everyone, there would be no room to connect with others.

The internet and its amazing advancements have led people to experience one another like never imagined. For instance, Facebook know has a feature where it offers people you may know and how you are connected to one another. These sites may be used for socializing, meeting potential life partners, expressing ideas, getting help and advice, and even for political campaigns. So the question remains, is it really a small world out there? With the technology out there today, connecting people like never before, the answer is no, it is not.

Shirky, Clay. (2008). Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations (chapter 9). New York: Penguin.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blogging Essay 4

Technology today is increasingly becoming more and more advanced. With these great advancements come changes to the way that we live. One popular trend in our society today is blogging. People are staying connected with one another like never before with this spectacular feature of the internet. Everyone has potential to get their thoughts, ideas and opinions into cyberspace for anyone with access to a computer to see. Although such a growing technology, blogging varies from site to site. The idea that different people use blogs for many different purposes bring to light the question asked by Barlow, author of Blogging America, why do we blog? As a society, blogging is definitely used as an outlet for many different purposes. Some blogs are for entertainment, some are for news, and others are used by some as a personal journal or diary. But Barlow’s question remains, why blog, and where is this phenomenon going to lead?

In my observations preparing for this essay, I chose to follow a blog titled Crush, which I found on the homepage for Yahoo. I chose to follow this blog for several reasons, the main reason being that I found the topic to be amusing. The main focus of Crush, was celebrity gossip, a guilty pleasure for many, myself included. I also chose this blog because it is run by Yahoo, a site which I trust. This does not mean that I take all I read there as coming from a reputable source; however I think that the information is of better quality than what I might have found on a personal blog. I also found the layout of the blog to be quite attractive. It consisted of bright colors, pictures, and videos to support the content on the blog. I think that layout of a blog plays an extremely important role in the popularity of the blog. With the millions of blogs out there for people to follow, bloggers must catch the attention of the followers. A first impression can be everything.

When reading Crush, I disappointedly found myself getting bored. Perhaps after submerging myself into the blogging world of celebrity gossip, I discovered how meaningless and pathetic the topic actually is. However, for the purpose of the assignment, I stayed with it, and actively participated and observed. With the focus being on young celebrities, the main audience of the blog is people of about the same age. I only make this assumption based on the quality of comments I read. Those who commented either took personal offense to people disliking their favorite celebrities, or gave support to the celebrities through the blog, as if they were reading it themselves. People attacked each other based on comments made, as I witnessed firsthand for a comment I made. In following this blog I came to the realization that a big reason some blog is for entertainment purposes. I guess that by some standards this could be considered a source of news, if one just needed to know that a Jonas brother and Taylor Swift broke up. However, for the most part, this is a great example of people using blogging for entertainment purposes.

There are however several other purposes for blogging. People keep personal blogs to update their friends and loved ones. In the article “Shout into the wind and it shouts back”, by Lori Kendall, she gave an example of a man blogging the news of his newborn child, rather than emailing all that he wanted to notify. This shows that blogging is used by some as a means to stay connected with others and share personal information. Some people use their blogs as a personal diary or journal. Thoughts that one want to express are blogged, along with ideas and feelings. This form of blogging for many has taken the place of writing in a journal by hand. However, the idea that there is a potential audience when blogging might change the tone in which the blogger writes.

Blogging has even advanced the education experience. This class is a perfect example. All writing assignments are posted to a public blog, for the entire world to see. We as a class are learning to write for an audience, and saving some trees while we’re at it. It might not be too long before all professors adopt this idea of posting work to a blog.

So where is this idea of blogging taking us? Blogging is taking us to the future. The world is rapidly becoming more and more technologically advanced. Blogging is going to be taking over the world soon, in a good way. People need outlets to express themselves, and have the opportunity to do so by blogging. So Barlow’s question of why people blog has numerous answers. Blogging is personal. Blogging is educational. Blogging is therapeutic. Blogging is entertainment. There is no one answer to the question, the answer lies on the user. What can blogging do for you, anything.

Works Cited
Barlow, A. (2008). Blogging America The new public sphere. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Kendall, Lori. (2007). "Shout into the wind, and it shouts back.” Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal. First Monday, 12. Retrieved on August 21, 2008 from

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Day 1
I chose to observe and participate in a blog about celebrity gossip. I chose this topic for a few reasons. I know that although there are so many more important topics out there, celebrity gossip is sort of a guilty pleasure for many. I knew that the topics would be up to date, and that people would have a lot to say. Yahoo blogs has a section called Crush, where the main focus is “Hollywood’s next generation”. Users have the opportunity to catch up on all the latest gossip around their favorite celebrities and comment on the stories they read. I noticed in my observations the tension surrounding people whose comments do not agree with each other or the author of the blog. This blog in particular has pictures of the content of the blog. For example on November 4th, 2008, a blog praising celebrity Chris Brown also displayed the music video that was discussed for all to see. The blog was written by Sydney, however, there was no last name. I wonder if the semi anonymous author is a policy by the company, or if the bloggers are had higher hopes in the journalism field and are ashamed of the meaningless topics they write about.


A blog revolved around the breakup of two young celebrities, Taylor Swift and Joe Jonas gave fans the chance to take the side of their favorite celebrity. Some users even used it as an opportunity to comment and share their own similar experiences, perhaps using the blog as an outlet to vent.

Day 3
This particular blog was about an appearance of Lauren Conrad on the David Letterman show. There were several responses to the blog. People took the chance to get their opinions of her out there, as well as their opinions on how well she did on the show. I menitoned that I thought she looked beautiful and did a great job on the show and was backlashed at by one other commenter. I guess that person is not a fan of Laurens. I'm noticing a similar trend in all the blogging for this particular site. The articles are very similar to that of a tabloid magazine, even the layout is similar. There are short stories, then pictures to support. The only difference that I notice is that there is the opportunity to include multimedia, such as video, where in a magaizine there is not. There is not room for readers to directly comment back to the author of the blog in a magaizine, like people can here.

Day 4
I chose to follow this blog because I thought I might find the topics discussed interesting, but aside from a few stories, I was wrong. People are commenting about the celebrities being written about, and that’s pretty much it. There are minor areas where people attack each other due to disagreements in comments, but nothing too serious. One trend that I noticed is the audience the commenter’s are writing for. It often sounds as if they think the person the blog is about will see what they wrote. There is the slight possibility that the particular celebrity happens to follow this particular blog, but I’m guessing the chances aren’t too likely.

Unknown: u bloggers need to get a lifee.....just cause he's wearing boots does not confirm that he's may just be the style of the clothing he enjoys to wear

percia1999 : HAPPY BIRTHDAY Kevin. I hope you had a nice party and a good day. once again happy birthday kevin. Say hi to your brothers if you see this comment. thank you percia1999

Day 5
Country music artist, Taylor Swift, seems to be a hot topic on this blog. The blogger talks about how she doesn’t like her as an artist. Fans then respond back, as expected. Some protected her, and others agreed with the author. Some of the comments were harsh or could be considered by others to be brutally honest.

le_gal50 : Taylor Swift has no talent. Period. Her songs are full of high school angst. Her whiney little girl voice is repulsive. I seriously want to blow my brains out every time that talentless twit wins an award. She needs to take her high school drama to the appropriate venue -- High School Musical.

In response to above quote:
justme :Could anyone be more mean?

Shout into the Wind, and it Shouts Back - Kendall reaction

In the most recent reading that I have done for my COM 430Z class, we ventured into the world of LiveJournal. The article by Lori Kendall titled, “Shout into the wind, and it shouts back” Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal, discusses the uses, concerns and advantages of the blog. People use LiveJournal for many different purposes. Kendall discovered through her study that some people use the site as a journal for personal thoughts, similar to a diary. Then there are those who are opposed to the use of the blog as a diary because although there are some levels of privacy control, it is understood that any content put online has potential to be public. Some users also use LiveJournal to make announcements. For example, one of the users in Kendall’s study preferred posting the birth of a child on LiveJournal rather than emailing or calling each and every person they wanted to notify. The process of posting news on LiveJournal is quick and easy with one simple post.

Kendall also noticed a trend of users concern with their different worlds colliding. They often felt the need to filter other users and the content they allowed people to see. This is understandable because with the growth of LiveJournal, the audience that is exposed to ones journal is growing as well. Many people have different identities when it comes to who they are around. The amount of personal information, feelings and thoughts that are appropriate to expose around coworkers or supervisors is different than what you might feel comfortable exposing to friends or family. I can personally relate to this situation. I don’t blog outside of the realm of this class, however, I think that Facebook, a popular social networking site, can perpetuate some similar concerns. Certain information on my Facebook page I feel comfortable sharing with my friends, but not my family. I know there are some professors that are on Facebook and I wouldn’t think that it was appropriate for them to see pictures of me at a party. More and more people are on the site and similar to the concern with LiveJournal, there is the increased potential that people who see you differently can be shown a side of you that you may not want them to see.

Kendall, Lori. (2007). "Shout into the wind, and it shouts back." Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal. First Monday, 12. Retrieved on August 21, 2008 from

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's on Wikipedia, what's not...?

When researching online you can never quite be too sure what you’re going to get. You go to your favorite search engine, type in some key words then review the results. The chances that one of those results are going to be a Wikipedia entry are very likely, and according to Royal and Kapila, especially if the content you are searching is relevant to the time. Royal and Kapila, authors of What’s on Wikipedia, and what’s not…?, conducted a research study to determine the content they found on Wikipedia. Their results yielded several forms of bias in the content of information found on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia, free to all. Wikipedia is run by its users providing entries and constantly updating those entries. Royal and Kapila’s study looked for the relationship between currency, importance, population of countries and economic power in determining how much information was provided on each Wikipedia entry. By the conclusion of the study it was found that the content on Wikipedia relied heavily on those factors. With very few exceptions, all of the previous factors increased content and word count on the Wikipedia pages, especially when compared to text versions of encyclopedias.

The results from this study offer much to think about. I look at the results as an increase in the power of Web 2.0. We as users have found a way to filter out what we are really looking for. Chances are if you want information on something that happened last week, it’s not going to be in a print version of an encyclopedia. Wikipedia is the encyclopedia of modern time. Those who want to look to the past can do so by looking elsewhere. Companies with more economic power are most likely more known to people, so why wouldn’t they have more information. Web 2.0 is all about technologies becoming more user friendly and if the content on Wikipedia is what the people want, then it’s fulfilling its purpose.

Royal, Cindy & Kapila, Deepina. (in press). What’s on Wikipedia, and what’s not…? Social Science Computer Review.