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Blogging; Digital Media and Society Series

Blogging; Digital Media and Society Series by Jill Walker Rettberg successfully attempts to provide readers with an understanding of blogs and bloggers and how this medium, and/or genre, has and continues to change and impact the way meaningful communication is viewed in forms beyond traditional media.  Rettberg offers a brief but comprehensive overview of the history, meaning, styles, exploitations, adaptations, and future of blogging.  As the line between journalists and bloggers blurred yet legal implications did not, defining the term “blog”, which was coined in 1999 by Peter Merholz, and “blogger” has become a more pressing issue. None the less, it is a daunting task because of their ever adapting nature and various participants opinions.

Through Rettberg’s work we gain a greater understanding of the purpose of blogs; as participatory forms of media that can function as a social network, a forum for self exploration, a type of journalism that may give firsthand experience, insight, or opinions, or a means of advertising and marketing, to name a few.  Blogs are created to be read by others even if those others are just a small group, fifteen perhaps, of family, friends, and acquaintances.   However, unlike diaries that can be burned or shredded blogs may leave a more lasting trace which can be problematic when usually separate networks, such as conservative in-laws and a wild social life, collide.

Unlike traditional media, blogs encourage direct participation by viewers through comments made to the page creating a sort of dialogue between producer and consumer and perhaps skewing the definition of each.  The blog’s creator can respond to the comments depending on their whim. The information covered on the blog is also entirely up to the creator there are no fact checkers or editors as in traditional media. Interestingly, many people say that they read blogs because they think that they are more credible perhaps this is due to the blogger’s obviously stated opinion or because most blogs are not meant to provide journalistic style information but a subjective personal view of that information.  However reader’s supposed acceptance of little “t” truth does not extend to fake blogs that attempt to trick the reader into becoming emotionally invested in an online personae only to find out that they were not real.  Rettberg concludes with a look at the future of blogging which she states will continue to evolve and change our understanding of media participation and communication.

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