Friday, November 04, 2005

blogs in the news

A recent survey (covered in a number of news sources, see USA Today version here) makes the ground-breaking observation that teenagers use blogs not as a public forum so much as a social tool.  This comes as no surprise to me, as I began blogging in this manner a number of years ago.  Such is the advantage of being my age I suppose.  I know about teen life because it wasn’t so long ago I was one (if a nerdy and not particularly popular one).  If only I knew this kind of material was noteworthy. I really need to start publishing this stuff someplace other than my blog with it’s ~15 faithful readers, because it seems that the news thinks these observations are interesting.

I think what is most interesting about this new information, though, is the ubiquity of teen blogs.  When I started keeping a xanga about 4 years ago there were only a few people I knew who kept blogs.  I thought it was a little bit nerdy and kept it low-key (although I will admit that, like most writers, I have delusions of grandeur and huge audiences from time to time).  Having an online presence was unusual and probably geeky at the time.  Now, college freshman are weird who DON’T have online identities in xanga or facebook or myspace or something.  Online society is an integral part of young society, and this has changed in a matter of only a few years.

This presents a problem for new media scholarship (which I have been considering): how do you make any meaningful generalizations that will not be obsolete by the time they go through a review process and arrive in published form?  I think there are things that remain the same, but the internet changes at such a quick pace, it seems there are always new examples and new challenges to any theory of online communication.

7 comments:

Katherine said...

Thanks for posting this, Bethany. I've been thinking sort of metablogically lately, as my blog plays such a different role in my life now that I am done with school for now. Since I'm in the isolated situation of pastoral ministry, I don't have a lot of opportunities to make in-person friends (at least I'd like to think it's because of my situation, and not because I'm a social nincompoop). My blog friends- particularly those I've made through the RevGalBlogPals circle of fellow female ministers- have become much more important.

Still not a replacement for real life friends, but I'll keep my self-pity to a low rumble here. :-)

I continue to really appreciate your thoughts on the nature of blogging. Hope your grad studies are going well.

Jacqui said...

bethany,

i know this has nothing to do with your post, but since you are the queen of blogging, i thought maybe you could help me with mine a little. ryan and i want to know how to add a photo to our profile, as well as how to edit the links on the sidebar and the instructions from blogger are just not working for me. any thoughts?

Dave said...

You want to know what is scary about bloggin these days. Employeers are now googling applicants to see what they can find, and a few people have been fired b/c their boss googled them and found out things about their workers through their blog.

I think this is why i set up my blog through my fake name...

Bob K said...

Re Dave's comment - that's why it is important to know that anything in a blog is in a public place, something I've tried to make sure my kids knew as soon as they started. As tempting as it is to use it as a place to vent and to diary your blog is not a good place to do that.

Brooks Lampe said...

So Beth, are we "teen" bloggers with slightly less adolescent "delusiions of granduer"?

bethany said...

Brooks - I would say no, because we're in our twenties. Blogging means something different to us than it does to people who are 16 or 18 right now. Although I'm primarily interested in a discussion with my small coterie of readers, I also view a blog as a public forum, not a center for social exchange. I think that's the distinction between teen blogs and "adult" blogs.

Bob K said...

As I'm looking at teen blogs ... by which I mean young college and high school ... I see a lot of personal conversations on a pair of blogs - so you have to look from one to the other to read the conversation - which often makes no sense to an outsider anyway. Here's a concept - email.