B) Lovink (Reader, page 222) also argues that: “No matter how much talk there is of community and mobs, the fact remains that blogs are primarily used as a tool to manage the self”.
Blogging blogging blogging!
photo by Annie Mole – Creative Commons License
Frankly, I’ve never liked blogging. Don’t get me wrong. I like writing. In fact, I love writing. But it’s just that I didn’t see the point of spending your time writing posts which, honestly, might not attract any audience AT ALL.
But I do have friends who like to blog – something I didn’t understand. However, after completing the subject, I begin to have a better understanding of what motivates the millions of bloggers to write on the web. After all, Lovink aptly summed it up: “No matter how much talk there is of community and mobs, the fact remains that blogs are primarily used as a tool to manage the self.”
Yes, while there are those who see blogging as an activity that relates to the wider community, blogging is actually employed by bloggers to ‘manage themselves’. ‘Managing themselves’ refer to ‘expressing your self’ and ‘be your PR’. Hence, instead of serving the wider community, the primary use of blogs is to act as a platform for the bloggers to express themselves.
To understand the concept, you’ve got to consider what Boyd, who has thoroughly examined the various and contradictory uses of the term ‘blog’, has to say (Ekdale et al., 2010: 221). She says that early scholarship and media coverage used the metaphor of online diaries or journals to conceptualise blogs (Ekdale et al., 2010: 221). Moreover, McCullagh says that regular readers of a blog can identify the ‘voice’ or ‘persona’ behind the posts (McCullagh, 2008: 3). Hence, over time, a blog archive read like an evolving portrait of the blogger’s interests and experiences (McCullagh, 2008: 3). Sound familiar?
photo by Irish Typepad – Creative Commons License
A similar opinion was voiced by Herring, Scheidt, Wright, and Bonus (as cited in Huang et al., 2007: 473), who say that most bloggers actually use blogs for individualistic expression and communication.
The bloggers speak:
“Yes, I think it’s a tool to manage the self because you can post anything you want and in a sense, it’s a reflection of your life,” Marcella Purnama
“I think those who write to express themselves in their blogs make them feel relieved, knowing that other people know what they are thinking about,” Wilson Chandra
My contention is not without evidence. There are some previous researches that support my argument:
– Herring et al. found that the majority of blogs were of the personal journal type: ‘in which authors report on their lives and inner thoughts and feelings’ (McCullagh, 2008: 8)
– In a study by McCullagh (2008: 9), 62.6% of the respondents said that their main reason for blogging was ‘to document their personal experiences and share them with others’ and 50.9% of them said that their main reason was ‘to express themselves creatively’.
And bloggers are concerned about their privacy too,
But, you might ask, isn’t the concept describing bloggers as vain individuals?
According to Huang et al. (2007: 475), bloggers who are motivated by self-expression are motivated to express themselves through blogging as well as to receive feedback from other people about themselves. I think Huang et al.’s argument gives a better description of bloggers’ motivation. I would say, bloggers are motivated to express themselves and to seek self-improvement.
Finally, examples of these kinds of blogs are perhaps Twitter, the Internet’s beloved mini-blogging platform. While there are those who use Twitter to get information and updates or for networking, there are those who use Twitter to express themselves, documenting what they eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I hate to point at specific Twitter accounts, but I’m sure you know what I’m trying to say.
However, after all, McCullagh’s (2008: 19) study sums it up beautifully: “Most respondents in this study described their blogs as the personal diary/journal type which indicates that blogging provides a unique opportunity for expressive privacy and furthermore allows bloggers to work out their reflexive project of the self in new ways, despite the inherent privacy risks posed by this medium.”
Ekdale, B, Kang, N, Fung, T, & Perlmutter, D 2010, ‘Why blog? (then and now): exploring the motivations for blogging by popular American political bloggers’, New Media & Society, 12, 2, pp. 217-234, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 1 June 2011.
Chun-Yao, H, Yong-Zheng, S, Hong-Xiang, L, & Shin-Shin, C 2007, ‘Bloggers’ Motivations and Behaviors: A Model’, Journal of Advertising Research, 47, 4, pp. 472-484, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 1 June 2011.
McCullagh, K 2008, ‘Blogging: self presentation and privacy’, Information & Communications Technology Law, 17, 1, pp. 3-23, Communication & Mass Media Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 1 June 2011.