Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Essay, Blogging @merica

My assignment for com340z was to find a blog that I was interested in and then participate in it. I chose a blog called The Movie Blog. I watch a lot of movies and I would like to get into the entertainment business one day, so this is something I thought I could relate to. On The Movie Blog there is a list of articles that deal with the latest news in the film business. This usually includes movies, actors, directors, producers, and many other topics like these. The only thing you need to be able to blog on this site is a username and an e-mail address.

I want to relate my blogging experience on The Movie Blog to something that I have studied in my com340z class. I chose the chapter titled “The Blogs in Society” in Aaron Barlow’s book, Blogging @merica. In the summary that I previously wrote I spoke about two perspectives that Barlow mentioned in this chapter. From my experience with The Movie Blog I see a little of both of these perspectives showing through. The first being that blogging is basically useless and is not even relevant in the real world, and the second being that the blogging community is a real world, and maybe even more real than the one we live in.

I recently wrote an essay on my previous blogging experience, which consisted of me following a blog and analyzing what I was witnessing. The difference between the last project and this one is that this time I was actually involved in the blogging. I got to post my own ideas and really get a good feel on how blogging worked. In Barlow’s book he mentions that studying blogging and being involved in blogging are two different things. I have to agree with him for the most part. Some of the things that I noticed before, when I was just observing the blogs, still held true when I was participating. But I have to admit I would never have understood it the way I do now if I had not participated. I would say that holds true for many other situations. You never really know about something until you try it yourself.

The first prospective I want to talk about states that blogging is basically useless and is not even relevant in the real world. I see how people can say something like this. On The Movie Blog I really didn’t know who anyone was. I feel like I got to know them a little, and I know the longer I stayed on the more I could figure out, but I still don’t really know them. Even if I was friends with some of the people outside of the blog, there were still people who just stumbled across the blog, or that only visited it once in awhile. My point is that in a blog like the one I was evolved in, there is a sense that nothing is what it seems. People can be whoever they want on this blog, and more importantly say whatever they want, and this can make the whole interaction feel kind of false. Barlow mentions this feeling of false interaction, and then explains how people can use this anonymous interaction to spoil relevant conversation. I did experience comments like these. Although none of them were malicious like the one’s Barlow spoke about, I can see how people’s false statements and rumors could be passed around as the truth very easily on this blog.

The other side of this argument states that the blogging community is necessary and is a real world, and maybe even more real than the one we live in. Barlow brings up the fact that much of blogging is done between people who would not be considered gatekeepers, and this is a good way for our world to grow. Gatekeepers choose the types of information that gets let out into the public. When we can find a way around gatekeepers, we get to talk about things that we would have never heard about. Now with my blog it is not as detrimental that we make our way through gatekeepers then say, talking about things in government that the government doesn’t want us to talk about, but it still is important. My blog is about the entertainment business, but it is still good that we can talk about the issues that we want to. Some of the topics we talked about weren’t mainstream, but were things I really found interesting. Even know the articles that we talked about were picked by people, I still didn’t feel like they were forced topics, and like I said they weren’t really things I had heard about anywhere else.

In the end I think that both sides of these arguments have good points. I have to side with the fact that blogging is important. I think anything that brings people together is important. I also do agree that there is a large amount of blogging that is useless and downright annoying, but if I had to chose to get ride of blogging or keep it based on what I have learned so far, I would diffidently choose to keep it. This is a very important public sphere and is a rather new phenomenon and may prove to be much more important than we could ever imagine.

Barlow, Aaron. (2008). Blogging America. Westport, CT: Praeger

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