Thursday, December 28
My FTP traffic went through the roof, apparently due to some of these RSS feeds, and that was expensive, so I've started running everything through Feedburner. If you've been accessing the feeds, please direct your links to the new feedburner addresses.
Blog research in other languages
Monday, December 18
While adding a friend's Magisterarbeit
to the article master list
, I decided to go through his references for other articles I'd left out.
This is more than I usually do; I'd rather get the Discourse History finished, and Google Scholar currently has 24,400 hits for "blog." (I wonder if the bads hits cancel out the articles it can't find? A newspaper piece on blogging, for scholarship purposes, is almost always a "bad hit".)
I'd guess that there were maybe 30-35 influential articles, as measured by citation count for the time being, between 1999 and 2005, and I'd like to see/show when and what and where and who and whom. The "All Citations" page is largely an artifact of that effort, but since people, you know, use that page, and since I do know this guy, I added his paper.
Then I delved into German blog scholarship for many hours. It's surprisingly extensive, and there are wonderful resources like the apparently-defunct BlogInitiativeGermany
It's my hope to — in the distant future when I've finished the history and added all the relevant links to other metablogs, recurring blog-related conferences, and journals that regularly publish blogosphere studies stuff — set up a page for German-language, etc., blog articles. A few days ago, I stumbled upon the Wikipedia page on Iranian blogs
, which has a short list of related academic papers
I've spent enough time editing Wikipedia to have become a little bit cynical about Wikipedia's editing process, but for some languages such a section might be a good option.
(Oh, and another note, a lesson that took me some time to learn: When looking for research in Spanish, a language I have never studied, remember that "bitàcoles" or "bitacoles," seems to be an alternate word for blog or weblog.)
But Dan, you had the power the whole time
Wednesday, December 13
I asked, and within the hour Prof. Sandeep Krishnamurthy
sent me a copy of his 2002 essay "The multidimensionality of blog conversations: The virtual enactment of September 11." That's what I like about this field.
Why did I not do this when I was writing my thesis? I suppose I wasn't getting much sleep back then; I can't really remember.
The essay contains a fair bit of definition, and is often cited for its elegant blog taxonomy (here's a picture
from another article). Even today — and there are many months of research behind this judgment call — most blog classification schema are far more arbitrary, basically whatever genres the blogger can think of off the top of her head.
In my thesis I call this the "recipe approach," because it's about listing features (squishy), while Krishnamurthy's system (like mine, but I don't have a drawing
) is about defining/mapping boundaries (less squishy).
But whatever. The rest of the essay focuses on how community news blogs react to traumatic events: the example here is Metafilter's reaction to 9/11. Since it's so hard to track down a copy, here's an important (underlined in the original) nugget from the conclusion:
While the quantity and frequency of communication go up, the style of communication does not change too much. (12)
I've added an expanded cite
to the discourse history. I don't see any influential theorists that far back in the timeline who aren't
also prominent metabloggers; Krishnamurthy's essay might be the first academic one on blogging to attract much (scholarly) attention.
JCMC and Winer's Weblogs
Tuesday, December 12
Linked to the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication
on every page, because they publish a lot of blog articles and let everyone read them. An excellent resource.
I also added another article, Dave Winer's "What Makes a Weblog a Weblog?
Is it just me, or are his old Weblogs.com articles "The History of Weblogs" and "What are Weblogs" prettymuch identical? I mean, that's OK, and I could be wrong since this is before my metablogger phase and the old "A History of Weblogs" article is prettymuch impossible to access ("Access denied," though I used to be able to link to it before), but why link to two so very similar articles at the end of "What Makes a Weblog a Weblog?"
The Wayback Machine
has given me some dates for the articles he cites, which was helpful, but it's also confused me tremendously. Whatever.
The year was 2003
Monday, December 11
New addition: Lindahl, Charlie, and Elise Blount. "Weblogs: simplifying web publishing
." Meh, nothing you don't already know there. It's 2006.
Notable: this article is one of many early blogosphere studies articles (or maybe that's all in my head) in which websites like Robot Wisdom and Rebecca's Pocket aren't cited as sources, though they're used as sources in the text. I'd like to think we have a more enlightened attitude toward the web as a source of scholarship these days. Right?
The Google Scholar count was wrong, so I bumped the Lindahl article off of the "Top 20 Most-Cited
" and moved Dave Winer's May 2003(?) post "What Makes a Weblog a Weblog?
" temporarily back onto the list.
I'm sorry, I am a little bit addicted to watching the citation horserace.
The bursty evolution of my swollen fingers
Sunday, December 10
Finally finished the Discourse History expanded-and-hyperlinked cite for "On the Bursty Evolution of Blogspace
." The major discourse articles I haven't gotten to are nowhere near as oft-cited.
I was definitely right in thinking that there was a whole other discourse community here: for the most part, these was very little overlap between the technology types who cite this article (Japan is huge here: kudos to all those theorists who added English titles and abstracts to their articles) and the kind of researcher who's citing people like reigning queen of the blog theorists
The tech stuff is over my head, but there's enough plain language to make Kumar et al.'s article worth a look. At the very least, they've got the data to substantiate the common perception of a post-Blogger flowering, and in this case, if I understand them right, they're not just talking about users but of an increase in interlinking.
How you can help (and Blogger Beta)
Friday, December 8
If you have a blog article or updated "cited by" information to add to Dan's Metablog, or if you're a theorist/writer/author/metablogger with a better article access link for me, email me at ourboldhero [at] mailhaven [dot] com. Or comment anywhere, I'll see it.
I can't believe I've never said that before. My mom used to tell me that if I didn't encourage user-participation, the big bad Web 2.0
would come and eat me.
Yes, don't worry, I'm still minding the site. I'm just trying to work updates into my regular schedule.
Today, I've rolled over all of my sites to the wondrous (but still awfully confusing) Blogger Beta. Finally, tags! I'm adding them to the Discourse History
section, where they were sorely needed. Though I haven't a clue how to format them yet.
Sunday, July 30
Graduated, etc., so there's been quite a bit going on recently. My access to scholarly articles is now severely limited.
There won't be any updates to this or any Dan's Metablog page for at least a month; by then I should know what I'm doing.
Blogosphere vs. Blogspace
Wednesday, June 7
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.
Bridging the Gap: Not so bad
Wednesday, May 31
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 " (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.
Alles Wird Gut