Monday, January 28, 2013

what is blogging?

One idea for the conceptualization of 'blogging about the everyday', that I have been toying with is this idea that blogging is a fluidly distributed occupation, one that cannot be limited as a single unit of simply ‘typing up a post and hitting publish’.  I would like to use this space to further explicate my views on blogging and would like to hear more from you about this idea, whether you agree, disagree or are anywhere in between. 
One of the methods, I used in conducting this study  was ‘participant observation’ which though it sounds like an oxymoron as pointed out by many authors, for me meant that I wanted to be in the situation of blogging and be an observer while participating the activity. Seemed like a simple enough thing to do, but as it turned out not quite so.  Blogging about the everyday, after all, is an activity occurring in the cusp between the online and the offline.  When I asked a study participant, if I could observe her blogging, she seemed puzzled, and her question had me stumped, “How do you mean?” Confused, I asked her what she thought of as blogging and her answer has been germane to my understandings about blogging. For the purpose of clarity, I have paraphrased this conversation. She said ‘sometimes I could be typing in front of my computer and that is part of blogging, but as is the reflecting on what I am writing about.  Sometimes I start to type while I am at work or sometimes just as I am about to log out. I have also drafted a blog post on paper when I didn’t have the computer in front of me and I knew if I didn’t write it down, I would forget this brilliant idea I just had. And also I never pre-plan what I am going to blog about. It depends on my emotional response to a certain situation. All of these things go into my blogging and I would be unable to tease these apart if you ask me to.’  Reflecting on this, I realize that for her all of these were parts of her blogging. I think this way too, for instance, I have had a draft of this post for some time now, created in my head as it were, then a draft created in Blogger where it has remained for quite a while now and then today when I was reviewing of my data for analysis, that snapped me out of my complacency and made me publish this post after editing some more.
Obviously this blog post was not created just in front of my computer screen, but also in other spaces and places and at different times.  So I think about blogging as a fluid activity, one which interpenetrates so many spheres of life. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


As I mentioned in my previous post, readers are extremely important to bloggers. But how do readers find these blogs? When I spoke to blog readers, their reasons for reading blogs have been diverse, from the expected "My friend shared this link with me" to the not so surprising "I just stumbled on it" to the most surprising "I didn't realize this was a blog, until so much later" As a reader, put it "When I read Suruchi's blog, I feel  almost as if she is talking about me and my feelings." This idea that somebody can express our thoughts so well, is one way that readers develop a kind of connect with bloggers and so follow their blogs.Another common thing I heard from readers is what I term 'needs-based reading', meaning readers come across these blogs when they are looking for particular things, maybe a recipe, a 'diy' project or how to deal with some issue they are facing. Readers tend to critically weigh these blogs and come back to the ones that gave them the best response to their queries.
Bloggers are well aware of these various reasons and since they obviously want more readers,  they work on writing in a way that invites a reader to read. This is amply demonstrated in the vast number of cooking blogs that have a vignette leading up to the actual recipe. Also, as Roving Eye, has commented on my previous post, bloggers take a lot of steps to make sure their blogs find an audience. They will share their blog links on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking websites, write emails to their friends to tell them about their blogs while also continuing with word of mouth publicity. Blogging is all about the social in a way quite different from other activities...
More ideas, thoughts, questions???????? 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Who do we write for?

In the early days of blogging, blogs were thought of as something similar to journaling or writing a diary. These metaphors continued to be used and the general outlook towards blogging sounded suspiciously like a solitary activity, done by someone who is hunched over their computers; 'a single person leading a solitary existence'. These views have previously been questioned in the literature and the initial findings of this research make me agree with this line of questioning.
Bloggers always talk about writing for someone. As a participant told me "It was demotivating, just to think that nobody would read what I write." I find this idea of blogging as a means for creative expression, writing  so some one will read and maybe understand the blogger or find some inspiring ideas, a fascinating one.Also helping with this are tools provided by  blog hosting websites that enable bloggers to track who reads their blogs, what kind of posts are most popular and so on.
What do you think about this idea of blogging as an inherently social activity, one for connecting with an audience out there? Opinions, thoughts, ideas...??

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Taking the plunge!

My first post!! Finally, I am taking the plunge into the deep end........

This blog is where my ideas especially about my dissertation have a space to breathe, live, stay, change and survive or maybe not. My research is about blogging and while trying not to be too predictable, I don't know of a better way to learn about blogging than to start one. I am told it's like swimming, get thrown in the water and you will learn. So here is my struggling to avoid getting water into my nose post.....:)

I started this project sometime in 2011 and have been talking with bloggers and reading plenty of  blogs.That sounds like fun, doesn't it? Well, to me it definitely is, since I love to read and the people I have been talking to are so interesting and full of new ideas. For instance, one  (participant/consultant/ friend/ fellow blogger.....the semantics are kind of difficult here, since she is all of these) said that blogs are the lazy man's route to publishing and that made me think of this writer/publisher who loves to spend hours sitting in front of a computer screen typing, editing and finally gets approval not from a publication but from the people who really matter to her (friends, family and even total random strangers). The satisfaction of seeing you own work in print and knowing that somewhere somebody will come across it and read it! Fun right?
Any thoughts about this???????