LIBR 200 – Information Seeking Behavior of Blog Writers
Bloggers have a unique space in the ether, especially those creating original literary content. Not only are they usually regular consumers of media and social networks (as evident in their tech savvy) but they are invested in connecting with others who share their interests and craft. When I first started this blog it was part of my Honors Thesis for Undergrad. I was a regular user of other social media, but thought that blogging would be wildly different; that the people who used this media would be looking for something else. What that was, I couldn’t have told you, but I was three years deep in my studies and I assumed I could just study bloggers like any other subject. I was mistaken.
As I learned over the years, blogging is much like other means of social media. Because it can be tailored to the user, it becomes a lovely blend of extemporaneous conversations, announcements, soap boxing and testimonials tied up with a heavy dose of self-awareness. But what makes it most important are the small boxes at the bottom of (most) posts: like, comment, share. Unlike the voting role these take on other media like Facebook and Twitter, bloggers tend to get involved, writing comments and liking to show support rather than acknowledge. Bloggers I have seen seem to seek connection, reaffirmation that others are writing similar pieces and where to find community information like journals or publication opportunities.
We are generally casual users, posting and browsing others to see what else is happening in our field around us. I estimate (though more research is needed of course) that most of us encounter information rather than directly seeking it. According to Erdelez (1999) information can come in the form of “unexpected discovery” which is useful now, later or in the past. Because blogging is so connected via hyperlinks, participation and tags, information can come from any direction and most of us follow a chain of interest with no necessary goal simply because it is entertaining. I am reminded of the site StumbleUpon.com which depowered much of my college time. I don’t stumble anymore, but I do thumb through other writer blogs all the time, which is pretty close.
A little dated, I reviewed the 2011 Technorati State of the Blogosphere, which informed my original project but now helps inform my digital life. I no longer try to pin-down the bloggers I connect with; that would be presumptuous. Instead I participate in the same current of information that drew me in the first place. Writer Bloggers are a fun bunch!
We seek to connect, share work, take the temperature of the larger literary world and remind ourselves why we take the time to write for the public in the first place. On a personal level, this blog has been the best part of my poetry experience, writing for people, even if I don’t know you, has made writing meaningful.
(Emilee Wirshing for LIBR 200 kids!)