Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Essay #4 "Blogging"

According to Webster-Merriam’s dictionary, “a Blog is defined as a web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.” With this said it can almost be seen why a number of people have decided to become a part of the madness that is the blogospehere (the blog world). A major blog monitoring service called Technorati stated these claims to be quite true when it documented more then 75 million blogs as of 2007. So with the blogospehere on the rise it is becoming clearer just why so many find this medium of communication important. Now with the blogospehere growing more and more each day it has managed to open up greater doors for the viewer. This brings us to an idea proposed by Aaron Barlow in his book Blogging @merica, were he highlights the importance of imagining the audience accurately to ensure a blog being successful. In an attempt to get to the bottom of this audience idea proposed by Barlow I have observed a blog closely for 7 days. The blog observed is called Urban Hoopla which defines itself as a blogspot for urban celebrity pop culture & fashion. These observations will hopefully give great insight into how blogs function and how important it is for a writer (blogger) to imagine the audience.

Due to their growing popularity it’s can be seen just how important blogs have become to our society. Whether people read blogs or not it’s been proven that the blogospehere is becoming a staple amongst the Internet world. The emergence of the blog has allowed for something to happen that many could have never seen coming. It has given the little people a voice to be heard without the restrictions imposed of big businesses. This new found ability to speak with no restriction and anonymity has allowed for people to really exercise their 1st amendment right (freedom of speech) to the next power. However, this freedom has also caused many to become a bit apprehensive about becoming members of the blogospehere fearing being threatened or harassed by anonymous users. On the other hand many are looking past this and seeing the blog for what it really is, a place to exchange information/opinions about various things occurring in our society on a nonrestrictive basis. The blog has also created a place for people to comment on things that is of interest to them specifically. This idea of consumers choosing what they consume is also another idea that Barlow discusses in his book. An idea that is not very common amongst other mediums like television where the consumer doesn’t have as much power.

After expressing a little about what a blog actually is and how it functions a focus can be placed on my 7 day observation within the Urban Hoopla blog. With the abundance of celebrity pictures, fashion, music maybes, news and just straight gossip Urban Hoopla has managed to capture some key elements of a typical blog. During the first couple of days on the blog I didn’t really notice anything to outrageous. However, that all changed when I noticed a post about a popular R&B singer name Jennifer Hudson whom recently lost her mother, nephew, and brother in an unfortunate brutal murder. Upon reading the comments within the post I noticed just how hurt many people were about the incident. It was interesting to see how many people were spreading their sympathy’s and well wishes to a person they never met but had been impacted through their music. This is when I realized just how important a blog can actually be, not only to the writer but to the readers/audience. I noticed how the blog inadvertently created somewhere for people to come together and share their feelings/support, almost like a community coming together. This emergence of community kind of reminded me of what Barlow expressed in his chapter The Blogs in Society from Blogging @merica. In the next few days I just looked around the blog, clicking on pictures and listening to new music. Upon my last couple of days on the blog I decided to make a comment under a post about some new music by R&B singer Beyonce. In my comment I just stated how I supported the singer and liked the snippets from her upcoming album. The next day, I checked back on the comments and noticed that people had mixed reviews about the songs. However, what was interesting was that people weren’t just saying it was good or bad they were giving some background to support their claims.

Following my observation I began to understand what Barlow meant when he stated the importance of imaging the audience accurately within the blog. The ability of this blogger to imagine their audience accurately allowed for them to engage the audience a lot better. The writer’s keen sense to decide on what was important within the hip hop community further catapulted this websites popularity. Anybody could throw together a website about hip hop culture but it takes talent to decide what would be most important to that specific audience. In realizing this talent I began to understand why some blogs might be more successful then others.

In conclusion, after understanding a little bit more about blogs it’s become clear just how important they could become to our society in the near future. They would be very useful in supplying people with information they want to read without increased censorship. While it could present some problems I strongly feel that the good of the blog would out weigh the bad by far .From my research I also find it increasingly important that writers make sure to think about their audience as Barlow stated. This is going to be a key element in deciding just how successful the blogospehere will become. These blogs must make it a point to broadcast some of the most important issues that are affecting our community all at the click of a mouse. All in all from this it’s been shown what blogs are, how they function, and how important the writer/audience relationship is for success.


1. Barlow, Aaron. Blogging @merica: The New Public Sphere. CT.: Praeger Publishers, 2008.

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