Blogs

Michelle Chu

It is said that on December 17, 1997 the term ‘weblog’ was first used by Jorn Barger.  Over ten years later the word has been shortened to ‘blog’ and there are over a hundred million bloging sites (Wortham).  Contents of a blog are written at the writer’s discretion.  Early on blogs were a form of an online diary or journal.  Blogs evolved from daily hand written diaries to online diaries into the huge phenomenon it is today.  Its primary application was to be used as an interactive journalistic account.  This allows the writer to have public feedback from those who read the blogs.  While most blogs are written words, there are also photo blogs, music blogs, video blogs, and mircoblogging which are very short blog posts (Ringmar, 26).  A written blog can also have these features.

The term ‘blog’ has coined many other phrases such as blogger, for those who write blogs, to blogging which is the verb of blog (Ringmar, 17).  Blogs are now used by actors, doctors, politicians, and everyday Joes.  The topics of ones blog can range from one special topic such as their main interest or activism to many different genres that the blogger encounters during their daily life.  The most recent blog entry is shown on the first page while the oldest entry is on the last page (Ringmar, 17).

According to Erik Ringmar, the author of “A Blogger’s Manifesto” blogs are “…just web pages in the end, pages on the internet that individual users create and edit.” (17)  He goes on to say that blogs have been around since the internet but have not always had to label of the word ‘blog.’  The world of blogging is called a ‘blogosphere’ and the borders of that realm are still unclear.  In the simplest term blogs are written and edited on the internet by a particular writer.  Readers can interact with the writer by posting their comments and reactions.  Many find blogs to be the most honest writings because they are not policed and patrolled, except by the blogger themselves.  Online journals have been around ever since the internet but it wasn’t until these particular softwares were made that blogging became notarized.  Blogs can be found on regular web hosting sites or blog softwares, examples being Xanga and Blogspot.  More advanced bloggers often use Movable Type and WordPress (Ringmar, 18).

Not every blog has a particular focus, but those that do have certain names such as milblogs which are blogs written by soldiers.  Celeblog are focused on one or many celebrities, while an edublog is an educationally geared blog.  There are dozen of topics that a blogger can focus on.  An advocacy blog for example is a blog written to spread a certain message, political or social.  Politically based blogs have become more frequent with time (Ringmar, 25).  Many politicians use blogging as a tactic in order to stay in the touch with the people whether they are campaigning or not.  It’s an easier way to get their main points across and reaching out to younger voters who use the internet frequently (The Columbia Encyclopedia).  Although there are millions of blogs there are relatively few political based blogs known as filter blogs (Wei).

AMERICAblog was launched on April 24, 2004 by John Aravosis, according to their website.  Aravosis is the editor in chief, with help from his deputy editor Joe Sudbay.  Chris Ryan, Steven Kyle, and Naomi Seligman are all contributing bloggers.  The focus of the site is to provide “a journal of news and opinion about US politics, both domestic and foreign, from a progressive point of view.”  AMERICAblog rose to recognition when they discovered cell phone records can be bought by anyone for a price tag of less than a hundred dollars.  The site also found that Jeff Gannon, a member of the White House press was James Guckert a male escort (Main).

AMERICAblog’s tagline is “a great nation deserves the truth” and I believe the blog is doing a great job giving citizens the truth.  The blog reports on relevant news and has decades of experience in politics.  It’s a site that can be trusted.  The site states “At AMERICAblog, we don’t just link to the news, we give you an insider’s look at what’s important and why.”  This is a hundred percent agreeable.

Open Diary was created by Bruce Ableson who is a pioneer in the blog community.  According to the company’s website “Open Diary was founded on October 19, 1998, and is the oldest interactive diary community. We have hosted over five million diaries on our site in more than ten years online.”  Open Diary is said to be one of the few blogging sites that lead to the revolution of social networking software.

Perez Hilton is one of the most famous blogs which centers on celebrities.  Its tagline is ‘celebrity gossip juicy celebrity rumors Hollywood gossip blog from Perez Hilton.’  Originally named ‘page six six six’ the blog rose to fame in a matter of months and was dubbed ‘Hollywood’s Most Hated Website’.  The blog was made by Mario Armando Lavandeira Jr. whose assumes the alias Perez Hilton, a play on words from the party heiress Paris Hilton.  Hilton is accused of using his blog to out closeted homosexuals and is partly responsible for the outing of Lance Bass.  Hilton is an openly gay man and believes there was no wrong doing (Access Hollywood).

Hilton’s blog features pictures of the celebrities written in the post.  Hilton often pokes fun of celebrities by altering the pictures with funny captions and actions (Meyers).  There have been several pictures of a celebrity with a drawn on penis coming out of their mouth or white powder dribbling out of their nose (which is to make readers believe the celebrity has just done a line a cocaine).  While many readers find the blog to be entertaining, it entertains at celebrities’ expense.  Although Hilton stands by his opinion, outing a homosexual before they are ready is not appropriate and should not be done for readers and ratings.

Blogs can also double as support groups.  A great support blog is ‘Blog for a Cure- Cancer Sucks’.  On the website’s ‘about us’ it states that the blog was started by Jill on August 2006 about a year after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  The blog’s mission is “to make life a little bit easier for cancer survivors by providing a free personal web publishing service for them and continuing to develop and upgrade this service to be the best it can be for its users.”  This blog site is a great place for cancer sufferers and family members to find support and tips from those who have gone through what they are about to face.  Authors Chung and Kim published a study involving 113 respondents who proved this to be true.  This is the main reason I chose to write about this blog.

These four blogs are just a few of the millions of blogs found on internet.  Each is different in their own way but similar in that they are all blogs.  All four blogs, I have read or used even before researching the topic of blogs.  AMERICAblog is a blog I try to read daily along with Perez Hilton which I consider my guilty pleasure.  The cancer blog is something that helped me during the hardest two years of my life while my cousin was battling cancer.  Open Diary is a blog I came across while passing time on the internet and has become a popular site.  Other important blogs worth reading are The Huffington Post, Paul Krugman, Instapundit, Engadget, and TMZ.  Blogging is an easy task but bloggers do not earn money and rise to fame.  The forefront reason blogging began was to vent and express their personal opinions and views as a hobby.

The ease of blogging may be quite simple but with the rise of blogging comes serious backlash and consequences.  According to the article “Bloggers in jeopardy: recent arrests” legal action has been taken against bloggers both civilly and criminally for defamation and violating laws in their strict communist countries.  In Malaysia, bloggers are now required by law to register as a blogger due to past problems.  In Egypt two bloggers were arrested for blogging to try to raise awareness in the western countries about the lack of rights and freedoms for press and speech in Egypt (Weyman).  According to BBC News, bloggers’ safety can also become an issue because of online bullying and threats.  Blogging is a privilege from new technology, but remember to blog at your own risk.

 

Works Cited

http://www.americablog.com/p/about-us.html

http://perezhilton.com/about

http://www.blogforacure.com/frontend/pages/about.php

http://www.opendiary.com/about.asp

blog.The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2008. Encyclopedia.com. 17 Sep. 2011 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

“Bloggers in jeopardy: recent arrests.” Index on Censorship 39.4 (2010): 91-92. Communication & Mass Media Complete. EBSCO. Web. 19 Sept. 2011.

“Did Gossip Blogger Out Lance Bass?”  Access Hollwood.  July 27, 2006.  <http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/14065223>

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6499095.stm

Blood, Rebecca. “Weblogs: A History and Perspective”, Rebecca’s Pocket. 07 September 2000. 12 July 2011. <http://www.rebeccablood.net/essays/weblog_history.html”>.

Chung, Deborah, and Sujin Kim. “Blog Use Among Cancer Patients and Their Companions: Uses, Gratifications, and Predictors of Outcomes.” Conference Papers — International Communication Association (2007): 1-35. Communication & Mass Media Complete. EBSCO. Web. 18 Sept. 2011.

Main, Frank.  “Blogger Buys Presidential Canidate’s Call List.”  Chicago Suns Times.  Jan. 13, 2006 http://www.commondreams.org/headlines06/0113-08.htm

Meyers, Erin. “Walter, Louella, and Perez: A Historical Perspective on the Celebrity and Gossip in ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Media.” Conference Papers — International Communication Association (2009): 1. Communication & Mass Media Complete. EBSCO. Web. 19 Sept. 2011.

Ringmar, Erik.  A Bloggers Manifesto: Free Speech and Censorship in the Age of the Internet.  London: Anthem Press, 2007.

Wei, Lu. “Filter Blogs vs. Personal Journals: Understanding the Knowledge Production Gap on the Internet.” Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 14.3 (2009): 532-558. Communication & Mass Media Complete. EBSCO. Web. 18 Sept. 2011.

Weyman, George. “Western Journalists Report on Egyptian Bloggers.” Nieman Reports 61.2 (2007): 31-33. Communication & Mass Media Complete. EBSCO. Web. 19 Sept. 2011.

Wortham, Jenna.  “After 10 Years of Blogs, the Future’s Bighter Than Ever.”  Wired Magazine.  Dec. 17, 2007

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