Amanda Lenhart, die für ihre Arbeit bei “Pew Internet & Amercian Life Project” bekannt ist, hat ihre Magisterarbeit veröffentlicht. Hier ein Auszug:
Unstable Text: An Ethnographic Look at How Bloggers and Their Audience Negotiate Self-Presentation, Authenticity and Norm Formation. Master of Arts in Communication, Culture and Technology Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of Georgetown University, Washington, DC.
I just ha a first glance at the text which will be very valuable to weblog research and offers a lot of connections to my own works on blogging practices. Based on a number of qualitative interviews, Amanda specifically discusses three aspects:
(1) ‘Blogs as sites of expression’ – which strategies of expression management evolve in an communicative environment that offers a great degree of control over one’s self-presentation, but often lacks direct feedback from readers since they have to actively ‘de-lurk’ in the comments to become visible.
(2) Audience of blogs – Amanda proposes an interesting classification of Weblog audiences along two axes: known vs. unknown and wanted vs. unwanted. There might be unknown wanted readers (someone who is interested in similar topics and might provide valuable comments) as well as known unwanted readers (Mom! Boss! ) etc. Dealing with these different audiences connects routines of identity management (esp. balancing the tension between public and private) with routines of relationship management (reacting to comments, linking to other blogs, ..)
(3) Norm formation – a very important chapter, since there is not a lot of literature on the norm formation process in blogging yet. Amanda takes my distinction between explicit norms, emergent norms and architectural norms as a starting point and discusses Blogrolls and comment sections as places where the negotiation of ‘blogging rules’ (I prefer the term rules over norms, since it is more general) can be observed. [as an aside: the nature of the Blogroll as an expression of one’s social network has recently been discussed here]. There sure is a lot more to research, since rules are an important structural part of blogging practices: routines and expectations of using the new online format which are shared between people in social networks of different sizes and density (think about teen blogging practices which differ from the knowledge management blogosphere which again are blogging in a different way than the knitting weblog communitiy).