Thursday 24 June 2010

Latest research on blogs

Axel Bruns has been blogging about some of the latest research on blogging at the ICA conference in Singapore.

1. The Effects of Reading Political Blogs

"The next paper in this ICA 2010 session is by Aaron Veenstra, whose interest is in the cognitive processing of blog-based information...Blog readers also do seem to have a particular understanding of how the media work (this is somewhat different from political sophistication - more a kind of media sophistication); what also needs to be examined are the effects of starting to read blogs as compared to increasing use."

2. Political Participation by Active and Passive Blog Users

"...there was a positive relationship between an active use of blogs and political participation on- and offline; there was no such correlation for passive use. (Younger people were especially active online; wealthier users offline.) Active use was also related to greater engagement with weak ties, disagreeing views, and better reasoning strategies." (Research by Sandra Hsu).

3. Personal Bloggers' Perceptions of their Audiences

"Audience relationships as expressed by the bloggers could be categorised as self-directed (writing is a goal in itself), narrowcast (speaking to known friends), dialogic (speaking with known friends), and telelogic (speaking to or with anyone reading). Self-directed bloggers in particular seemed somewhat disinterested in responses, and even felt annoyed that they would now have to respond to their readers."

I found this research by David Brake most interesting. He surveyed and interviewed 150 UK-based personal bloggers and his findings provide a useful counterweight to anybody that over-emphasises the 'interactive' nature of blogging.

The bloggers he spoke to were much less concerned with how effective their communication with their audience had been and often assumed that nobody would be reading their posts.

It appears that these bloggers use a blog as a diary whereby the blogger has some consciousness that others might be reading their posts but that this fact is incidental to the personal gain obtained from the process of writing a blog.


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