MDIA5003 Blogosphere

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WEEK 4: THE BLOGOSPHERE Ekdale, Brian, Kang Namkoong, Timothy KF Fung and David D Perlmutter (2010) ‘Why blog? (then and now): exploring the motivations for blogging by popular American political bloggers’, New Media and Society, 12(2):217-234. Presented by Kimberly Lennard

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Week 4 MDIA5003 Class Presentation The Blogosphere

Transcript of MDIA5003 Blogosphere

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Ekdale, Brian, Kang Namkoong, Timothy KF Fung and David D Perlmutter (2010)

‘Why blog? (then and now): exploring the motivations for blogging by popular American political bloggers’,

New Media and Society, 12(2):217-234.

Presented by Kimberly Lennard

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Blogs that I like:'s_Blog

Adam Hills Stand up:

Adam Hill’s show blog:

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Reading overview: The Ekdale et al. (2010) article is on a study they conducted about

what motivates American Political Bloggers to blog. In 2006 surveyed 66 top American political bloggers to analyze their

motivations for blogging very little research available about the widely read political bloggers.

Cases where Bloggers were instrumental:

(1) in 2002 resignation of Trent Lott as Senate Minority Leader

(2) Exposed a forged memo used in a 2004 CBS News report about President George W. Bush’s National Guard service


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What is a

blog? Ekdale et al. (2010) says “academic literature

emphasizes the structural components of blogs, characterizing a blog as a web page consisting of a series of entries, or posts, listed in reverse-chronological order.”

Boyd (2006) adds that early coverage used the metaphor of online diaries or journals to define blogs.

She argues it limited the public’s idea of blogs and dismissed bloggers who understand it journalistic activity.

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How blogs were created

Ekdale et al. (2010) says blogs have been around since the early days of the world wide web but grew dramatically after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks because bloggers wanted to:

- to express their feelings about uncertain times- search for information unavailable in mainstream

media.- eventually turned their attention more generally to

American domestic and foreign policy issues- political elites started to adopt bloggers into their

political campaigns

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Blogs as news source

Johnson and Kaye (2004) blog readers perceive blogs as a more credible source of news than any other medium.

Ekdale et al.(2010) says there’s two main reasons:

1) Often cover issues in greater depth than traditional media

2) Present complex issues in a way that is understandable to readers

Additionally: Blogs are form of narrative Reflects bloggers own perspective

which leaves interpretation to the readers

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The blogosphere (Ekdale et al 2010)

Bloggers themselves: - Do not subscribe to journalistic norms- Writing usually grounded in strong ideological assumptions- Increase number of bloggers and opinions “led to a fractured


People naturally divide into ideological camps

Readership patterns are diverse as most readers search for blogs that reflect own opinion

94 per cent of respondents who read political blogs only for one side.

Political blogs may only reach a small audience already in agreement with its view point.

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Motivations and Behaviours

“Cognitive psychologists assert that an individual’s behavior is influenced by both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations (Calder and Staw, 1975).

Intrinsic motivations: activity is inherently interesting, enjoyable and satisfying.

Extrinsic motivations: the pressures or rewards in achieving outcomes that come from outside the individual.

(Ekdale et al. 2010)

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Why bloggers blog Nardi et al. (2004b, In Ekdale et al. 2010 ) identify five motivational

factors for blogging:

1) documenting one’s life

2) providing commentary and opinions

3) expressing deeply felt emotions

4) articulating ideas through writing

5) forming and maintaining community forums.

Jung et al. (Apr 2012 ) PsycINFOComputers in Human Behavior

Impression management Voyeuristic surveillance Social comparison Perceived anonymity and social support online Belonging, loneliness, and subjective well-being

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Lenhart and Fox (July 19, 2006) Bloggers survey 

“The main reasons for keeping a blog are creative expression and sharing personal experiences,”

84% blog as hobby 55% blog under a pseudonym, with 46% with own name. 52% for themselves and 32% for their audience. 72% look online for news or information about politics; by

contrast, just 58% of all internet users do so. 45% of bloggers prefer news from sources that do not have a

particular political point of view 24% of bloggers prefer political news from sources that challenge

their viewpoint; 18% choose to use sources that share their political viewpoint.

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Blogs in Chinese Political LifeHassid online article 28 FEB 2012

“Despite censorship, Chinese bloggers routinely uncover corruption, help solve social problems, and even pressure state officials to change policy.”

More than 200 million blogs in China surged in popularity in recent years. China has the largest community of bloggers in the world Chinese internet users either challenge or reinforce state

power critical in exposing and popularizing official and

corporate misdeeds data collection from blogs is significantly easier than

from either bulletin boards or microblogs, both of which often have restricted access

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Why political bloggers blog (Ekdale et al. 2010)

In his study of non-‘A-list’ political bloggers, Wallsten (2005) found bloggers were primarily driven by two motivations:

1) self-expression on political issues

2) to influence the distribution of social goods and social values

Also found political bloggers:

• higher sense of community collective efficacy• better informed about local and larger political problems• belong to more formal social networks and are more likely to deliberate

• Bloggers’ awareness of their readers can have an impact on what they chose to blog about and what identity they present to their audience (Nardi et al., 2004a).

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Ekdale et al. (2010) survey:

Invited 154 American political bloggers in 2006, which 66 completed (42.9% response rate).

Sample included 46 men and 16 women (4 unknown).

The median age 44.4 years with the oldest 66 and the youngest 18.

Most experienced started blogging in January 1998, while the newest started in May 2006.

  42.6 percent made more than US$100,000 a year

31.5 percent made less than US$40,000.

52.6 percent described most posts be as ‘liberal’ while the remainder described their posts as ‘conservative’.

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Class Activity

Rate your motivations for blogging

(1 being most important and 10 being least important)

1) ‘to critique main stream media’,

2) ‘to influence mainstream media’

3) ‘to provide an alternative perspective to the mainstream media’

4) ‘to help society’

5) ‘to influence public opinion’

6) ‘to help your political party or cause’

7) ‘to critique political opponents,

8) ‘to serve as a political watch dog’

9) ‘to inform people about the most relevant information on topics of interest’

10) ‘to inform people about the most recent information on topics of interest’

Imagine you are a political blogger:

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Results: initially driven by intrinsic motivations and later increasingly by extrinsic

motivations. these bloggers were most significantly motivated by the desire to let off

steam, organize their thoughts and express their ideas when they first began blogging.

Strongest motivators were:

1: ‘to provide an alter native perspective to the mainstream media’ 2:‘to inform people about the most relevant information on topics of interest’ 3: ‘to influence public opinion’

Weakest motivators were:

1: ‘to influence mainstream media’ 2: ‘to critique your political opponents’ 3: ‘to help your political party or cause’