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Home » Education » Understanding Weblogs: A Communicative Perspective

Understanding Weblogs: A Communicative Perspective

Understanding Weblogs:  A Communicative Perspective


Image by Sean Munson via Flickr

Like salons, weblogs are neither totally public nor private. Blogs are written by an individual who expresses his attitude and opinions, which makes a blog subjective. At the same time ,a blog is the part of the public matters(ibid). There is still not much scientific research available on weblogs, through the number of publications has been rising rapidly. An important aspect of the weblog is not highlighted in the literature so far .Weblogs are a form of computer mediated communication. Communication through blogs comes with a certain set of processes as compared to face-to-face communication.

Consider a weblog as another form of webpage, with a specific set of tools to change its functionality. Current descriptions of a weblog focus on describing these tools. Weblog use RSS(Real simple Syndication),comment function, trackback function (to track discussion between blogs), blog rolls and archives.

The best comparison with the real world is the ‘Speaker’s corner’ in London. This is a corner of Hyde Park where people meet and discuss things that matter to them. Someone climbs on a box, starts talking about a subject and other people passing by engage in a discussion with the speaker. The Location is freely accessible, anyone can start and join  discussion, regardless of education and origin. Similarly, while blogging, someone climbs on a virtual box to tell a story. This story attracts the attention of surfers on the internet passing by those, for instance, using a search engine or RSS aggregator. People read the weblog much like people passing by the Speaker’s Corner, who can stop for a while and listen to what is being said. Those who are interested in the content of the weblog can react to this content by activating the comment function or by writing about the topic in their own blog.

Blogging begins with disseminating information through the internet. The author writes something and publishes it for other to read. The blog attracts its readers-varying from one to thousands-just like the Speaker’s Corner. Allowing readers to comment on written entries, makes it possible to enhance the conversation between reader(s) and blogger.

Looking at weblogs in the context of communication, we could define a weblog as follows:

The weblog, or blog, is a webpage on which the author publishes entries with the intention to start conversation.

This means that there are a few technical functionality features required to enable and support a weblog environment. First of all, conversation must be possible. This dialogue function is enabled through a comment function to enable dialogue within the same interface built into the blog.

To follow a conversation as it travels through different weblogs, these blogs also need trackback functionality, which requires every single entry to have a unique URL. Finally, to encourage people to return to read the weblog regularly and aggregate it in as RSS reader, the blog should have RSS or Atom feed functionality.

Conversation has different depths of meaning and significance, depending on the level of engagement of the participants. When neighbours have a chat across the fence, their conversation is little more than a light exchange about everything from the weather to their kids, However, when two university professors discuss the future of their research, the conversation could have consequences for them or for co-workers, or even humanity. With blogging we can see similarities in level of engagement. A chat-style of conversation shows up in diary-style blogs. It’s comparable to the chair with the neighbour. We see deeper conversations in blogs that have a professional slant-for instance, blogs about knowledge management.

The weblog is suitable for discussing complex topics because of its high information complexity. A large number of people use weblogs to reflect on certain topics, such as knowledge management. The low selectivity of weblogs makes it possible to reach audiences that would have been unreachable otherwise. As a consequence of that potential reach, asynchronous dialogue can follow and through this asynchronous communication, differences in time and space can be bridged with weblogs.

As use computer technology, their storage capacity is high. This allows for easy archiving. Search engines can be used to search for specific topics, resulting in related web pages. Archiving increases the access to communication between people significantly, when compared to face-to-face communication. Face-to-face meetings do not permit those not present to know exactly what transpired.

In Conclusion, access to communication through weblogs is high, because of the case of publication, low selectivity, asynchronous interaction, and large storage capacity. Weblogs, therefore, meet the first condition of the ideal speech situation.

to be cont…

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