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Uses of Blogs

Uses of Blogs

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Published by Clancy Ratliff

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Published by: Clancy Ratliff on May 28, 2012
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05/28/2012

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u•••
ofBioS.
AxelBruns
+
JoanneJacobs,
EDITORSPETERLANG
NewYorkWashington,D.C/BaltimoreBernFrankfurtamMain·BerlinBrussels·ViennaOxford
 
AxelBruns
CHAPTERTWENTY-TWO
What'sNextforBlogging?
T
hisbookemergedoutofarealizationthatamidaglutof"bloggingfor
dummies'l-style
guides,therearestillfartoofewin-depthstudiesofhowblogsandbloggingarebeingadoptedacrossawiderangeoffields.Withthisvolume,we'vedoneourbesttobeginthisprocessofchartingtheusesofblogsrightacrossthespectrum,frombloggingforpersonalexpressiontobloggingforcommercialgain,andbeyond.Evenasweputthefinaltouchesonthiscollection,however,we'rewellawarethatbloggingisahighlymovablefeast:someone,somewhere,inthevastandcomplexnetworkoftheblogosphereiscurrentlydevelopingtheNextBigThinginbloggingjustasyoureadthis.Whomightthesepeoplebe,andwhataretheyworkingon?Howwilltheirinventionsfilterthroughthenetworkandbeadoptedacrosstheworldofblogs?Whatwilldeterminetheireventualsuccessorfailure?Indeed,whodrivesthecontinuingandcontinuousdevelopmentoftheblogosphereasasocial,intellectual,creative,andperhapsinpartevencommerciallyviablenetwork?Astudyoftheindividualusesofblogs-theirhistory,currentstatus,andfuturetrajectory-providessomepossibleanswerstothesequestions;buttounderstandbetterwhattheblogosphereitselfmaythink,weapproachedafewgenuine"A-list"bloggerstogiveustheirpointsofview.'
Beyond"Blogging"
Bynowthereseemstobeafairlywidespreadsenseofagreementthatthetimeofdescribing"blogging"asaunifiedpracticeorgenreoftextualproductionisrapidlypassing.PoliticalblogcommentatorTimBlairnotesthat"peoplespeakofpersonalblogs,politicalblogs,petblogs,satireblogs,"andmanyotherformsofblogging,andfeministacademicbloggef'ClancyRatliffagrees:
 
250
WHAT'SNEXT
FORBLOGGIN
evennow"blogging"isonlyslightlymoremeaningfulatermthan"publishing."Withblogging,thespecialmeaningisthatwhatyou'redoingisself-publishingwithoutaneditororothergatekeeper.WhenIfirststartedstudyingweblogsin2002,IquicklyrealizedthatmakingclaimsorgeneralizationsaboutweblogswasliketryingtosaythatXistrueofallbooks:Maybeyoucanmakeaclaimaboutallbooks,butitwouldn'tbeaverymeaningfulone.
Indeed,recentattemptsatsummarizingblogsandblogginghavereturnedtofocusonthefewremainingunifyingcharacteristicsofblogs:JillWalker'sdefi-nitionof"blog"forthe
RoutledgeEncyclopediaofNarrativeTheory,
forexample(probablyoneofthefirstnarrativeencyclopediastorecognizeblogsasanim-portantnewphenomenon),beginsbystatingthat
aweblog,or"blog,isafrequentlyupdatedwebsiteconsistingofdatedentriesarrangedinreversechronologicalordersothemostrecentpostappearsfirst(seetemporalordering).Typically,weblogsarepublishedbyindividualsandtheirstyleispersonalandinformaLWeblogs
first
appeared
in
the
mid-1990s,
becomingpopularassimpleandfreepublishingtoolsbecameavailabletowardstheturnofthecentury.Sinceanybodywithanetconnectioncanpublishtheirownweblog,thereisgreatvarietyinthequality,content,andambitionofweblogs,andaweblogmayhaveanywherefromahandfultotensofthousandsofdailyreaders.i
Whatisnoticeableaboutthisdescriptionisthatitfocusesingoodpartontechnologicalfeaturesofblogs,ratherthanattemptingtodefinegenericmarkers-thismaynowbethelastavailableoptionifauniversallyapplicabledescriptionoftheessenceofblogsisrequired.Indeed,ClancyRatliffnotesthatsomecommentatorshavesuggested"thataweblogisnotagenre;it'satechnology.Idon'tknowifIagreethatgenericconventionsareallthatseparatefromspecificwritingtechnologies."Clearlythetechnologicalfeaturesofpublishingtechnologiesalsohelpdeterminewhatgenresmaybepossiblewithintheirconfines;butatthesametimetechnologiesarealsoshapedbythesocialneedsthatarepresentincontemporarycultureandmaydrivetheriseandfallofparticulargenresofexpression.
It
appearsobviousatthispointthatakeyattractiontotheblogosphereis,andremains,thepotentialforindividualandinformalexpressionandun-gatekeptself-publishingwhichbothRatliffandWalkeridentify,anditseemssafetoassumethatinanyfuturedevelopmentsofblogginggenres,thisformofuser-ledcontentproduction,orprodusage,willcontinuetoplayasignificantrole.TheabilitytolinktoandcommentoncontentfoundonotherblogsorelsewhereontheWebalsoremainsacrucialaspect,andtoolsbothforidentifyinginterestinglinksaswellasforanalyzingthelinkagepatternsofbloggersmoregenerallycontinuetomultiply,evenifsomemechanismsforremotecommentingandannotationofblogsandWebsites-suchastrackbacks-havebeenseverelycompromisedbecauseoftheirmisusebyspammers.

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