Dan's Metablog
Writing about blogging, identity, and narrative

Blogosphere vs. Blogspace   Wednesday, June 7   6:56 PM

My browser crashed (PDF overload) just as I'd almost completed the discourse history post for Ravi Kumar and company's "On the Bursty Evolution of Blogspace," and like some sort of Blogger rookie I'd forgotten to save my progress in a text file, so, yeah.

I haven't read it yet, but just going through the cites I was struck by two things. First, by the apparent separation between this discourse community and the one that contains most of the blogosphere articles; I had to add a lot of articles to the grand list. It's hard to precisely divide the two communities, and there's some overlap, but one seems to be computational-technological and the other sociological-interpretive..

More importantly, I was struck by the use of the term "blogspace" instead of "blogosphere."

Blogosphere was coined in 1999; let us never forget that this coinage was ironic. I found a 2002 article about "blogspace" but I'm sure, given the amount of serial coiners online, that the word existed before then.

Dr. K's post The End of "The Blogosphere" was the only one I could find on the blogosphere/blogspace contention. He makes a pretty good case for blogspace.

As you can see in my tagline, I prefer the word blogosphere; I like to think, with little evidence, that my thesis work was in the "field" of blogosphere studies. Blogosphere feels more natural to me. It reminds me of "biosphere," and I think it better captures the shifting, evolving nature of this online world.

Blogosphere was the word that gained currency online, whereas blogspace ("meatspace" notwithstanding) seems like a more academic invention, used primarily in the computational-technological discourse community. This may be because I've never heard anyone refer to "blogspace" until recently, and then only in scholarly work, but I feel like using this word concedes ground to theorists who know nothing about blogging. It casts in alien terms something many of us are already familiar with, and implies that we have to go to them, when, in fact, they should be coming to us, describing the entities we've already established.

And despite Dr. K's rhetorical claim, "blogosphere" is not dead. No, not even in the Nietzschean sense. Though the definition of blog is often described with that same "moving on..." finality, theorists are still going to have to think, even if only for a moment, about how they describe the blog ecosystem.

Comments (5)

Nice comment - I think the preference for "blogosphere" vs "blogspace" depends on (a) preference, (b) adoption within your peer community and (c) your preferred metaphor for that oddity called the Internet/CyberSpace etc.

For you the "biosphere" living organism metaphor works - for me the multi-dimensional spatial metaphor.

Different strokes for different folks - and language can accommodate us all ....

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