Morrison: On Blogging

Aimeé Morrison’s essay on blogging called “Blogs and Blogging: Text and Practice” located here is a very easy and enjoyable read for anyone interested in learning about the definitions, history and use of blogs and blogging. Beginning with a general overview and definition of blogging, Morrison then goes into a broader history and definition of the blog, from how it began, “rooted in computing science and engineering, among whose professionals this form first appeared, in the mid-1990s” to how it grew in popularity through the 90’s as a way for author’s to write their “travels over the internet.”

She goes on to state that by 2005, 62% of surveyed internet users could not define a blog, so she gives her own definition, listing in decreasing order of prominence and importance the characteristics of this writing genre; the discrete post, date, reverse chronological order of posts, hyperlinking, archiving, referencing, comments, and browsable categories. She then goes on to give a fuller detail to these characteristics which separate the blog from other digital writing genres.

Morrison then goes on to show just how useful blogging and bloggers can be, not just to specific readers of topics, but for political action as well, bringing in as an example the 2004 election campaign which was closely watched and talked about in the blogsphere. As well as politically, Morrison goes on to talk about the increase in blogging academically, specifically among students.

Morrison goes on to talk about the different genres of blogging, which was interesting as most assume blogs to be personal, diary-like posts. However, Morrison goes on to identify many genres of blogging, including, but not limited to; filter blogs, personal journal, notebook blogs, online diaries etc. She also goes on to talk about how blogs are categorized by their authors and topics as well. She clearly shows the range of variety and versatility of blogs, and goes on to talk about them in more detail.

Due to the increase of blogging Morrison mentions throughout, she tackles the daunting task of reading blogs in her section “Reading Blogs”. Due to the amount of blogs on the internet after this surge in popularity, there has been an increase in advertising blogs and blog searching, she mentions a tool Google created to help search blogs, as well as newspapers which have “blogwatch” sections. The list of ways to find blogs on topics readers and bloggers themselves are interested in it diverse, and Morrison goes into a lot of detail on the subject.

As mentioned, Morrison talks about the increase of bloggers in the late 90’s, and in her section “Writing” she talks about the bloggers themselves, from the original twenty-three in 1997, to the wave of bloggers after 1999. She talks about the hardships that a lot of these new wave of bloggers had to go through, specifically with regards to their anonymity, prompting the Electronic Frontier Foundation to be founded. As Morrison puts it, the EFF “[acts] to increase the liberty and security of netizens on a variety of fronts since 1990, offers an online guide to secure blogging, complete with a step-by-step guide to better anonymization as well as an outline of legal precedent and advice on “how to blog without getting fired”.” This is not just for personal recreational bloggers, but, as Morrison notes, for academic bloggers as well.

Morrison concludes that blogging has many attractions, especially for scholars, as man “offer information of use to the literary studies community, providing annotated and focused lists of resources and offering opportunities for rich interaction among blog-readers and blog-writers.” Blogs are not just attractive for sharing information and talking about their areas of study and research, but also as an area for study. As she puts it “the field of research on, and practice in, blogging is just opening up.”

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