College

Blogs as Narratives

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: 90210Beverly Hills 90210, Dawson’s Creek, Gossip GirlOne 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.

Wikis Quickly Revisited

After my last blog post, I went back and worked on a wiki page for Bemidji State University.  All though I still want to inset photos, I am happy with learning how to work with the Wiki and I came with with a layout that I like.  On the right hand side, I put the undergraduate majors and the graduate programs; and on the left hand, I had put basic information about the school there.  I think considering I’ve never really used Wikis before, this is a good jumping off point thus far.

Work on Wikis

For Weblogs & Wikis, we had to read up on working on Wikis.  To be honest, this will probably be the hardest thing for me in the class.  The reason is because unlike blogging and Twitter; I, like my classmate Ivory Hilliard, I have never dipped my toes in a Wiki.

Not Picture Perfect Yet

The thing I have learned about working with the class wiki is that the pictures will be the hardest part for me.  I attempted to insert a picture into the wiki page I did on Bemidji State University and the wiki page on me.  I think that this is due to the fact that I have worked with blog posts enough to know how blog posts and pictures work.

I Googled how to put a picture in a Wiki and Wikipedia has a page on it.  That page seems slightly helpful, but not really.  And of course, looking at other pages on the class wiki isn’t as helpful as I would like.

Markup is for Magazines, Markdown is for Wikis

I believe that apart of the issue for the picture issue is that I don’t understand the markdown process.  Markdown just being the style in which we write on the pages.  I am use to HTML to an extent since I use to work on the BSU Student Senate website last year.

Bringing in Levinson on Wikis

Something I can see the upside about Wikis and Wikipedia is that they bring in sources on information on a topic much quicker than having to do several Google searches.  All though Levinson refers to Tim Russert’s death – who ever that is – in this book, I will use the example Whitney Houston’s Death.

Whitney Houston’s Death

Yesterday at 12:45 PM, my cell phone received this tweet from one of the people I’m following:

https://twitter.com/#!/kari_minnesota/status/168521009400524800

I did not see this tweet nearly four plus hours later since I was busy doing an interview process for the BSU Res Life department.  In over a day, Houston’s Wikipedia page grew from a short paragraph on here death to this:

The nice thing about Wikipedia is that the footnotes that each page has – or should have – is that they bring the reader to the website that the info is taken from.

Newspaper or Encyclopedia?  Both?  Neither?

Levinson asks what Wikipedia is?  To be honest, I view Wikipedia to be the jumping off point of research.  The reason why is because Wikipedia is updated fast, but it does give the resources that the writer of the page(s) used.

Now, the nice thing about Wikis – and according to class, Wikipedia is a wiki – is that they, like blogs, can focus on a particular subject matter.  Wikipedia is marketed as an online encyclopedia and it basically is.  But the nice thing about wikis on particular subject matters is that you have people working on the same information to get it right.

Online Bullying and Stalking

Cyber-Bullying

During this past summer – summer of 2011 – ABC Family and Seventeen Magazine launched a campaign they called “Delete Digital Drama” in regards of all of the online bullying that goes on.  As part of the campaign, ABC Family filmed and aired an original movie called “Cyberbully” that showed how social websites aid in making it more easy for people to bully their peers online.

Law & Order: SVU Episode Based on a Real Case

I remember watching an episode of Law & Order: SVU entitled “Babes” that is based on a case that Levinson sites in his book.  Levinson cites the case of Lori Drew who joined MySpace to seek revenge on 13 year-old Megan Meier.  According to what Levinson says in his book, Meier had spread rumors of Drew’s daughter.  Drew went on to create a fake MySpace account as boy – named Josh Evans – and pretended to fall in love with Meier.  After that, Drew had sent an e-mail stating:

the world would be a better place without you.

The above stated episode of Law & Order: SVU combined the Drew-Meier story with the Gloucester High School Pregnancy Pact.  All though the episode was – as some may say – the Hollywood version of the two stories, it portrayed the cyber bullying aspect in the second half of the episode and the ramifications that social media has in terms of bullying.

Stalking

Levinson also touches a bit on the stalking issue of social media.  However, he does touch on the whole Google Earth being able to provide photographs of a location if you have the address that someone lives at.

However, the Cyber Bullying example that Levinson provided that I mentioned earlier.  Even though Levinson doesn’t touch on it too much, with the fact that we can now Google anyone, then that makes it easier to find information on someone.  Same thing with Wikipedia or any other search engine.  Granted, that is with assumption that the person your Googling has such a unique name or is well-known in order to be one of the first hits.

I Learned a New Term From #en3177

During the first week of class this term, I learned a new term that is important for anyone who uses online social network sites – such as blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc – should know: bookmarklets.  All though I have used/seen the “Press This” bookmarklet before for WordPress, I’ve never known the proper term for it before.  Bookmarklets seem to to make things to easier in a sense.  I actually found a bookmarklet for twitter so I can insert symbols into my tweets:

https://twitter.com/#!/JoeVitoMoubry/status/163436797970497536