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February 23, 2011 / katextuality

The Consciousness of the Contemporary Person. A Review of Aimée Morrison’s “Blogs and Blogging: Text and Practice”.

In this article, Morrison seeks to enlighten both a knowing and unknowing readership on the very broad subject of blogging. She provides an extremely cohesive and brief history of the weblog or “blog” and an insightful overview of it’s everchanging role as an alternate medium of citizen journalism. Morrison feels no need to envelope her speech in technical jargon or to complicate her sentences. This made for a very comfortable and unintimidating read and helped me to easily define for myself what exactly I believe a blog to be.

Morrison argues the salability of the blog, why it has become such a popular phenomenon, and why statistically most of us will now turn to it over a form of traditional media. Within the print media, writers are limited by cost and a very two dimensional form of communication. The blog offers a multi-dimensional and multi-faceted way of communicating both fact and opinion through the form of hyper-links, images, video and audio. All of these features make writing and reading a blog more enjoyable, and overall, a more informative form of personal media. There is almost no aspect of a blog which is not customisable for its creator or it’s target audience.

Morrison makes absolutely sure to back all of her information up with statistical data. This data also acts to confirm the sheer popularity and growth of the cleverly named “blogosphere” within the last few years. She continually refers to research carried out by Herring et al (2005) and other studies that have purposely been held to help map and understand this relatively new medium of  writing.

It is also important to congratulate Morrison on the fact that she provides us with quite an unbiassed outlook on blogs despite her obvious enthusiasm towards the subject. Morrison highlights the fact that in this “blogosphere” there is absolutely no guarantee that the blogger knows  a lot about which they speak. The content of a blog is not always factual, in fact more than often, it is not. This is often grounds for attack on the blog. Its lack of both censure and editorship deems it an easy target to be accused of lower standards than the general print media. Morrison then introduced an idea which I can confirm I had never heard of before. The “Blog Carnival”. This is a type of site which almost acts like a magazine and where the blogs are treated like articles. They have some level of editorship and annnotation. Upon research prompted by this article, I discovered that bloggers can also be asked by a carnival to prepare a piece on a certain topic for a certain deadline to be overviewed by the “host” and then are rewarded by internet traffic depending whether the host gives the piece a good review or not.

The power of blogs no doubt lies in their immediacy as Morisson states, but she also briefly mentions how there may already be too many new blogs daily in circulation. The mere idea that a blog is created per second is mind-blowing but Morrison speculates that this may have a bad effect on blogging as a genre. I must admit that I certainly do not agree with the writer on this matter. I imagine the blogosphere to be a world who’s existance depends heavily on literary freedom and to remove this aspect would be to destroy it’s true genre. Although it is important to note that material is often used within blogs without any attention being paid to copyright laws, the ethical matter seems to be less prominent than the success the “Weblog” has achieved over the last decade and Morrison has done an excellent job in accurately portraying this picture of  successful digital scholarship.

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