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

Bridging the Gap: Not so bad   Wednesday, May 31   8:10 PM

I've been too hard on Herring et al. Their study "Bridging the Gap: A Genre Analysis of Weblogs" is useful information when used correctly, and it's usually used correctly.

The study used a sample of 203 blogs to draw some conclusions about blogging. As I've noted before, there are so many restrictions on this sample (e.g. the exclusion of LiveJournal and Diaryland blogs, 6) that it's clearly a distorted picture of the blogosphere as a whole:

"Thus the blogs selected for analysis were established, English language, text-based blogs. An estimated 60% of the randomly selected blogs met these combined criteria. As we were primarily interested in active blogs, we also excluded any blogs that had not been updated within the two weeks prior to data collection; this resulted in the elimination of several additional blogs." (3-4)

To their credit, Herring et al. know this. They can't read every blog out there, and obviously their conclusions are based on a limited sample. They don't want a mass of diary weblogs to swallow the other genres in their study; I don't agree with that decision but I understand it.

You can learn a lot about the blogosphere from this article.

Sometimes though, sometimes "Bridging the Gap" is used in a sloppy way, to draw conclusions that I don't think you can really draw from this sample. Sometimes the writers don't give any explanation of this study, they don't talk about it in general terms (which would be perfectly all right), they don't mention what was in the sample, they don't even say anything about a "sample" at all, except perhaps to mischaracterize it.

These, then, seem to be the actual offenders:

"Basically, two major sorts of weblogs can be distinguished: diaries or personal journals and filters. Journals amount to approximately seventy percent of all blogs, and filters to about ten to fifteen percent ([Herring et al. 2004])." (Kolbitsch and Maurer, 190)
"The modal number of comments in individually authored blogs has been found to be zero [6]" (Nardi et al., 46)
"A similar study finds that 40.4% of blog authors are under age 20 (Herring, Scheidt, Bonus, & Wright, 2004)." (Huffaker, 92).

And most shocking of all:

"However, a recent study found that only 12.6% of currently active weblogs are filters, and 48.8% contain no links to other weblogs at all (Herring, Scheidt, Bonus & Wright, 2004)." (Herring et. al 2005, 1).


Herring, S. C., Scheidt, L. A., Bonus, S., and Wright, E. (2004). Bridging the gap: A genre analysis of weblogs. Proceedings of the 37th Hawai'i International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-37). Los Alamitos: IEEE Computer Society Press.  

Herring, Susan C., Inna Kouper, John C. Paolillo, Lois Ann Scheidt, Michael Tyworth, Peter Welsch, Elijah Wright, and Ning Yu. "Conversations in the Blogosphere: An Analysis 'From the Bottom Up'." Proc. of the 38th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS'05), Los Alamitos: IEEE Press. 2005: 107b.

Huffaker, David. "The educated blogger: Using weblogs to promote literacy in the classroom." AACE Journal. 13.2 (2005): 91-98.

Kolbitsch, Josef and Hermann Maurer. "The Transformation of the Web: How Emerging Communities Shape the Information we Consume." Journal of Universal Computer Science. 12.2 (April 2006).

Nardi, Bonnie, Diane Schiano, Michelle Gumbrecht, and Luke Swartz. "Why we blog" Communications of the ACM. 47.12 (2004): 41-46.

Comments (4)

discount Christian Louboutin
cheap Christian Louboutin Pumps
Tiffany Silver Jewelry
cheap Jimmy Choo shoes
cheap Jimmy Choo
nike dunk

replica watch
replica Bvlgari
Tudor replica
U-Boat replica
replica Rolex Day Date
rolex replica watches

posted by Anonymous replica watch at 12:16 AM, December 04, 2009  

Christian Louboutin
cheap Christian Louboutin Boots
discount Christian Louboutin Shoes
Christian Louboutin Boots on sale
Christian Louboutin Sandals on sale
YSL Vintage designer bag

posted by Anonymous Christian-Louboutin-Shoes at 2:04 AM, December 04, 2009  

replica watch
replica Bvlgari
Vacheron Constantin watches
replica Rolex Masterpiece
replica Yachtmaster
versace bags

posted by Anonymous cheap Jimmy Choo shoes at 3:11 AM, December 04, 2009  

Leave a Comment

Posting "Theorizing"   Tuesday, May 23   10:13 PM

Rather than expect anyone to read a 21-page post, I've put up my master's thesis as a PDF.

My advisor thought the end was too self-deprecating, and after reading it over again I'm starting to agree. Short answer: I didn't know how to end it... it's more of a demonstrative essay. Or something.

Comments (2)

Thank you for include my dissertation on your list. I would like to change the final year for it. It was 2002 I presented the Diarios Públicos Mundos privados: diário íntimo como gênero discursivo e suas transformações na contemporaneidade.
I still have another article intitled: "Avaliação mediada e avaliada por computador: a inserção dos blogs como interface na educação". A link for it:http://www.abed.org.br/congresso2005/por/pdf/026tcc5.pdf
Thanks again

Well, 2002... that's a seat on the bandwagon well worth fighting for!

I've made the change. I'll add your other article (I can't read it, but it does have the word "blogs" right in the title), once I'm back on my own computer.

Leave a Comment

Thesis: finished   Monday, May 22   5:37 PM

Well, I didn't sleep, but I'm done. I changed the name of the paper at the 11th hour, to the all-too-simple "Theorizing the Diary Weblog."

There's a whole ideology behind that title but I won't get into it. I'm just glad that I claimed it before anyone else could.

Pretty satisfied with the thesis; I'll probably put it up after some celebratory drinking.

Comments (0)

Leave a Comment

Introducing blog resources   Saturday, May 20   9:33 PM

You know that episode of the Simpsons where Homer repeatedly mistakes much smaller mountains for the Murderhorn?

That's how I feel about both the blogosphere and blogosphere studies: it seems like every day, I find some nook that I've missed. The former problem doesn't bother me, because the hope is that eventually sites I like will link to other sites I'll like.

For blogosphere studies, on the other hand, it's a much bigger problem. I have to be lucky to find an article that cites any given article, when I'm not just blindly entering keywords into Google Scholar. What's more, even if I find an article it has to grab my attention from out of a long list of citations.

So right now, I'm reading papers on defining the weblog, papers I could have included in my master's thesis. Thank god for footnotes.

Well, rather than have it go on like this, I've set up two blog research resource pages. Blog resources tracks the conversations that have formed around various works in the field, and allows me to play six degrees of separation with journal articles. And so no one misses any papers that are essential for the blogosphere in general, I've added a Top 20 page. Cites are from Google Scholar and are subject to change; there are a few blind spots still.

I'm also thinking about adding a master list, for my own benefit mainly.

If you think I've missed (and will continue missing) anything, comment or email me. Google scholar uses dissertations or master's theses, and I'll do the same if they're available somewhere. Also so I can include my own increasingly humble-seeming effort.

Comments (1)

discount Christian Louboutin
cheap Christian Louboutin Pumps
Tiffany Silver Jewelry
cheap Jimmy Choo shoes
cheap Jimmy Choo
nike dunk

posted by Anonymous cheap Jimmy Choo shoes at 2:04 AM, December 04, 2009  

Leave a Comment

Fragmenting the imagined community   Monday, May 1   12:06 PM

One of my original thesis ideas. The answer is of course yes-and-no. I think blog platforms like LiveJournal certainly have their own communities with their own communal norms, but I don't get that impression from platforms like MoveableType, whose users seem to think on the blogosphere-as-a-whole level.

Many theorists have devoted their time to studying the interaction between blogger and audience: the construction of identity, the expectations of privacy, and the various ways information is presented on the blog. Only one theorist, however, has devoted any significant amount of time to the primary way in which the bloggers' communication with the reader is mediated.

In two essays, "Weblogs: A History and Perspective" and "Hammer, Nail: How Blogging Software Reshaped the Online Community," Rebecca Blood explains how the popular blogging software Blogger, along with a handful of other web-based programs, prompted a shift from filter- to personal-journal weblogs. According to Blood, it was the Blogger interface — one which did not make mandatory the inclusion of links in a post — which prompted users to write more diary-like entries and eventually resulted in the current blogosphere, one dominated by the diary weblog genre.

While many people have accepted this dramatic examples as a singular event, the options available among the most popular blogging software still differ, and the work of two theorists suggests that blog interfaces are still shaping the community. Though she claims that their formats vary only slightly, Emily Nussbaum observes in her essay "My so-called blog" that among high school students, different social groups use different blogging software. Furthermore, in "Imagining the Blogosphere," Graham Lampa claims that for most bloggers, the blogosphere "resides in the mind of the individual blogger as an online imagined community resulting from the shared experience of instant publishing." Combining the insights of these two theorists suggests that the imagined community to which groups of bloggers feel they belong — the community that creates the norms they follow when creating posts — may be localized to the specific blogging software a blogger is using.

If there is indeed a fragmented blogosphere, one in which bloggers think of themselves as members of Xanga or Blogger, in which they try to write "LiveJournals" instead of merely "blogs," then blogosphere studies needs to pay more attention to the differences between platforms. Theorists who exclude certain platforms, for example Susan Herring et. al, who exclude a number of popular diary websites from the oft-cited "Bridging the Gap," may be presenting a widely-distorted picture of the blogosphere as a whole. Generalizations about the blogosphere as a whole would have far less validity if it was actually a number of separate imagined communities.

On the other hand, the work of theorists like Kate Raynes-Goldie, who has written exclusively on LiveJournal, would have greater utility if the fragmented blogosphere theory held true. Theorists would have to resort to a platform-specific analysis of blogging practices as the most valid method to determine norms and genre formation, and the field would be open to studies of the dozens of blogging platforms which haven't gotten the attention of theorists like Raynes-Goldie. At the present time, however, this is all conjecture — the first question, pressing considering the implications, is whether these fragmented imagined communities actually exist.

Comments (4)

hey dan,
I'm flattered you're using my paper and congrats on finishing your thesis!:)

I have a few comments about your statements about my paper:

in your post you said "If there is indeed a fragmented blogosphere, one in which bloggers think of themselves as members of Xanga or Blogger, in which they try to write "LiveJournals" instead of merely "blogs," then blogosphere studies needs to pay more attention to the differences between platforms."

i think there is indeed a fragmented blogosphere, at least for livejournal users because we very much think of ourselves as separate from bloggers. As I argued in my paper, livejournal is a community embedded blogging practice and has a very different culture and demographic than other blogging services. Livejournal has a blogging element and a social networking element (I can list my friends) and I can control who sees what with friends filters. when i write on livejournal, it feels very different from writing on my movable type blog. I am writing to friends and starting a conversation. Danah boyd has written about this too: http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2005/01/04/the_cultural_divide_between_livejournal_and_six_apart.html

I'd also like to mention that I think your citation of my paper is a bit out of context and does not accurately represent the true spirit of what I was saying. You said "Within blogosphere studies, there is considerable disagreement as to whether the blogger’s contruction of identity is a form of role-playing or an authentic attempt at mimesis. Some theorists have adopted apparently extreme positions: Raynes-Goldie, embracing postmodernism, suggests that “in this informational chaos, the question of truth is not really a useful one,”

I was not writing about identity construction on blogs, rather the use of blogs for the creation of knowledge. My point was that information is not useful because it is true, but because its relevant. I wasn't at all writing about identity and your quotation does not accurately reflect my opinion on identity construction on blogs.

Thanks for the commentary; I'm not completely sold yet, but I was actually using your work to make the case for a fragmented blogosphere in yet another essay and it's good to hear you agree.

I'm very sorry if I used your quote out of context; certainly I shouldn't have said you were "embracing postmodernism" when you're synthesizing aspects of both modernism and postmodernism in your description of LiveJournal as a knowledge-creation system.

However, it seemed to me that with diary weblogs (and I may only have this reading because it's been so long since I read your essay: I've been working with that pull-quote since October) the knowledge being created is primarily reader knowledge about the blogger. I could see someone making the case that the value of a blog like Belle de Jour doesn't stem from its (possible) truth but from its usefulness as a source of entertainment, or whatever you're getting from it (perhaps I'm taking "relevance" much too broadly here), and I guess I thought you were making that case.

You're not, as it turns out, and as I said I'm sorry for going against the spirit of the essay. I'll have to re-read it in a few days when things calm down around here (certainly I'm more interested now in what seems to be one of the only studies of a blog-publishing platform world within the blogosphere) but I'd be curious to hear how you've conceptualized blogger identity.

Is a reality-reflective blogger identity important because only true details about that identity are relevant, or is the blogger's identity removed from informational chaos you describe?

Having re-read the essay, I see that I did, in fact, go against its spirit.

Yet I still don't see why information and knowledge have to be as topical and depersonalized — in the sense that, although data is filtered through people here, it never seems to be about people — as you assume them to be for "Pulling sense." I think you could (and thought you did) draw the same conclusions even with a much broader definition of info/knowledge.

discount Christian Louboutin
cheap Christian Louboutin Pumps
Tiffany Silver Jewelry
cheap Jimmy Choo shoes
cheap Jimmy Choo
nike dunk

posted by Anonymous cheap Jimmy Choo shoes at 2:05 AM, December 04, 2009  

Leave a Comment

Alles Wird Gut


Discourse History
Top 20 Citations
All Citations
Master's Thesis

Dan's Metablog


Bloggers Blog
BROG Project
Google Scholar
Into the Blogosphere
MLA styleguide

Dan's Webpage

Recent posts

Tech update
Blog research in other languages
But Dan, you had the power the whole time
JCMC and Winer's Weblogs
The year was 2003
The bursty evolution of my swollen fingers
How you can help (and Blogger Beta)
Blogosphere vs. Blogspace
Bridging the Gap: Not so bad

My del.ic.ious site feed

delicious icon  my del.icio.us


October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
December 2006

Website XML feed

Creative Commons License

Blogger button