Weblogs are not only one of the newest technical media for communication, but also one of the most difficult to understand. Are weblogs a kind of mass medium, a personal medium like an online diary, or a medium that gives space for communities to grow? Or are weblogs a medium that enable all these possibilities depended on the actual use? This paper throws some light on what weblogs are by using the methodology of Media Sociography (Tække 2003, 2004a, 2004b and 2004c). Media Sociography is a strategy for analysing mediated social systems or in other words a strategy for describing the social in relation to the media it is based on. Theoretically seen it is inspired of two theoretical paradigms the Sociological Systems Theory of Niklas Luhmann and the Media Theory (also called the Toronto school). Empirically the paper primary draws on the literature about weblogs, which could be framed as CMC-studies, but uses also firsthand observations. The purpose of this paper is to describe the communicative space of weblogs and the social processes within that space and by that answering the mentioned questions. The paper concludes that the remediation of social interaction in blogs provide the same good basis for distributing identity and identification of persons as the traditional website, but because of the many interactivity features they also make a good basis for turntaking in conversations and therefore also make space for self-organizing interaction systems. Weblogs are an extension of the social space as symbolically generalised cyberspace avatars that combine communicability and personification. Blogs transform the WWW to one big newsgroup where homepages as representations of persons, perform a medium by which people can stay in contact with many different social contexts, introduce themselves in new contexts and even make their own press, using the blog as a mass medium.
media sociography; weblog; communication; genre
Main Research Area:
Sixth Annual MEA (Media Ecology Association) Convention, June 22 – 26 2005. Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus New York City