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

Advertisements

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.

Theory 101: Anthologies Vs Internet

Poets!

 

I had been meaning to post 10,000 things for National Poetry Month (which is now, by the way) but I got a big stinky computer virus and fear I may need to do a factory reset on my machine (yikes!) and therefore have posted nothing! Those are my excuses, accept them as you will.

 

Nevertheless (yes, it’s one word) I am inclined to kick off this month of peppered verse with a short but fun little blurb from my long dusty thesis.

 

I wrote a thesis which was completed in 2012. It was an dazzling process, and I recommend everyone considering doing an undergrad project of that size to dive in! I was focused on mainly poetry and the changing concepts of digital/visual works as the internet became more user friendly. And of course it has, but poetry has yet to explode the way I had hoped it would.

 

I wrote that words and meaning would still be the major components of communication, but that the work we did would grow another dimension: a third visual, tactile, sonic, scented dimension that would enhance the reader experience. Like Smell-O-Vision for Shakespeare. Or something like that.

 

But more on those theories later this month (unless my laptop melts).

 

Today I want to talk a little on a concept I penned called Anthology Theory, and the teetering edge we are sitting on when it comes to poetry and poetry education. As many of us who took English Classes well know, the anthology is a book that collects the best and brightest works from a certain era or in a certain subject. It could be a collection of short stories or the works of the Victorian Era, either way, it encompasses many authors and several writing styles at the very least.

 

The anthology is use in classes that cover large areas of time, like a survey class, that would rather you buy one book instead of a dozen. They also come with cute like intros and images to help orient students in that timeframe. They are, in theory, a great tool. However, no tool is without its limitations.

 

Anthologies are a closed system. They exist within the bounds of their editors and the tone of their publisher. As a tangible entity, they cannot be changed unless a new edition is posted.

 

They are also guarded by gatekeepers: the editors and influencers who decided–based on space or preference– that they would or would not include certain works in the collection. Pound and Elliot are never cut from the Post Modernists, but there might be limited space, and we could lose some H.D. or Sitwell to make room for newer pieces.

 

As the cannon changes –yes, the cannon changes– we are left with only the most potent works, the pieces that defined the writing generation.

These are sometimes the most provocative and fresh works, but not always the best or most relatable works.

To keep with the Post Modernists, the Wasteland is a heck of a poem, but few enjoy it. It defined poetry that era, but is hard to read and a little terrible if you get through it.

Other, more delightful poems are pushed out for the real pungent stuff and as a result few people who learn poetry from an anthology actually end up liking poetry.

In my project I blended poetic/literary concepts with marketing and communication terms. Attempting to make the issues with learning from a closed system like an anthology clearer, I used this metaphor to illustrate the point.

 

You hear a knock on the door (push communication) so you open it to see who is there. It’s the raven, come to interrupt your evening. You ask him what he wants (pull communication) but his reply is always the same: Nevermore! (Anthology Theory).

 

raven

 

You can communicate with a book just as you do with people, unfortunately the book can only tell you a finite, permanent set of responses with no change as the world around the book changes. This makes books an excellent gage of the time period they were created: a perfect historical capsule. However, it fixes them in a state of decay that limits their usability. Especially when it comes to anthologies, which are meant to represent a time period in its essence but often end up representing our impression of a time period, which is a flawed biased perception.

 

The solution, of course, is the internet, which can house everything from the popular to the obscure, granting access and knowledge to those who seek it. Push communication always will exist, that’s the advertisements and pesky banners. But Pull communication and the power of the researcher to find any and everything–free of gatekeepers–is the gift of the internet.

This is especially important for poetry, as the internet gives space to the poems that are most pivotal and poems which are simply lovely without displacing one to covet another.

Finally, with the internet’s infinite space and open structure, poetry can be a iron fist and a bending writs.

 

Happy National Poetry Month
More Theory to Come!