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 – 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