This page looks at some other blogging genres.
It covers -
Development of a typology of blogging genres is perhaps
best left to an enthusiastic postgrad (and googling indicates
that several are hard at work on a neo-foucauldian analysis
with the requisite genuflection to Lyotard or Chakravarti
Thomas Wrede's 2003 Weblogs as a transformational
technology for higher education & academic research
in discussing narrative forms of weblog posts refers to
the MeroLog ("Identify the intellectual components
of a given topic"), the ResoLog ("Seek resolution
between disparate opinions") and MemeSmear ("Track
an idea and show how the language around the issue evolves
and changes from one idea to another").
Wrede went on to suggest a taxonomy based on content -
- Log things offline (children, books, asphalt, trees,
- Regularly document links related to racial prejudice,
whether black or white or other. Alternatively: RapeLog,
- Atheists vs. Christians.
- Create a characters for each political party/movement.
Let them argue.
- Link to critical texts and provide historical critical
contexts for the thinking in those texts. Challenge
their accuracy and bias.
- For every cultural activity, find a corresponding
scientific way to interpret it.
- Remark on the activities of corporations. Show the
social and political precedents for their actions, and
- Read a large group of the classics. Abstract your
knowledge into a 20-page text.
- Create a very angry man or woman and have them write
extensively about their opinions.
- Identify the rhetorical constructs beneath the links
you post. If you link to a news article, examine the
writer's biases and use of language. Point out fallacies.
Define a system of thinking.
page instead offers comments on some genres and their
reception. Another perspective is offered by the 2004
Bridging the Gap: A Genre Analysis of Weblogs
by Susan Herring, Lois Scheidt, Sabrina Bonus & Elijah
Overall we would suggest that the outstanding successes
are attributable to individual skill rather than genre.
In most cases the best blogs have been written by people
who would have been just as successful penning an OpEd,
doing a piece to camera or writing an article in a journal.
Often they have indeed been successful in those formats:
blogging is an extension of existing media engagement
rather than a new departure.
Successful corporate blogging - whether for communication
across an organisation of with that organisation's contacts
- is reflective of the organisation's culture. Those in
which innovation flows freely are most likely to develop
effective institutional blogs but are arguably the least
likely to need them.
Uptake among technical communities has been similarly
uneven. Although statistics are uncertain our quick survey
at the beginning of 2004 suggested that blogs by librarians
outnumber those of engineers and architects by over one
hundred to one.
Much of the technical blogging has involved publication
for a narrow audience rather than a general readership,
eg librarians writing for librarians, metadata enthusiasts
for others of their ilk, foes of ICANN for the like-minded.
That might lead some observers to question claims about
blogging as an engine of public discourse. It has also
built on traditions in particular technical communities
of using electronic bulletin boards and print newsletters
for solicitation of information, delivery of advice and
For many readers the attraction of some specialist blogs
seems to that the author -
a position of influence within a professional body or
institution, with the blog providing an aperture into
an often opaque entity (eg Robert Shaw's ITU Blog)
known to other members of the community or has the status
of an elder statesperson
an engaging style
on information from a wider/richer personal network
than that of many readers (eg Peter Suber's FOS blog)
able to assess and interpret statements made by other
members of the community
Patrick, whose enthusiasm for enterprise blogging was
highlighted on the preceding page of this profile, comments
a way to energize the expertise from the bottom—in
other words, to allow people who want to share, who
are good at sharing, who know who the experts are, who
talk to the experts or who may, in fact, be one of those
experts, to participate more fully. We all know somebody
in our organization who knows everything that's going
on. "Just ask Sally. She'll know." There's
always a Sally, and those are the people who become
the bloggers. And such people write a blog about, say,
customer relationship management, and they're taking
the time to find the experts and the links to leverage,
to magnify what they're writing about. And from those
links people can be led to information and see things
in a context they might not have considered before.
People won't go to the company intranet to search for
information. Instead, they'll look in blogs see what
people they trust and respect have to say. The company
intranet simply doesn't have that kind of credibility,
nor ever will at many companies. Further, blogs aren't
old, like an HTML document that's been there since 1997.
Instead, blogs are very likely to be something that
interests [the blogger] greatly. Bloggers are writing
all the time about what's current in various contexts
and subject categories. Blogs are off-the-cuff, candid,
real - and now.
kids - from Nemo to Emo
Blogging among the under-20s spans the continuum from
Nemo (pre-teen burblings about cute little fish) to emo,
angst-ridden teens letting it all hang out.
Emily Nussbaum in the New York Times commented
in 2004 that for many bloggers
between healthy candor and ''too much information''
are in flux and that so many find themselves helplessly
confessing, as if a generation were given a massive
technological truth serum.
A result of all this self-chronicling is that the private
experience of adolescence - a period traditionally marked
by seizures of self-consciousness and personal confessions
wrapped in layers and hidden in a sock drawer - has
been made public. Peer into an online journal, and you
find the operatic texture of teenage life with its fits
of romantic misery, quick-change moods and sardonic
inside jokes. Gossip spreads like poison. Diary writers
compete for attention, then fret when they get it. And
everything parents fear is true. (For one thing, their
children view them as stupid and insane, with terrible
angst, however painful, however inevitable, is perhaps
less of a concern than youthful inexperience with concerns
such as harassment, defamation and long-term accessibility.
Rhodri Marsden questioned
the 'it's my blog and I'll cry if i want to' trend among
some older bloggers, commenting that
find confessional-type entries a little difficult to
stomach. You're having all manner of stuff revealed
to you - personal foibles, health problems, sexual inadequacies
- when you barely know these people. I've seen people
announce on their blog that they've dumped their fellow-blogger
boyfriend. And then proceed, a week later, to blog about
the new love of their life. And then blog a request
to their boyfriend not to be "such a dick".
And all in public. You can't help feeling that a phone
call between the relevant parties would have been a
better course of action. It certainly doesn't make for
very comfortable reading.
can also bite you, after the requisite 15 nano-seconds
of fame. US senatorial aide Jessica Cutler for example
was fired in 2004 over the "unacceptable use of Senate
computers" in blogging her personal life, notably
what the UK Independent characterised as "her
racy love life with up to six different partners",
with the claim that
of my living expenses are thankfully subsidised by a
few generous older gentlemen. I'm sure I am not the
only one who makes money on the side this way: how can
anybody live on $25,000 a year?"
is of course more than the earning of most of the world's
population, although they don't blog or live in Washington
One attempt to get to grips with female bloggers who apparently
aren't dependent on the kindness of strangers is Lois
Scheidt's 2004 paper
Addressing the Unseen: The Audience Envisioned for
Adolescent Diary Weblogs.
She might have been reading a namesake's entry -
don't know why i post blogs... seriously. i've always
thought they were kinda gay when people wrote about
themselves and tried to get attention and what not.
i'm posting cause i'm bored.... and its 10:50pm and
i've got nowhere to go, noone i really wanna see, and
honestly... i'm a pussy and don't really wanna go out
and do whatever all night and have to wake up at 5am
to go to conditioning so i guess i'm making a right
choice for once.
about the under-fives (aka mommy blogs) has emerged since
2002, with the New York Times sniffing in 2005
the generation that begat reality television it seems
that there is not a tale from the crib (no matter how
mundane or scatological) that is unworthy of narration.
... While it is impossible to know if the reader of
Good Housekeeping circa 1955 would have been
recording her children's squabbles on www.myperfectchild.com,
had the internet arrived half a century earlier, it
is hard to imagine her going head to head with Ben MacNeil,
who has chronicled his year-and-a-half-old daughter's
every nap, bottle feeding and diaper change (3,379,
at last check) on the Trixie Update (trixieupdate.com).
Today's parents - older, more established and socialized
to voicing their emotions - may be uniquely equipped
to document their children's' lives, but what they seem
most likely to complain and marvel about is their own.
The baby blog in many cases is an online shrine to parental
Ayelet Waldman worried
(why worry in private when you can share via a confessional
article in Salon) about
a compulsive need to open the tattered edges of my emotional
raincoat and expose the nasty parts beneath. But at
what cost to my kids?
.... I blogged daily, chronicling everything from what
my youngest son ate for dinner (one spaghetti noodle,
one pat of butter, and all the green, blue and pink
frosting off a very large cupcake), to the Supreme Court's
dramatic shift on sentencing guidelines, to the various
side effects of the medications I take for my bipolar
disorder. As soon as I read something interesting, as
soon as I heard something moving, as soon as one of
my children said something funny, I posted to my blog.
daughter shouted at her father, "You like being
mean to us; you're nothing but a hatred machine."
Half an hour later, it was in print online. The children
are not allowed to read my blog -- they are still young
enough that I can monitor their computer use with relative
ease. ... there will surely come a day when they will
Google themselves, find my blog and both be furious
with me for having stolen their lives and humiliated
at the extent to which I have laid open my own.
The latest genre appears to be confblogs, ie blogs that
Typically they feature comments - often in real time -
about presentations at conferences, with some of the more
zealous confbloggers posting full or partial transcripts
of presentations and panel discussions. In some instances
audiences at conferences have been reading comments posted
by wireless while the particular
session is underway.
The genre does pose some questions, including authorisation
by conference organisers and speakers (some of whom expressly
prohibit capture of slides or recording of speeches).
an authorial tool or PR opportunity?
In one of our unkinder assessments of blogging we suggested
that some bloggers were writing with an eye to repackaging
the online text as a print-format book.
Others have used their blogs as a mechanism to solicit
input. Dan Gillmor for example posted
is a draft of Chapter 6 of my upcoming book,
"Making the News."
My editors and I are most interested in your immediate
What's missing -- that is, a topic or perfect anecdote
that absolutely has to be included.
More important, what's wrong. If there's a factual error
I want to fix it before the book is published.
And, of course, we want to get rid of any cringe-inducing
McKenzie Wark, a practitioner of the higher obscurantism,
similarly encouraged readers to participate in an experiment
with the Institute for the Future of the Book
see what happens when authors and readers are brought
into conversation over an evolving text.
observer commented that
by the Wikipedia encyclopedia
which allows readers to add to and correct its entries,
Wark lets readers comment on his latest book, GAM3R
7H30RY, as he is writing and revising it. When the
book is "finished," it will be conventionally
presumably receive the requisite genuflections from post-modernists
wowed by the oh-so-cute title.
The Public Relations Society of America was on the ball
to land your clients in the right blog at the right
time in order to reap the benefits of their highly receptive
The most important thing a publicist can do before pitching
a blogger is to carefully read his or her blog. Unlike
beat reporters at typical news outlets, bloggers are
extremely idiosyncratic in choice of subject matter
and slant. In order to begin a conversation with one
- and it should be viewed as a conversation, rather
than a pitch - it is vital that you are well-acquainted
with the interests of the blogger. Many of them still
consider their sites to be personal forums for their
views and perspectives, and are wary of corporate or
Reviewer Adam Kirsch cautioned in 2007 about reception
of what have been tagged as 'litblogs' or 'book blogs'
bloggers have also brought another, less salutary influence
to bear on literary culture: a powerful resentment.
Often isolated and inexperienced, usually longing to
break into print themselves, bloggers — even the
influential bloggers who are courted by publishers —
tend to consider themselves disenfranchised. As a result,
they are naturally ready to see ethical violations and
conspiracies everywhere in the literary world. As anyone
who reads literary blogs can attest, hell hath no fury
like a blogger scorned. And the scorn is reciprocated:
Professional writers usually assume that those who can,
do, while those who can't, blog.
In fact, despite what the bloggers themselves believe,
the future of literary culture does not lie with blogs
— or at least, it shouldn't. The blog form, that
miscellany of observations, opinions, and links, is
not well-suited to writing about literature, and it
is no coincidence that there is no literary blogger
with the audience and influence of the top political
bloggers. For one thing, literature is not news the
way politics is news — it doesn't offer multiple
events every day for the blogger to comment on. For
another, bitesized commentary, which is all the blog
form allows, is next to useless when it comes to talking
about books. Literary criticism is only worth having
if it at least strives to be literary in its own right,
with a scope, complexity, and authority that no blogger
I know even wants to achieve. The only useful part of
most book blogs, in fact, are the links to long-form
essays and articles by professional writers, usually
from print journals.
debt blogs and addictions
In 2007 the New York Times reported on "dozens"
of debt blogs "that have sprung up in recent years
taking advantage of Internet anonymity to reveal to strangers
fiscal intimacies the authors might not tell their closest
other debt bloggers, Tricia believes the exposure gives
her the discipline to reduce her debt. "I think
about this blog every time I'm in the store and something
that I don't need catches my eye", she told readers
last week. "Look what you all have done to me!"
A decade after the Internet became a public stage for
revelations from the bedroom, it is now peering into
the really private stuff: personal finance.
The blogs open a homey and sometimes shockingly candid
window on the day-to-day finances of American households
in a time of rising debt, failing mortgages and financial
from the problematical nature of much 'anonymity' online
and concerns highlighted here,
one might be skeptical about the narcissism that impels
people to undress on a global stage in the guise of 'therapy'
or self-discipline. There is much to be said for keeping
some travails in a desk drawer, rather than on Oprah,
Geraldo or a blog.
Henry Mackenzie's 1771 The Man of Feeling sensibly
questioned such revelation as
confession of a person to himself instead of the priest
— generally gets absolution too easily.
A reader of this page accordingly asked where will it
end? Blogs by serial killers, wannabe urban cannibals,
burglars and terrorists?
One perspective is Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability
In An Uncertain Age (London: Routledge 2003) by Frank
Furedi. Presumably people will come to claim that they
are 'addicted' to blogging.
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