In Jill Walker Rettberg‘s chapter entitled “Blogs as Narratives” from the book Blogging: Digital Media and Society Series, Rettberg touches on how blogs and blogging take different forms based on the type of narrative that the blogger wants.
Blogs are Fragmented Episodes & Books
Rettberg stars out talking about how blogs ~ or more specifically, blogposts ~ are that blogposts are brief episodes in contrast to novels. She states this because each blog post can be read on their own, yet the chapters of a novel ~ or any book ~ has be read in the order that the book has them and from start to end.
I can understand why she stated this, but I think that she can’t group all blogs that story-based into this category. Towards the end of the chapter, she references that hoaxes of Kaycee Nicole and lonelygirl15. Both of these case studies that cites in this book talks about how these hoaxes developed a following based off your basic emotional connection to these two stories and the people who bought into these two stories.
Even though there where people who were drawn into the stories throughout a wide range of time, but they didn’t fall into these stores right away. Yet, the people who feel into these hoaxes had the opportunities to go back and take a look at past posts.
I think what Rettberg meant by the her statement about blogs being fragmented episodes is that a single blogpost is like a commercial or a teaser trailer and pulls someone into the blog.
Fragmented Blogpost Case Study
A good case study can be found at: Life of A Gnome. This blogpost ~ along with others on a different page of the post ~ follows the life(s) of gnomes. This blog is based in Rettberg’s theory ~ if you will ~ of blogposts being done in episodes. Such as one of the blog posts involving a therapist having a client that believes that his lawn ornaments in his yard having a war with each other (see the first link in this subsection).
All though this blog doesn’t just focus on a particular story with each blogpost, the particular blogpost I picked out does showcase how blogposts can be consider episodes. If this particular blogger would of gone on to write more stories with gnome related themes, this blog would of have easily had more a more focused blog.
Goal Orientated, Ongoing Blogs, & Self-exploration
Rettberg also discusses blogs times of being Goal Orientation and Ongoing. This can be due to a wide verity of reasons: the blogs being goal orientated for things like dieting or ~ as one example Rettberg references ~ starting to dating someone/finding someone to date.
However, journalist John Hitler stated about this one person’s blog about trying to find someone to date:
I’m realizing that the whole fun dating blogs come from vicariously experiencing the frustrations and humiliations of the dating circuit. It’s no gun when someone finds true love in, say…twenty-secen days(?!). It’s like Bridget Jones getting married in the first chapter, or Carrie Bradshaw meeting Mr. Big in the first season (0h wait, that one did happened).
What Hitler doesn’t understand about such goal orientated blogs is that if someone does decide to go with that 27 day long goal to find true love doesn’t mean that within the first 27 days of their life is when they’ll find true love. In the cases of both Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaw, they’ve had decades of finding true love before we enter their worlds and the same holds true about setting any goal orientated blog. The writer has background experience to bring to the blog.
Take for example of the Julie/Julia Project. Julie Powell going into her her year long blogging project of cooking through Julia Child’s cookbook with knowledge of Child and cooking. This is just one example.
Goal Orientated Case Study
Another example of a Goal Orientated blog is Teen Drama Whore ~ don’t let the name fool you ~ that had a focus of teenage drama TV shows. The goal of this blog was to provide information TV shows that where teenager based: 90210, Beverly Hills 90210, Dawson’s Creek, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, and The O.C. prior to the blog having to go on hiatus.
This blog’s narrative allowed the writer/blogger Shari Weiss to explore a wide verity of TV shows. The style that Weiss uses is that of a mixture journalistic style and public relations ~ the latter due to Weiss promoting premiers of TV shows and other websites.
Ongoing Blogs, Self-exporation, & a Case Study
Rettberg references in this chapter Justin Hall. Hall is a well known blogger who spent 11 years blogging about a wide verity of personal things according to an article on sfgate.com. All though I could not find the particular blog of Justin’s that Rettberg discusses that he ended in 2005 ~ according to her book, there’s no more posts after 2005 ~ after he had posted a video on it about why he stopped writing personal blogposts.
During this video-blogpost that he posted ~ as you can see below ~ he has a mental breakdown.
All though the blog that Rettberg references does not seem to be about to be found, he seems to have started a new one called ~ or at least a website ~ called Links.
The Wrap Up
Over all, I think the thing that is important about blogs as narratives ~ from a writer’s perspective at least ~ is that you have to know your target audience as well as what you want to write about. Such as this blog that I have been using during my time here at Bemidji State, I have explored a wide verity of topics: news items, blogging, fashion, writing prompts, and so on.
So the type of blog you plan on writing depicts the type of narrative you’ll have.