Aimee Morrison’s “Blogs and Blogging: Texts and Practice” – A Reviw
Aimee Morrison’s article, ‘Blogs and Blogging: Texts and Practice’, in “A Companion to Digital Literary Studies” offers an excellent analysis of the world of the blog sphere, an analysis that, while not overly helpful for the person who is trying to learn how to create their own blog, it provides an insightful look at the creation of the aforementioned blogosphere, the weaknesses of blogging; the negative impact of having everyone being able to put their views and opinions online, while rather shamelessly ignoring copyright laws and the more positive aspects of being people being head-hunted due to the excellence of their blogs.
To be perfectly honest, before I read this article I had a very basic knowledge of blogs, mostly coming from what I had seen in movies like Julie and Julia, what I had read in books and papers and what had been mentioned in passing by friends. However, Morrison’s article allows even the most ignorant person to gain an understanding of the history of blogging and the blogosphere, its rise to popularity, the genres, and the importance it can have in a scholarly basis. Her writing is both clear and engaging. The reader is able to follow her points and understand her use of technical words without loosing the point, or getting an over-dose of information.
It must be said that Morrison deals with both sides of the blogging argument, its benefits and its more negative aspects. Blogs, compared to 2D representations on paper, allows the writer to incorporate audio, video and outside links, not to mention pictures to enhance the reading experience of the reader, while avoiding the printing and publishing costs that are inherent with the standard methods of publishing your work. Also, with blogs you are able to customize your blog to suit your needs at a specific time, or mood, giving the writer a great deal more independence over traditional printed texts. However, the negative side to this independence is that anyone can publish anything in their blogs. This “carnival of ideas” may not be as good a thing as many of Morrison’s contemporaries believe. Freedom of Speech is part of Western societies most important, and closely held beliefs. However, while blogging may provide an excellent podium for ones beliefs, ideas and musings, to what extent is this a truly advantageous thing? While writing is a basic and mandatory tool, not everyone is made write in this manner. Many believe that this type of writing, often both poorly written and badly informed, that has flooded the internet has had a derogatory affect on the reputation of blogging and the blogger.
One of the pieces in the article that I found the most interesting was the rather fascinating paradox of blogging that Morrison briefly addresses when discussing the term “blog” being “chosen as Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year.” The term “blog” may be the most looked up word, but as Morrison states, this is not necessarily a good thing. If it is being looked up in a dictionary then this means that many people do not actually understand the term, or its requisite facets. As stated above, this is a very interesting paradox, blogging has seriously increased in popularity, leading to over 54 million blogs present in the world wide web, and yet in the Pew/Internet Data memo in the article a survey indicated that “less than 40 percent of surveyed internet users knew what blogs were – 62 percent could not define the word (Rainie 2005)” Blogs and blogging seems to be suffering from the unusual status of being bother hugely popular and yet almost totally unknown.
Morrison’s article did show me that there were much more issues to do with blogging than the simple typing out whatever in on your mind and releasing this onto the internet. Overall, the text was easy to read and well informed. She did not over board the reader with information, nor did the reader finish their reading without learning a great deal about the blogging world and its communities. While there is a reluctance to accept this new digital wave, it is gaining prominence in the academic and political world.