Updated: 6/27/2005; 9:37:45 PM.


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  Saturday, January 17, 2004

  Weblogs vs. journals

There is an interesting discussion following a post by danah boyd at misbehaving Why are bloggers mostly straight white men? It's more about our biases in thinking about blogging then about anything else: what type of blog do you write? what blogs to you read? how do you find out blogger's identity? what do you call "blog"?

The last question is related to the distinction between weblogs and journals. Below is the selection of quotes by danah (as far as I know who posts behind zephoria nickname :) trying to articulate her views on the issue.  Please note that these are pieces from different comments in the discussion (and I had to do a "look at the source" trick to find permalinks :(

[link] First, i came from the journaling community as well. I'm still trying to put a finger on what is so fundamentally different about it because i can definitely feel the differences. One thing is for certain: audience. When i think about bloggers, they want to be visible and they try to get their words out. Journalers are more about recording the daily rhythms, noting what's going on for a local audience. Journaling is more about getting support; blogging is more about conversing around ideas. I do believe that they must be treated separately, even though there's a lot of gray area, simply because the intention, purpose and publicness of their activities are fundamentally different.

[link] One clear separation for me between the blogger/journal communities is the audience - who the writing is intended for. This doesn't mean that journalers don't write about ideas, but those ideas aren't directed at the public, but more towards their friends. This also doesn't mean that there aren't journalers who want the world to pay attention to them; this is the classic behavior of teenagers anyhow (and definitely gets propogated in journaling). But their construction of the public audience is quite different than the non-journaler, as is the expectation that they have from the public audience.

[link] The reason that i'm trying to tease out a distinction amongst digital daily publishers of text is because, regardless of words, there are underlying differences in what people are doing, why they are doing it and who they are doing it for. That said, it's a very huge range and thus there are definitely ideas in more personally directly posts and definitely personal rants in more publishing oriented posts. There's no clear line and the easiest separation that i've found is through the terms journal and blog. This also has to do with identification. Most LJ folks i've ever interviewed talk about writing journals, not blogging. They don't identify with the huge blogging meme. Of course, that's a generalization and there are some who do.

While there are blogs that i read because the ideas are interesting even though i don't know the author, there are very few journals that i read that i don't know the author. The content is often not relevant to me in those cases. I mean, when my friends rant about their jobs, i want to read about it, but not necessarily when the whole world does. There's a relationship difference.

The last piece has two connections to my own research:

1. I'd like to focus on "professional weblogs" in my PhD research, so I have to make a distinction as well (I thought about it for my BlogTalk paper, didn't do it and had to cope with consequences). One of the choices would be between using some kind of objective criteria in defining what a professional weblog is and simply asking participants for self-identification. The discussion above makes it clear that the results will be different.

2. Last paragraph has something to do with my thinking on blog reading in connection with weblog networking.

This post also appears on channel weblog research

  Experiences of using del.icio.us

I'm using del.icio.us for a few weeks now, but there are some changes in my bookmarking habits already:

  • I add post to del.icio.us bookmarklet to all computers I use (including adding and then deleting it at Internet cafes!)
  • I stopped sending e-mails to myself with links!!!
  • I have less "just a link" weblog posts.
  • I do not keep many things in my news aggregator just to decide what should I read them, send e-mail to myself or write "just a link" weblog post :)

I definitely like an opportunity to assign tags that emerging with my thinking. For me it works the same way for accessing my bookmarks as liveTopics for accessing my weblog, but with one important difference: it allows both my own and a community views on bookmarks and tags describing them. This is something that could be done by combining functionalities of liveTopics and k-collector in a way that allows switching between personal and community views on weblog content.

I do not know if del.icio.us will scale in time for me. Also I would love to have a better integration of it with my weblog. I'm thinking of using Radio's multiAuthorWeblogTool to get links posted to my weblog automatically via my del.icio.us RSS feed. This will make them searchable with the rest of my weblog, but still leaves the problem of integrating two sets of topics (liveTopics for weblog posts and del.icio.us tags for bookmarks).

I still hope to find time to write on linkblogs, so this reflection may be a first step...

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© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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