Updated: 6/30/2005; 11:26:28 PM.


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  Thursday, March 25, 2004

  Weblog audience: how to you find your own?

There was a bit of interesting stuff during the afternoon session of WBC, but I was sitting on the floor without my laptop. Don't feel like reconsructing it :)

In my news aggregator I found several posts about bloggers and their audiences... I don't have much time on-line to comment in detail, but may be it will catech up with you...

Janine on Invisible effects of blogging:
Though I am -a not very active- beginner, blogging does change my life (well, some aspects of it). I have this imaginary audience in the back of my mind since I started my blog. When I read a book or paper, I do this just a bit more reflective and I articulate my ideas a bit more elaborate than before. Nobody notices, as I do this while thinking for myself. These private reflections and articulations feel good and seem even useful to me. So far, in many instances I do not take the time to write down things in a post. Maybe some day, some of those ideas appear in my weblog, maybe not.

Experienced bloggers, do you recognize above? And do you know of other invisible effects of blogging?

John on What Have I Done & Where Am I Going?:

Maybe I have been hiding my blogging frustrations, my doubts. I want to create something out of my blog, but I feel alone in my struggle, even after a year and a half of work! It seems I've learned a harsh lesson - No one out there is interested in creating a community with me. Not yet any way. I don't think I've been writing enough about all of the times I've felt ignored. That's a serious issue and something that I've been trying and trying to overcome - it's the reason I've sacrificed content on my page, it's the reason I'm always changing the appearance of my blog. Overcoming the feeling of being ignored is the greatest single motivator in my quest to improve my blog.

[...]Who wants to put the effort into writing and publishing work on a blog if no one is going to read it? I'm not writing for my own benefit, I'm not writing to hear own ideas, I'm not writing to document my studies, I'm not writing to archive my thoughts - I'm writing with the hopes of being read. But I feel like I don't have an audience. And that feels like shit.

Carla on (Negative) Weblog experiences:

[...]you want to write for someone who is interested, belong to a certain community. But who is your audience, certainly as beginner? Who wants to read my weblog? I would like to be part of "the" network, but how do you become part? One thing I understood (from our in-house expert Lilia) is that you have to link to others, so they'll find you. Is that how it works?

Janineis also wondering who to write for and about what? I found that I don't write about my big hobby (running). Why is it for my not interesting enough to write about, while it is one of my largest time-consuming activities (next to work). Is it that I don't want to share it with "the audience"? Myself, I think it would be boring to bother you with my results and pains (for that's what runners talk about: what is my time on ... (half marathon, 400 meters etc.), and my ... hurts (achilles tendons, in my case)).

I guess I'm lucky with discovering my own weblog community pretty fast, I don't remember much questions or frustrations about my audience (note to myself - check archives, may be something is there). I guess one of the reasons is that I started to write for myself and finding an audience was a surprising side-effect rather than expectation.

Anyway, I'd love to hear about your relations with your audience. Do you have one? Do you care? Is there something to be done to find people who will read you? Do you think about your audience when you write?

This post also appears on channel weblog research

  WBC04: day 2 morning

Developing bulletin board visualizations (.pdf) by Rehman Mohamed and others

Great presentation: an overview of existing visualizations of on-line discussions, own visualization and evaluation results.

  • First evaluation results: people find it useful, increased participation from lurkers and peripheral participants. Possible explanation: peripheral users tend to loose an overview of a discussion, so it’s difficult to jump in; visualizations make it easier.
  • Further research questions: "Do visualizations raise communication levels over an extended periods? Do visualizations encourage contributions from particular user groups who were previously quite?"
  • This research correlated with our knowledge mapping work. And, of course, I'm also thinking about visualizing weblog conversations…

Using FOAF to support community building, Brian Kelly (check his profile for a collection of FOAF tools)

Good "initiation" overview of FOAF and links to FOAF tools, not much new for me :) Usual concerns: why making your relations explicit, privacy and multiple identities, manual entry… (See also: Clay Shirky and danah boyd on explicit relations).

  WBC04: day 1

I didn’t take my laptop yesterday, so a quick write up of interesting stuff.

Clustering weblog communities using self-organizing maps by JJFernand0 and others (guys, is you paper online?)

The paper is about use of Kohonen maps to map weblog communities (using data from Blogalia, <200 blogs). My first observation – the algorithm wouldn't scale. JJ confirms it, suggesting that if someone wants to use it for a larger sample (e.g. weblogs "out where") they would have to pre-process weblogs to find 100-200 most linked to analyse.

Other points:

  • They talk about "stories" not "posts". I wonder why?
  • Observation: "communities are defined by 1-2 "gurus"" Question: How community changes after you released the results? – Makes me thinking about my own, "participative", research.

Internet habit and addiction in the context of a community website, Michael Mackert (see also summary by Alex)

Survey study of ~900 users of an online community. Distinction between addiction and habitual use. 7 symptoms of addiction

  • From findings: habitual users use Internet mainly for work, while addicts use it for leisure.
  • Open question: those addicted, do they miss Internet in general or specific on-line community and friends?
  • Would be interesting to study when heavy blogging (mine, for example) is addiction and when it's habitual use :)

From bus talk with Philip Laird: "hierarchical thinking" may be more natural to us then we think (during last week talks with Sebastian I got a feeling that hierarchical thinking is pretty much imposed by educational system and ways our work is organised). Example from developmental phycology: when starting in school or kindergarden kids try to recreate hyerarhical relations they experience with parents (e.g. positioning oneself comparing to others in a specific area) and then slowly learning about establishing horizontal relations. Could be interesting to look for more info on moving from hierarchical to horizontal structures and applying that to our ideas of empowering individuals…

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© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova.

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