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Reading Response #2 – Blogging

I assigned the chapter, Blogs, Communities and Networks in the book Blogging by Jill Walker Rettberg, because of your blogging assignments (your individual Tumblr postings and comments here) and because most, if not all of you, use social media in your everyday lives.  This chapter is available as an e-chapter at the Course Reserves link on Blackboard.

1. From this chapter, what material such as social network theory, colliding networks, etc. resonated with you and why?

2. What are some of the take away points can you apply to your media criticism blog postings/comments on this blog and/or your general approach to blogging from the NewsU tumblr webinar?

Don’t forget to post your responses by the Tuesday 9/17@11:59p deadline.

Published inSocialmediaTechnologyTrends


  1. Kelsey J. Kondraski Kelsey J. Kondraski

    There was plenty of material in this article that resonated with me. I found the social network theory to be interesting. I thought it was interesting that weak ties between individuals are more important than strong ties for spreading information. I never thought of that aspect and just always assumed that strong ties would allow for more connections and knowledge. Also colliding networks really stuck in my mind. I completely agree that certain social networks should not collide with one another. I believe that every person has a few different social networks in which they belong. These can be separated by family, work, school, etc. There are things that I post on my Facebook and Twitter that I would want my friends to see but not my boss or teachers. As I am about to graduate from college, I hear a lot about ‘cleaning up’ but social networking sites. Employers now use these sites to judge character. So instead of having my site the way I’d like, I have to change it to uphold certain standards. When my parents joined Facebook, I refused to be ‘friends’ with them because it was uncomfortable having them look at my page, even though I lived with them.
    Some take away points that I found would be the emerging social network sites. It is important as a journalist to always loot for new forms or social media. Sites like Lifelog, which could take media from my phone and upload it to my blog, would be really helpful to use on my Tumblr or other blogs. Also, that videos and pictures can spread quickly, and that speed is a valuable tool when blogging.

  2. Carter Wintsch Carter Wintsch

    Tumblr is a very unique community. It causes many users to share a unique kinship, no matter what type of blog they run. Similar to Fight Club, tumblr has unwritten rules, such as “When the creator of tumblr is on your dashboard, you reblog him”. One of those rules that is spoken of even less is that you don’t speak of tumblr outside of tumblr, so it is so bizarre for me to literally be studying blogs.

    However, I think it is important for me to be educated on the subject since it is how I hope to make my living. In this chapter, social network theory really resonated with me. I have tried to start different blogs many times, and ultimately given up when I fail to gain notoriety. With my new music blog ( I have refused to give up, yet it can be frustrating when I see someone else doing what I’m doing with less skill, yet I know they have hundreds of readers. The weak link hypothesis is an accurate one. I’ve never been able to break out of my social sphere, despite my use of tagging and promotion. This article taught me that it may be beneficial for me to strike up relationships with other blogs similar to mine and that I can create conversation with.

    I think that blogging is a seriously under appreciated art. I mean, even I was shocked when I discovered that there was a chapter, yet alone an entire book written about it. Many people think of blogging and use blogging as an online diary, or just a place to spew their thoughts without any intention of someone reading about it or caring. I hope to eventual master the process of gaining readers, whether that be through linking, search engine optimization, or what have you. Geez, here’s hoping…

  3. Olivia La Bianca Olivia La Bianca

    What I really took away from in this reading was the idea that we have become more and more complacent with sharing our personal lives and basically relinquishing a lot of our privacy in order to gain a better sense of community and interpersonal connectedness. Why is this? I have one theory.

    While a long time ago, communities used to be built in relative close proximity with people living within walking distance of each other, with the invention of modern transportation, friends and families have been spread across the globe, thus relinquishing their grasp on the very human need for interconnectedness. Using the same technological innovation which separated them, they are able to retain a certain amount of community through online social media.

    The greatest takeaway point would probably be the whole linking issue. While I was aware that including links in one’s blogs increased traffic and readership, this article outlined exactly how that was done through websites like Google and Technorati. This encouraged me to be even more persistent in my linking practices on my own blogs, and it will definitely be a factor that I take into consideration while critiquing others’ presence in the blogosphere.

  4. Lucas Rodgers Lucas Rodgers

    This chapter brought up many interesting comments about blogging and social media and the implications these things can have on society. The point that resonated most with me was the analogy by Core Ondrejka that compared blogging to standing on a hill and shouting through a megaphone. This analogy works really well because one’s blog may be read by his friends or family or someone who just stumbles upon it, but the vast majority of society will never read it at all. Even though most blogs may have a rather small readership, this is not a problem because blogs don’t necessarily need a huge audience, just a dense one, as Jill Walker points out.
    The idea of social networks colliding is also a very relevant concept, especially for journalists. I personally wouldn’t want any potential employers to see my Facebook page or Twitter feed. Because of this, I’ll probably need to make a new Facebook page and Twitter account in the near future, and keep my personal ones separate from my professional ones. We have freedom of speech online, as we do offline, but it comes at a cost since others might not like what we say. This means we’re basically forced to choose between free speech and self-censorship. If a journalist freely express his opinions, he’s less likely to find employment or reach certain audiences, but if he censors himself, he may compromise some of his personal values. The only logical solution is to have a personal account, with free speech and all, and a separate professional account, which is used primarily for business purposes, but is less reflective of one’s true opinions.
    I think the most important take away is that it’s important to recognize how social media affects one’s sense of community. I agree with Olivia’s comment, in that social media has grown so immensely because people are trying to regain the sense of community that was lost when they all moved away from each other. Social media can be good for building communities, even if they are just online communities, but the digital archive social media leaves behind can be a double-edged sword. It’s beneficial to develop communities and spread out networks, but people’s digital records can come back to haunt them in various ways. Near the end of the chapter, Walker talks about the possibility of a open-source social media that are hosted and operated by individuals rather than huge companies. This seems like the ideal form of social media, and I think it will gain more momentum and prominence in the future. If individuals owned their own social media, they could access, alter, share and delete their digital footprints, without having to worry about corporations selling their information or using it against them.

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