LIBR 200: Blogging Community Information Seeking Behavior

Blogging Community Information Seeking Behavior

One 20 page paper later, the blogging community has been top of mind form me over the last (expedited) semester, and I have a few but simple thoughts on how bloggers search and how information sources like libraries can meet them halfway.

Bloggers Depend on Technology

Obviously, without the internet, a blogger would be a writer in the more traditional sense. We may all still be keeping a diary. But in a more general sense, bloggers depend on tools and the usability of interfaces to facilitate easy exchange of ideas. The harder a tool, the less likely it will be used. We seem to take that for granted, but blog platforms operate on the same Darwinian line of evolution; some just don’t survive. The bloggers of those failed platforms either pick up and leave or they too will perish.

Bloggers Seek Out Peers

There are 10,000 sites that might be helpful, but just as people find friends to give them recommendations, bloggers seek out other bloggers in an attempt to cut the bias and gather insight that is more honest than run of the mill advertisements. Bloggers can easily follow and share posts to make for a thriving community in terms of communication and participation.

Blogs are Knowledge Facilitators

Not only are bloggers content creators by definition, but the content they share is knowledge and makes information sharing as simple as giving a perspective. Their first hand experiences anchor their insights in reality, humanizing their content and allowing readers and other bloggers to join in their conversations. Bloggers are a source. Their wisdom rivals studies done in labs. They create and we read.

Librarians & Bloggers

Librarians and information professionals can reach bloggers in the traditional means–of course– but they also must consider the impact o meeting bloggers where they choose to dwell on the internet. By having a blog of their own, libraries and librarians can become a part of blogger communities, sharing relevant information and forging valuable bonds. Bloggers in their own space can choose to follow libraries via RSS or email lists and join their information with their daily intake of information. In this way they become a source as well as a peer, emphasizing the benevolence of their intention to share knowledge and meeting bloggers they way bloggers prefer to interact.
These are the tidbits I have learned about bloggers and their information seeking behaviors. None of this is particularly earch-shattering but it was interesting to know my assumptions are in some way founded. Much more (recent) research needs to be done on blogs to see how this changes with new technology, but there are lots of new studies in the past few years making blogs a valid point of interest for information professionals to keep an eye on.
Keep Writing and Build your Communities!
–ECW
Here are the sources I reviewed for the paper I wrote! Feel free to do some of your own research and make your own assessment of bloggers (like yourselves!)

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LIBR 200: Bloggers and Emerging Technologies

Bloggers & Emerging Technology: Adaptability is King

Bloggers are, often by design, a tech savvy group. They tend to be more involved in the changing digital scene than their readers, because changes affect them more acutely than other creative modes. Bloggers depend on technology to reach their audiences, so as a result they are more in tune with the tweaks and upgrades their platform offers in order to improve their interface.

This means also that bloggers must anticipate change and evolve as needed or be left behind. Unlike other media, which moves slowly toward emerging technology, bloggers are at the mercy of WordPress, Blogger and Tumblr to make decisions for them on functionality–which may or may not be helpful in the short-term.

Bloggers must also leverage outside emerging technologies to reach readers on separate platforms. Bloggers are excellent at cross branding because often they are users of both technologies (whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn).

Bloggers also know their followers are adapting to outside changes like the shift to mobile and meet them halfway by making their blogs mobile-friendly and their urls Twitter-small.

Below is an infographic of emerging technologies that challenge bloggers everyday. Bloggers juggle apps, cross-platform management, solving their own IT issues, and changes in search algorithms. Not every blogger is especially tech inclined. In fact, many blogs show their age with their functionality and design, depending on the interest of the blogger to keep up with technology. If a blogger is disinterested in looking fresh, they can still offer important content, though often books and blogs are judged by their cover.

Keep Writing

–ECW

LIBR 200: Issues with Special Groups in the Blogger Community

Special Populations and Multiculturalism in Blogging Communities

Blogging is the perfect place to build a community of diverse and specialized participants. Not only does it afford equal access to users across the globe, giving little to no preference to time zones and post times, but it is easily available for free from a multitude of platforms as long as the blogger is not overly invested in a personal domain or too many customizable options.

Of course certain bloggers who belong to special groups will seek out each other in order to form sub groupings. This can be done in a number of ways including searching blog content and tagging posts to be aligned with specific industries and subjects. In addition other third party sites post blog lists allowing a blogger or reader to search items like “fashion blogs” or “poetry blogs” and find a fast few sites that will link them to the larger community.

Multiculturalism is both present and invisible in the blogging community. In some ways a blogger can become a member of a culture based community, delving into the intricacies of regionalism and history. Or they could float on the main stream, claiming a more generic name and an avatar as a personal identity. A blogger enjoys the option of being involved or the anonymity of relinquishing any specific limitations other communities may rest upon. Where in reality there is a threat of prejudice, outside assumptions and the physical constraints of who we actually are, bloggers can become someone else, take on new identities and emphasize small slices of their lives.

Blogs fascinate me because they are the ideal compromise of who we are and who we want to be. They connect us with people we would never meet and bridge gaps that would otherwise be impossible to cover without deep pockets. We can group up with fellow enthusiasts and cultural participants or keep our shades on, it’s up to the blogger.Of course, this is mostly observation, since not too much has been written concerning special populations in blogs other than information professionals themselves.

With the power to comment, like, converse, share and reblog, multicultural groups in blogs are a thriving pulse in the web at large. These days, if someone is looking to connect with fellow fans, share drafts of their latest novel or even plan a revolution (no joke on that one) blogs are the ideal place for special populations and multicultural participants to form strong bonds and lasting relationships.

Keep Writing

–ECW

LIBR 202 Information Communities – Ethics of Blog Writer

Ethics of Writer Bloggers

Ethics are a tricky thing on the internet. Some feel the internet is a volatile place, like the wild wild west of the world wide web, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Most days no one is in charge, and we post and comment as we please. On Blogs, where the content creator is also the editor, decider and enforcer, there is not much that goes on without their knowing.

Other days, the internet is not so neatly organized. Content creators on third party platforms, especially message boards and community sharing sites are subject to moderators, or mods, who make judgement calls on what is and is not appropriate for the site. They patrol from page to page looking for language and content that offends or violates human rights. They also may decide a post is irrelevant, which poses questions about freedoms of speech and self expression on the web. Bloggers are in many ways relieved from the eye of the mods, but must make the same judgement calls on their comments. Are people allowed to comment without approval? Who makes the final call on a shared space blog? What constitutes inappropriate? Are negative comments permitted to stay?

Of course ethics extend far beyond the mere decision to delete a nasty troll.

Content creators wrestle with plagiarism, borrowing and apprenticing work of others in order to improve their craft.

Plagairism, the most black & white of the three involves a willful copying of other’s work without fair credit. Copy and Paste makes this especially tempting, but most of us are in the clear of this ethical breach. However, posting images without credit (which I have done on occasion) may be considered unethical, if they don’t link back to the original source…

Borrowing and apprenticing are forms of copying that are less recognized and fall within the preverbal grey area. Borrowing is the act of taking content and elaborating upon it. Perhaps this means quoting another article; maybe you leave a trail with a link. This is more a matter of length. How much can someone copy before it is plagiarizing? Is it fair to host someone else’s content on your space without asking? Are there ramifications if you misrepresent?

Apprenticing, which is something I did in undergrad, is the close study and emulating of another’s work. Not copying in a traditional sense, but mirroring, practicing, sometimes repeating what has already been created by another to improve one’s craft. This level is in some ways the most dangerous in an ethical sense. Where does your work begin and there’s end? How do you determine what is too similar? What happens when it gets published? Do you mention that you studied their work closely in a footnote?

Bloggers are as uninhibited as anyone on the internet, which makes them culpable for the ethical issues they face every time they post. Are your words really your own? Do you represent yourself and others fairly? Is your conduct in line with the spirit of the community?

Sometimes having no rules makes it even harder to play fair.

Thanks for reading!

Keep Writing!

–ECW

LIBR 200: Let’s Get Technical – Information Sources for Writer Bloggers

Information Sources for Writer Bloggers (and bloggers in general)

Blogging as a writing form implies that there is a semi public space which to place one’s thoughts. Unlike social networks (like Facebook) or micro-share sites (like Twitter or Instagram), the space must offer customable manipulation and personality to be considered one’s own territory.

For bloggers, the information service is the space. It offers the platform to share content and also the means to measure and quantify subsequent views and participation via likes and comments.

The information service is beyond the blogger. We are able to control the face but not the organs of the operation. The site itself, rife with buggy upgrades and unpredictable changes is the compromise we make as bloggers. Of course we could go and pay for a website, a design and the metrics behind our followers, but many of us would rather save the time, money and hassle that comes with being the true sole owner. So in a way we rent an information service, which may be free in theory but comes with adds, alterations and the occasional spam.

For this post I looked into two sources describing the options for a blogger looking to join and create content. Though neither of these articles were explicitly for Writer Bloggers—which may be too small and unstudied to write a term paper on after all—the theories would help a new blogger make an informed decision when settling on a platform.

The first article was a peer-reviewed journal on the differences between Blogger, WordPress and some other Pseudoblogs (though still viable options) to consider when joining the blogosphere (Lackey & LeMasney, 2007). While the content was thorough, and in some places too much so, the facts were a whopping 8 years behind. The peer-review process takes time and much of the up-to-date current need-it-now information is caught up in the cogs. Though much of the content was relevant, many things have upgraded in the past few years.

Their conclusion that Blogger is best for the basic user and WordPress is preferred for “anything even remotely out of the ordinary” still felt true, though the evidence was dated (Lackey & LeMasney, 2007).

The second article, posted by Craig Grannel on a website called CreativeBloq.com was a detailed but brief website post on 10 ideal blogging platforms and their differences. This listing was as up to date as anyone could ask for, having been published just last month—May 2015. Exposition was coupled by inviting images of blog layouts and a short but poignant suggestion of who the platform would best support. They listed WordPress at the top and Blogger at number three. The information had less tutorial and very little criticism. Though it fell short of the technical aspect of the other forty page article, the information was clear and simple.

On the fly, someone looking to break into blogging would likely launch a quick query and find this link rather than sift through a dry scientific exposé.

While the content of the two examples of blogger information services were oriented toward  a similar audience, the content made by bloggers for bloggers was much more approachable. It seems fitting, being that bloggers are content creators themselves, that they would first seek the advice of their own content.

Hope that opened your eyes a little to the not so secret world of blogs.

Keep Writing!

–ECW

Read On:

Lackie, R. J., & LeMasney, J. W. (2007). Blogger, WorldPress.com, and their pseudoblog alternatives: a comparison of focus, features, and feel. Journal Of Library Administration, 46(3/4), 139-180. doi:10.1300/J111v46n03_11

Grannel, C. (2015). The 10 best blogging platforms available for free. Creative Bloq. Retrieved from: http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/best-blogging-platforms-121413634

LIBR 200 – Information Seeking Behavior of Blog Writers

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.

Thanks!

Keep Writing

–ECW

(Emilee Wirshing for LIBR 200 kids!)

Read on:

State of the Blogosphere – http://technorati.com/state-of-the-blogosphere-2011/

Erdelez, S. (1999). Information encountering: It’s more than just bumping into information. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science 25(3). Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/bult.118

LIBR 200: Blog-Writer Information Community

Information Community: Self Published Blog Writers & Poets

This week we are choosing the groups we will be delving into for our large assignment in LIBR 200. In a definition compiled by Fisher and Durance in Encyclopedia of community: From the village to the virtual world, Information Communities are characterized by their use of information and technology to bridge gaps in communities.

I am interested in looking into the Information Community of writers (poets and fiction specifically) who make their work available for free on blogging sites like WordPress (like my own) and Blogger.

Information Communities are:

collaborative groups which immerse themselves in technology to share content, break boundaries, congregate around a need and facilitate connection to a larger community of people participating in the information they care about. Content is linked and made relevant through hypertext and shared widely via opt-in subscriptions.

According to Fisher and Durance (2003) these groups have not been studied specifically because the data is new and the social aspect of technology now is just getting to the point where we can easily see the connectivity between groups, especially those that are geographically challenged. In their introduction they name the internet maybe “an information community’s only communication medium” siting chats and mailing lists as a means to connect with others of a shared interest. Today the chat rooms are comments and the mailing lists are email subscriptions, but the blog-writer community thrives with technology as its only connector.

I have not met many of you and yet we are connected by a shared interest in writing (in my case poetry) and the connectivity is our mini websites (blogs) which keep us updated on the broader picture (tagged posts) that apply to our needs. We are part of a living breathing network of writers who look to technology to broaden our scope of the world.

I know without this website I would still be filling notebooks and sharing a few lines at a time. My work may not be anthology-worthy yet but it exists as part of a larger conversation (a literary conversation with centuries of content in the making just now being digitizes and shared among interested groups) and therefore what we all share is valuable and worthy of existing in the ether.

I am very excited to look into this group (of which I am a contributing member!) and find the webbing between all of us!

Keep Writing!

–ECW

(or for LIBR 200, Emilee Wirshing)

Read On:

Fisher, K., & Durrance, J. (2003). Information communities. In K. Christensen, & D. Levinson (Eds.), Encyclopedia of community: From the village to the virtual world. (pp. 658-661). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.