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Review of Aimeée Morrison’s “Blogs and Blogging: Text and Practice”

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Aimeée Morrison’s article in “A Companion to Digital Literary Studies“, makes it a welcoming and exciting new world, ready to be explored by anyone and everyone that has access to a computer and the internet. Morrison’s article is informative and helpful and makes the reader want to power up the computer and start writing.

Morrison’s article shattered all illusions that I had about blogs. Before reading the article I thought blogs were something unemployed writers and stay at home mothers used to occupy their time. Morrison’s article opened up a whole new world to me: the Blogosphere. Morrison’s introduction to the blogging community, from its humble beginnings to over 54 million blogs approximately ten years later shows the power of this medium. Morrison explains the growth of blogs has created a whole new community. In the early years, we learn that the medium was occupied by a small group computer whizzes but as the number of blogs has grown and access to blogs has become easier thanks to sites like wordpress.com and blogger.com and many others the community developed to accept all types of writers. Morrison informs readers there are many different genres of blogs out there in the Blogosphere. All types of people contribute to this online community; from journalists to political writers or just amateur writers hoping to be noticed by publishers, even academics take advantage of the less formal setting to interact with their peers and lecturers. It is fair to say, there is a bog out there for everyone.

Morrison talks about the benefits of blogging over traditional media. Blogging allows the writer to move away from traditional restrictions of the A4 page incorporating video clips, audio clips and images to enhance their writing and not worry about cost as one would with print media. Everything about the blog can be customized to suit the audience that it is directed at; from the background to the text even the length of the posts could determine who reads it. Morrison also highlights the benefits of subscriptions to help readers keep up to date with their favourite blogs and Blogrolls, which allow readers to find blogs of similar content that may interest them. The most fascinating aspect that Morrison uses to sell the blog is the idea of Comments. This feature allows readers to give the author feedback.

However, Morrison’s article is not totally one sided, she gives a balanced view of blogs. Though the Blogosphere is open to all who wish to enter it – the internet originally being established to give everybody a level playing field – this could also be its downfall. When reading a blog the reader has to be aware what they are reading may not be factual. In the Blogosphere there is no guarantee that the person that wrote what you read actually knows what they are talking about. One of the advantages of the blog and one of the many reasons that people are attracted to it is the anonymity and lack of regulations. Lack of regulations means that anyone can write about anything at anytime, therefore the reader has to be vigilant in accepting what they read as gospel. Morrison gives the example of Rebecca Blood, a journalist and blogger who tried to employ journalistic regulations when writing her blog, but this was when the blogging community was much smaller. Now people who had no journalistic backgrounds were setting up their own blogs meaning this idea fell by the wayside. Not only do no regulations affect the readers of blogs it also affects what people write about, the issue of libel and liability has to be taken into consideration by the author. Morrison tells us that there has been the development of another new word thanks to the Blogosphere; “Dooced” refers to bloggers who have been fired by their employers because of something that they wrote on their blog. This is on ongoing problem in the Blogosphere, as Morrison states to introduce regulations now would take away from one of the biggest appeals of the blog.

Before reading Morrison’s article I was unaware that there was such a big world out there at just the push of a button. The article shows that there was a lot more to blogging than I originally thought and there are lot of issues that still have to be worked out with the regulation and reliability of the Blogosphere as a reliable resource.

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