So I guess I’m first

I’m leaving town for the weekend, so I have to post this now. I can’t wait to see what others come up with though!

Because it popped up in numerous blogrolls I saw today and was displayed in a video I recently watched on institutional fear of web 2.0, I decided to look at Bitch, PhD as a model blog. Immediately it was easy to look at it in terms of Risdahl’s list of distinguishing traits:

  • the focus and theme of the blog (politics, feminism, and a few personal/family posts)
  • being controversial (instantaneous with title of blog; confirmed by topics of some posts; possibly because some might find the language objectionable–see more on this in paragraph below)
  • comments (some posts have 80 or so; according to a site widget, “3,654 blog reactions” are linked to this blog! Oops. make that 3, 655 now)
  • the personality of the blogger (Actually, there are three authors. Personality instantly portrayed by title and banner image; sidebar notes “Comments are great; obnoxious comments get deleted. Deal.”)
  • design (text is easy to read as white on black, but rest is solid black background. Dramatic.)
  • marketing (no links to other blogs; ads from other parties)
  • The content,which I’ll focus on, is clearly what keeps people coming back.

    The posts are more often long than short, probably because the author typically offers a very thorough examination of the subject matter at hand and links to numerous other pages so readers can learn more. In particular, I was struck by the post about the controversy over Flickr photos and related stories of women being victimized on the web. I spent twenty minutes or so reading this and all the linked information. This was one author’s response to a previous post which had garnered many controversial comments; both are worth reading. Both posts are quite lengthy but intriguing.

    There is an “eyeful” of material in the post “Welcome, New Readers.” The author states that people who are offended by her writing can find another blog to read. Far from merely censoring those who do not agree with her, she points out several people who have left dissenting opinions in the comments but knew how to do it to engage in debate, not name-calling or raging. In this post, she also acknowledges the role of theme, community, tone, and audience; that is what makes this a successful blog.

    I find it interesting that this ‘welcome” entry was posted a year after this particular blog was started. A quick look at the first posts also reveal similar concerns, perhaps, that we may be feeling–who will read it? What will we write about? Finally, glee when someone actually leaves comments. Maybe in a year we will be writing our own fresh start and new ground rules to refocus ourselves and the multitudes that enjoy our writing.

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    Filed under Class Discussion, Popularity

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