what makes a blog legitimate …

… and how do you know?

Blogging is world publishing that can by-pass an editor, moderator, or second view of any kind. No second look. No fact checking. No oversight from recognized institutions that validate legitimacy.  Even more, blog can be relatively anonymous – or if not anonymous, the identty of the blogger can be well-hidden. Rishdal catalogs some observations about legitimacy:

Look closely at blog … Can you identify who is behind them? What proof do you have that the creators are reputable? (19)

Most bloggers are not blogging in affiliation with an organization. Many bloggers don’t even reveal their actual identities. (20)

Bloggers have no obligation to be honest. Some bloggers will make an effort to create the appearance of having a credible source when in fact they are fabricating everything. (21)

Some individuals and companies have even created fake blogs for marketing

They create a blog character or chacters and pretend that the characters are doing the blogging. Some are obviously fake characters wihile otehrs are presented as real people (22)

Closer to home, it was popular a couple of years ago for universities to hire students to blog about the campus and courses. The idea was that the immediacy of the blog would add to the authenticity of the reaction and prospective students would get a more honest (legitimate?) view of the university than university marketing presents.

A couple of ways into this question, then, since we’re looking at blogs and blogging as a professional practice:

  • What makes a blog legitimate? What do we / ought we / can we look for – and do as professional bloggers?

Notice that the problem of legitimacy doesn’t go away even if we consider blogs “simply opinions.” If blogs are simply opinion, what makes those opinions legitimate?

Start your discussion in class, and post a comment from your group. See if you can find an example to refer to to help you articulate your consideration.



Filed under Class Discussion

7 responses to “what makes a blog legitimate …

  1. erikru

    Basically the same things that provide journalistic integrity. Sighting credible sources and providing links to back them up. Being a credible or already published author. Also being objective and not openly bias in any one direction ,

  2. beth

    Level of professionalism
    Tie into subject matter
    Look at their About page-checking credentials
    Contact information is legitimate
    Look at links for consistency
    Do others concur
    Look at comments to see if other people disagree

    From Beth, Mitch and Jenn

  3. foradory

    Heather, Wayne, and Zach here,

    One thing that can make a blog legitimate is a blogger who has verifiable credentials.

    This guy http://mcmorgan.org/blog/ claims to be some sort of professor at Bemidji State University. So, if you go to their homepage and sniff around, you might find this http://www.bemidjistate.edu/academics/departments/english/faculty.html This is a legitimate way to contact the real M C Morgan. You could then e-mail him and ask if the blog does actually belong to him.

    However, this M C Morgan http://mcmorgan.wordpress.com/ has no actual posts, and calls his blog “Mc MorGans BloGGA.” To us, the capital letters indicate that this blog is probably written by an eight year old that can’t properly work the shift key.

  4. beth

    Google the blogger. See if there are any negative comments or warnings.

    Sight sources that you find. Don’t plagerize.

    Look at level of language. If spelling and grammar are poor, it’s a red flag.

    From: Jenn, Mitch and Beth

  5. In our opinion, Blogs in general are normally based on opinions and opinions themselves should be taken as that- not fact, but a statement from one’s own experience. Every opinion may be worth something, but the reader should always do their own research and come up with their own comclusions to the statement in question.

    This is not to say that opinions are not worth anything at all, because even a child can have an opinion that is use to someone else. For example, a child could give a review on something and another child may want to know what they think about it: http://www.spaghettibookclub.org/

    If bloggers want to be recognized as legitimate and trustworthy–more than one of many opinionated individuals–they will have to make an effort to prove themselves. As Risdahl noted, putting a real name or an organization’s reputation behind the words as well as making a habit of citing reliable sources is one way of rising above the masses. In general, a reader will not take a blogger’s word for anything. That kind of rapport with readers must be built on a solid foundation of evidence and honesty.

    Briana, Zach, Erik

  6. samfoley

    A blog is never completely legitimate, however, it becomes much more reputable if it comes from a trusted site, and it also helps if there are links to sites that are actual news sites.

    An example of this would be: http://www.cbsnews.com/sections/publiceye/main500486.shtml

    You can also have legite personal blogs. This is the kind of blog where it is about the blogger. His/her thoughts, feelings, things they are involved in. An example of this would be:

    Just make sure you watch out for certain things when looking at blogs. Find out if it is a personal or professional blog. Do they have links? Sources? Also remember, if it’s for research you probably shouldn’t count on a blog as a legitimate source.

    Sam Foley & Elizabeth Barclay

  7. kristadorow

    Our group feels that when you look at a blog you need to take what you read with a grain of salt. It’s up to you to see find out if it is legimate or not. The blooger either has links to credible sources, or if you really want to find out then you can go out and find the source yourself.
    Some things to consider if a blog is legimate or not would be to see if they are a credible, you are able to e-mail the blogger with any questions that you have about them, and you are able to read their previous postings to see if they have a solid background in what they are talking about.
    Krista, Tricha, and Nisha

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