Beyond the Blog
Umeå Studies in Language and Literature, no. 16
This dissertation examines weblog community as a materially afforded and socially constructed space. In a set of three case studies, this dissertation examines three separate weblog communities between 2004 and 2008. Case Study I looks at knowledge management bloggers in order to better understand how bloggers form communities. In this case study, it will be shown that blogs group thematically and in temporal bursts. These bursts of thematic activity allow for movement in and out of a community, as well as act as a bridge between different weblog communities. Case Study II examines two pseudonymous bloggers in order to better understand how presentation and identity is understood in blogging. It will be shown in Case Study II that social identity in weblog communities is negotiated through blogging practices such as transparency in writing and truthful presentation. Case Study III delves further into social identity by examining a community of academic bloggers and how traditional, institutionalized expectations influence social identity over time, and if this influence differs in the core and periphery of the community. It will be shown in Case Study III that there is indeed a difference in how social identity is negotiated and performed between core and periphery members of a weblog community. Finally, a model towards an integrated approach to researching blogs is put forth.