Title: The Discourse of Blogs and Wikis
Series Title: Continuum Discourse Series
Publication Year: 2009
Publisher: Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd
Book URL: http://www.continuumbooks.com/books/detail.aspx?BookId=132398&SearchType=Basic
Editor: Greg Myers
Hardback: ISBN: 9781847064134 Pages: 192 Price: U.S. $ 150.00
Hardback: ISBN: 9781847064134 Pages: 192 Price: U.K. £ 75.00
Paperback: ISBN: 9781847064141 Pages: 192 Price: U.K. £ 24.99
Paperback: ISBN: 9781847064141 Pages: 192 Price: U.S. $ 44.99
Blogs and Wikis have not been with us for long, but have made a huge impact
on society. Wikipedia is the best known exemplar of the wiki, a
collaborative site that leads to a single text claimed by no-one; blogs, or
web-logs, have exploded into the mainstream through novelisations, film
adaptations and have gathered huge followings. Blogs and wikis also serve
to provide a coherent basis for a discourse analysis of specific web
What makes these forms distinctive as genres, and what ramifications does
the technology have on the language? Myers looks at how blogs and wikis:
*allow for easier than ever publication
*can claim to challenge institutional hierarchies
*provide alternate perspectives on events
*challenge demarcations between the personal and the public
*construct new communities and more
Drawing on a wide range of popular blogs and wikis, the book works
alongside an author blog – http://thelanguageofblogs.typepad.com/ – that
contains regularly updated links, references and a glossary. An essential
textbook for upper level undergraduates on linguistics and language studies
courses, it elucidates, informs and offers insights into a major new type
of discourse. This coursebook includes a companion website for student and
it’s the blog on “the language of blogs” which appears to be a very good resource, with a lot of links to recent work on blog research, other blogs related to online research, and posts of relevance to our own interest. i think i might need to comment on some of those posts….
Cooper, S. D. 2006: Watching the watchdog: Bloggers as the fifth estate. Spokane: Marquette Books.
Levinson, P. 2009: New new media. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
O’Neil, M. 2009: Cyberchiefs: Autonomy and authority in online tribes. London & New York: Pluto Press.
Rettburg, J. W. 2008: Blogging. Cambridge & Malden: Polity Press.
I’ve recently read these four books dealing with different aspects of the web 2.0 world, the common thread through all of them being that they each either touch on or concentrate on the place of blogging in the current netspace. It’s difficult to compare them in terms of content and reliability, because they each have something to offer in terms of content, however my own point of view and personal areas of interest render at least two of them worthy of steering the gentle reader well clear of.
It is these two which I will deal with first.
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over on the list, susoz posted a comment piece on the perceptions we have of social networking sites
some excerpts appear below, and i’ve inserted one or two comments on the piece as well – the highlighting in bold is mine.
When we consider social media and everyday life, then, we need first to understand that technologies are primarily social. Sometimes, successful ones will be pictured in the mind’s eye long before the tool is trialled.
Many of the erroneous assumptions that underpin the polarised claims about social networking – that is, it will either be the cyber-utopian saviour of the world or it will bring about the ruin of all good things – stem from an inability to see how socially and culturally embedded this domain is.
Researchers have analyzed the dynamics of how blogs become popular. There are essentially two measures of this: popularity through citations, as well as popularity through affiliation (i.e. blogroll). The basic conclusion from studies of the structure of blogs is that while it takes time for a blog to become popular through blogrolls, permalinks can boost popularity more quickly, and are perhaps more indicative of popularity and authority than blogrolls, since they denote that people are actually reading the blog’s content and deem it valuable or noteworthy in specific cases.
The blogdex project was launched by researchers in the MIT Media Lab to crawl the Web and gather data from thousands of blogs in order to investigate their social properties. It gathered this information for over 4 years, and autonomously tracked the most contagious information spreading in the blog community, ranking it by recency and popularity. It can therefore be considered the first instantiation of a memetracker. The project is no longer active, but a similar function is now served by tailrank.com.
Blogs are given rankings by Technorati based on the number of incoming links and Alexa Internet based on the Web hits of Alexa Toolbar users. In August 2006, Technorati found that the most linked-to blog on the internet was that of Chinese actress Xu Jinglei. Chinese media Xinhua reported that this blog received more than 50 million page views, claiming it to be the most popular blog in the world. Technorati rated Boing Boing to be the most-read group-written blog.
How popular are the following blogs? Examine how much participation each engenders. Put the URL in google and see how much each is mentioned at that ‘root’ URL.
Plug this into your browser and gauge results and authority to blogs:
Technorati: Top 100 Most Popular Blogs (Speaking of Technoratio, Netdynam.org’s blog has achieved an authority rating of 2, and a rank 1,154,896.)
Selection of blogs to investigate under the fold
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Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest
By DOUGLAS QUENQUA
Published: June 5, 2009 New York Times
Gist of article is: supply of blogs outstrips demand. Most bloggers give up their blogging project. Quite possible an active blog will have no readership.
According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.
Richard Jalichandra, chief executive of Technorati, said that at any given time there are 7 million to 10 million active blogs on the Internet, but “it’s probably between 50,000 and 100,000 blogs that are generating most of the page views.” He added, “There’s a joke within the blogging community that most blogs have an audience of one.”
I’ve pointed colleagues here, and, over years, to usability Jakob Nielsen’s useit.com. Nielsen is the most prominent usability guru. Although, with the web having developed from its Mosaic days to encompass all sorts of functionality that wasn’t in play when Nielsen first started pondering usability, it is the case today that usability isn’t centered on any one set of singular principles.
How to make a web site that satisfies its own producers’ goals and the various goals of many types of users? Even without particularizing types (or varieties of) of users, it can be valuable to sort users by differentiating their generic objectives. These reflect the goals a user seeks to satisfy, in effect, when he or she is at the web page and when “in” their user experience of being at the web page for some purpose.
In other words, irrespective of the style of user’s use, there are the goals behind, or constituting his or her drive to realize specific ends via use.
From this, and as a matter of preliminary design, the focal points of user drivers may be identified in advance. For some web sites, the presumptive focal points may be several, for others the focal points may be many. At the extremes, a web page could provide a single piece of content, provide no other user options, or, by contrast, a web page could provide an overwhelming amount of options. Options tend to grow along with the growth of variety of content.
Usability issues also grow along with the increase in focal points and options. The over-arching issue is: how to bring order and user programming (or guidance,) to bear on optimizing usability.
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