This week’s readings focused on blogging.
Li, Jamy, and Mark Chignell. “Birds of a feather: How personality influences blog writing and reading.” International Journal of Human – Computer Studies, vol. 68, Elsevier Ltd, LONDON, 2010..doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2010.04.001.
Academic Blogging as New Literacy
Davies and Merchant write about blogging as a social practice. Blogs are online journals that are updated on a regular basis. Blogging and blogging technology allows people to publish content immediately that can be available to a much larger reading audience than was possible before these technologies existed. Blogs are “characterized by a tendency to blend the personal with the public.”
Bloggers may have a specific audience they are writing to, which includes readers they know personally, both online and offline. But the blogger is aware that their writing can potentially reach a much broader audience. With the knowledge of a potentially broader audience, bloggers run the risk of miscommunication, misunderstanding and even run the risk of causing offense.
Bloggers often move beyond the text and concentrate more on design and communication by focusing on colors, images, sound and video. They are concerned with more than the content of the message. They focus on the look and feel. Their skills can stretch beyond the writing of text to include sound and video editing, and graphic design.
Blogs allow readers to comment, which provides an avenue for discussion. Readers can participate in the conversation in a way that was impossible before.
Davies and Merchant refer to the term “publishing the self” which includes issues about “performing online identities, [their] sensitivities as bloggers to impression formation and [their] decisions about what to post and what not to post.” I interpret this as publishing the part of my identity I want you to see – the public identity. This may be the same or different than my private identity. Bloggers take into consideration that their private lives are now available for public viewing
Birds of a Feather
Li and Chignell write about how personality influences blog writing and reading. With the fast development of blogs as a social networking tool, the number of people expressing themselves via blogging has greatly increased. They question the extent to which compatibility of personality influences online interaction. They conducted two studies. The first study included “eight participants who wrote blogs in two genres (personal diaries and commentaries) and rated their own personalities.” The second study included 12 participants who judged the personality of authors as “implied in the blog texts created in the first study.” They also participated in a personality questionnaire and rated their attraction to the blog author.
Based on the studies, Li and Chignell report that the blog readers were able to consistently judge the personality of the writers based solely on the text. Readers were more attracted to writers with similar personalities – birds of a feather flock together. Based on the results, they suggest that personality is an important determinant and further research on how people communicate with blogs will be relevant to social network analysis and marketing.