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The Innerworkings of Personal Blogs, Political Blogs and Beyond

xhan's picture

Michelle Han
Literary Kinds
Paper 1-Blogging


is greater than
bLogGerRiffic! personal blogs vs. political blogs are the different??

The inner-workings of political blogs, personal blogs, and beyondddddddd
Personal blogs differ on how invitational they are with one another, they are MORE invitational than political blogs. Moreover, political blogs and personal blogs also seem to differ on their purpose and intent. While political bloggers tend to customize messages to manipulate certain responses from particular individuals, personal blogs permit and help nurture the free-exchange of ideas. In terms of feedback, it seems that both personal and political blogs do not receive many comments. However, I am not sure that this is indicative of the nature of blogs. First of all can blogs be "inviting" and "conversational" in nature without receiving hundreds of comments? To what degree is a blog "conversational" or "invitational" and how do we go about determining this? And, if blogs ARE invitational, what are the reasons these blogs do not receive as many comments?
According to Kate Thomas, an "old-fashioned" blogger believes that "the web has the potential to level the playing field and we have the opportunity to define the field". To her, it seems like blogging is a way of freeing the soul, and getting ideas across that otherwise would not be heard. Likewise Laura's blog is filled with invitational cues such as What do you want to discuss? What do you think…suggest? Any advice oh wise readers? Although there does not seem to be much feed-back on her blogs, she remains hopeful and believes that "as long as people want it to be a kind of camaraderie, comments will linger. She views herself as an outsider, and finds freedom in challenging the norm. I think in many aspects, this collides with the nature of our class, Literary Kinds.
In this class, Anne Dalke encourages students to post and comment on personal webpages in hopes that it would change and lead discussion about literature for the better. The freedom and novelty of the blog form-since there were no requirements concerning "correctness" or format-allowed students to forge new identities that enhanced our interaction with different texts and other blogs. Moreover, the class is situated so that everyone including, Anne Dalke, is sitting in a circle. This twist on a typical classroom practice changes the dynamics of class discussion and various types of academic and personal writing-is changing the ways students engage in responding to literature. For example, the "invitational-nature" of blogs such as "Geeky Mom”, Hannah’s blog and Laura's blog really make their experiences come and alive, and in that sense readers are more apt to comment and contribute in discussion. However, these blogs, although appear to be invitational in nature do not seem to be inviting much visible commentary. Perhaps, this can be attributed to the scarcity of viewers, or the perhaps the sheer lack of desire to comment, for the purposes of self-editing? Although Kate's blog is invitational in nature, she tends to "withdraw into the subject, with a "quite commitment/implicit engagement". Perhaps, some readers may feel the need to censor their comments and thus are less willing to do so.
After reviewing a number of blogs, such as TruGlobalist, BiPolarNation, and a Plague on Both Your Houses, I noticed an aspect of political blogs that they all seemed to share. These blogs remind me of that of a non-profit organization. The purpose of a nonprofit organization is to educate and inform. Volunteers work and serve without monetary gain, or immediate reward. The fruits of labors is harder to discern since the impact is more implicit. Groups come together to achieve a mission, rather than to make profit. In these blogs, I noticed that the tone and attitude seemed to strive to "call out people on their wrongs" and uncover what they believe to be the truth:"When we subscribe to the ideas of those who toil in ignorance, we become ignorant. when we accept the politics of division, we become divisive. In doing so we lose our moral credibility, and thus become purveyors of words that despair". This statement appeared on the bottom of a blog entry in the TruGlobalist. To me, this seems like a call to action, an effort to stir individuals to act upon some change. Yet, whether political bloggers are successful in their attempts to draw readers to their purpose is hard to determine. Most of the political blogs that I viewed, seemed to receive very few comments, if any. I do not know if this is due to the fact, that these blogs are not as mainstream, and thus receive fewer viewers to begin with.
However, even though, the impact of political blogs may not be immediately noticeable, political bloggers exercises subjectively assert some beliefs over others to influence the public sphere. Political actors obtain detailed profiles of readers in terms of identity and political opinion and use this information to design the messages we receive. Thus, a growing amount of the political content we see has been tailor-made for us alone. The implications of such actions can cause spread of a individual ideas, but this lack of mutual ideas, can cause a lack of mutual understanding. President Barack Obama acknowledged the emerging influence of blogging upon society by saying "if the direction of the news is all blogosphere, all opinions, with no serious fact-checking, no serious attempts to put stories in context, that what you will end up getting is people shouting at each other across the void but not a lot of mutual understanding"
Even though television is still the single most dominant medium for election news, a growing number of individuals prefer the Internet for political information. Some feel that it is easier to retrieve information, others feel that other media do not provide enough news-that they can get information not available elsewhere, and still others find that online news sources reflect their personal interests. Although the growing technological advancement of the Internet has made information MORE accessible for individuals, one can argue that the quality of information has not changed. Although it seems like we are receiving a variety of information from a multitude of sources, it is really political elites who find ways to recycle the same information over and over again. More people are sharing less. Are people aware of this deception?
After researching, I realized that political blogs and personal blogs differed in ways that i was not aware of. When I blog for class, I feel that the freedom of expressing my thoughts allows me to get the most out of my learning and lowers the emotional stakes of failing. I'm learning more about my own ideas and those of my peers and I think that there is a lot of satisfaction in this deepening level of engagement. On the other hand, I don't think the purpose of political blogs is too "free yourself", but is to try to coerce individuals to believe in a specific cause, belief, leader, etc.
To me, that is really unsettling.












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