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 offers readers and bloggers alike the chance to explore, analyse and speculate the happenings of everyday life. There are a vast range of blogging categories used to communicate and address a range of interest groups. Ezra Kleine states ‘Blogs are fun’ (Lovink: Blogging,the Nihilist impulse 2007:23), and for some bloggers that is their exact intention. Rather than picking one blog to explore this idea i have chosen four. I believe there are two types of blogs, exploratory and informative. They can be broken into two types within that.
In exploratory blogs ‘the sharing of thoughts and opinions'(Lovink 2007:28) can be seen in;
- futile blogs resembling journals with little intellectual value and ranting blogs of life that are used to ‘manage’ (Lovink 2007:self indulgent reflections of their diarised lives;
- and interest blogs, which aim to enlighten and excite the reader with ideas and comments surrounding a theme.
Then there are informative blogs ‘to produce and distribute news’ (Flew 2008:166);
There is no doubt that blogging has seen the rise of the ‘citizen journalist'(Flew 2008:143) who can prove themselves as an information delivery portal to a global audience. However, the statement Lovink raises the blog as a resource used for the most part, to ‘manage the self'(Lovink 2007:28) and all of the indulgences and interests which pertain to it. If it is true that ‘blog readers indulge in exhibitionists insights and can’t get enough of it'(Lovink 2007:28) then how can the blogger be recognised as having any form of writing credibility?
The only way i see to dignify a blogger, is to recognise their efforts outside of their online diary with an unbiased recounting of an event that demonstrates their neutrality, for example newspaper blogs and photographers blogs. Problem is demonstrating journalistic credibility is not the point, majority of blogging is all about personal reflection and interpretation. That is the beauty of it. While blogging journalists and aspiring writers are free from the Frankfurt School’s ‘political economy theory’ where corporation ideals are reflected in publications, and where all other opinion and inference is censored. This idea that ‘the media will serve the economic and political interests of whoever owns and controls them’ (O’Shaughnessy & Stadler 2008) often inhibits the dissemination of information, therefor, blogging creates an accessible means of their knowledge projection.
In Lovinks chapter Snake Eyes and Boxcars it states that ‘blog content is usually emotional in some way, supportive and often melodramatic, but that cannot be said of the techno-networking act itself'(Lovink 2007:31). The blogs themselves are therefor accepted as a tool to manage the self, but the act of blogging (and its software) is simultaneously acknowledged as a successful means of content creation and propagation.
While blogs create communities of futile ramblings, constructive reviews, specified entertainment and regular updates, they simultaneously create a place free of restriction and social, political or economic constructions that dictate publication. The idea of a blog is not necessarily to inform or transmit fact and news, it is an expression, a ‘conversation'(Weinberger:Lovink 2007:30)
between one or many that manage the interests of both the self and any ‘other'(Lovink 2007:30) who reads it.
Flew, T 2008, “Citizen Journalism” in New Media: An Introduction, Oxford University Press: Melbourne.
Lovink, Geert. “Blogging, The Nihilist Impulse”, in Zero Comments:Blogging and Critical Internet Culture, (2007) London: Routledge.
O’Shaughnessy, Michael & Stadler, Jane, 2008, ‘Media & Society’ (fourth edition), Oxford University Press, Australia.