Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blogging as Social Action

Miller, C. R., & Shepherd, D. (2009). Blogging as social action: A genre analysis of the weblog. In C. Miller (Ed.). Norton book of composition studies (pp. 1450-1473). New York: Norton.

I read this article recently and enjoyed it very much. It has a very unique take on genre and brings up many interesting connection I have not thought about before. Hope you like it
"Why did blogging catch on so quickly and so widely? What motivates someone to begin--and continue--a blog? What audience(s)  do bloggers address? Who actually reads blogs and why? In short, what rhetorical work do blogs perform--and for whom? And how do blogs perform this work? What features and elements make the blog recognizable and functional?...To answer these questions, we examine blogs available on major hosting sites, bogs that have been subject of particular attention, and the evaluative criteria used within blogging communities. In our analysis, we characterize the cultural kairos in which blogs arose and developed rhetorical power. We attempt to establish the central tendencies and range of variation of discourse that is identified as blogs and examine their genetically recognized substance, form, and rhetorical action. We explore the ancestral genres that offer rhetorical precedents and patterns for blogs. And we speculate about the recurrent rhetorical exigence that has brought together motivations, forms, and audiences to create  and sustain the blog as genre." (p. 1451)
This article made me think about my own motivations for blogging. I started writing because I was feeling lonely and I didn't have someone I could talk to about the things I put on this blog. I was hoping to find people like me so that we could discuss about our common interests. I do not know if there was some hidden voyeurism involved in my decision as Miller and Shepherd suggest. I do not write about too personal things and most of my entries are about the things that I read. I think my primary motivation is intellectual but who knows. I just wanted to find people that are interested in the things I'm interested in. However, I do not think I succeeded in that. You may be thinking, then why do you continue blogging. I think I continue mainly because I'm stubborn and I didn't give up hope yet. I still hope that someday this blog will be something more than a monologue. Second, I think I want to document what I read for future purposes, for myself. Third, I like writing, exploring my ideas, externalizing my thinking. In other words, blogging is a mediational tool for me. Of course, I could just save these on my computer instead of putting them online. But as I have told you, I still have hope to find other people. Even if this blog is not a conversation yet, I feel connected nevertheless.
After all, I'm not looking for thousands of people. I will be thrilled if I find five people or five people find me. I need this blog for my intellectual survival. It helps me both intellectually (it is my extended cognition) and emotionally (I feel less lonely). It keeps me sane, it keeps me happy. That's why I blog, or at least this is why I think I blog...


  1. omg! I was looking up the source for this article that we used in class and the fourth link was yours! how cool is that! (and you gave me the info i needed!!!) THANKS:)

  2. Ha ha that IS cool. The funny thing is you were the one who introduced this article to me. It's all about karma I guess ^_^