Posts tagged ‘Blogs’

Blog Awards Pt. 2

By js, 4 January, 2009, No Comment

After having found all those sites for blog awards and no site dedicated to awards for Hispanic/Latino/Chicano blogs, I’m wondering about the usefulness of these awards.

For most of the awards, bloggers can nominate themselves and then presumably send readers to the site to vote for their blog. At least one site, charges bloggers to nominate themselves. Some of the results that I saw did not have that many votes.  The blackweblogawards has judges as well as a popular vote.

What do bloggers get out of winning the award? Most of them get to put a badge on their site that says that they were nominated, a finalist or a winner. This probably builds some prestige with the audience.

But does winning a blog award make a difference to the readers or the blogger? How does winning an award change the experience or value of blogging?

The award tag in some form legitimizes the blog and gives it a stamp of approval, but isn’t that really done by the readers who visit the blog or receive the blog feeds and then come back to comment and interact with the blogger.

Much of what I have read about blogging puts the value of blogging on the interaction with the audience (see Blogging Becomes More Mobile by Steve Inskeep and Andy Carvin http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17668917&sc=emaf). Many of the popular bloggers have experience already as writers, either by working for marketing companies (writing) or by being journalists (which means they were writing). Most of these bloggers have a very particular “voice” and a particular focus to their blog. Most are conversational and even intimate. Whether the blogger is writing about their own musings about life lessons (http://www.annhandley.com/) or giving tips of how to use tech tools better (http://www.chrisbrogan.com/27-blogging-secrets-to-power-your-community/), all speak to the reader in an informal tone. Many remind me of the newspaper column genre.

The blog award may have value in several ways:

1. if the blog award is given by people who read blogs, then as “experts” they can pick out/select those that have value for them. If  a blog is popular, then by extension that means that the readers find the blog of value either because it is entertaining or enlightening or both.

2. the blog award badge signals to readers the value that others have found in the blog

3. the blog award sites direct readers to the blogs; therefore, the blog gains readership and thus popularity (that is assuming that the readers return)

Readers have value because

1. they interact with the blogger; and after all, isn’t the interaction what it’s all about?

2. they draw advertising revenue. Most of the blogs that I have seen have ads on them. Many have made initial attempts at putting ads as part of the blog but for others the ads are a big portion of the blog. Revenue, of course, is important because the blogger needs to pay for the space which runs the site and for the bandwith which is used especially if it gets many readers. Someone who doesn’t get very many readers can afford to pay for their own hosting but I can imagine that many bloggers who have popular sites would need to start brining in money to help pay for the site.

I wonder how many readers/visitors a site actually needs before the alloted bandwith given by the hosting company is used up?

The fact that award sites direct readers to the blogs is fascinating to me. There are so many different sites out there that someone who is new to blog reading may not necessarily know where to get started. If the blog award site appears as one of the top hits on a Google search then a novice blog reader may turn to the blog award site to get recommendations about where to begin reading. Also, the blog award legitimizes the content and design of the blog. So a novice reader may not have the necessary background to make their own evaluation of a site and will depend on the evaluation made by others.

I think eventually as the blog reader becomes more experienced s/he will not depend on the award site as much but will begin establishing their own criteria to make their own evaluations. In the end, the criteria will probably end up being:

1. does it entertain me?

2. do I learn something?

3. can I identify with the writer?

After all, isn’t that what all faithful readers look for?

Blog Awards

By js, 4 January, 2009, No Comment

I have been following alot of blogs recently. Most of them are tech blogs and the Chicana blogs that I identified earlier this year.

The more blogs I read, especially those blogs that discuss blogging, I am becoming much more interested in looking at how Chicanas and Chicanos are using blogs and if they are similar or different to the ways that blogs are being used by the majority of bloggers (read white and male).

There have been some studies that have looked at how male and female bloggers use the medium so I’m going to have to go back to those in the next few weeks.

I wanted to get a sense of what other people of color are doing with blogs. I used Google to search for African American Blogs (11,300,000 hits) and for Black blogs (38,000,000 hits).  Both searches have proved fruitful. One interesting blog was the blackweblog awards. I searched through the categories and through some of the blogs. Interesting. I found another research direction.

This lead me to try to find out where blog awards came from and I was surprised to find many blog award sites and some have specific awards for Latino blogs.

Best Latino, Caribbean, or South American Blog – The 2008 Weblog

2008.weblogawards.org/nominations/best-latino-blog

Voto Latino Blog: Rosario is a WINNER at the Environmental Media ..

Blog Awards: Best Latino, Caribbean, or South American Blog

blogawards.blogspot.com/2008/02/best-latino-caribbean-or-south-american.html

Eighth Annual Weblog Awards: The 2008 Bloggie

These are the blog award sites:

http://weblogawards.org/

http://bloggerschoiceawards.com/

http://www.blackweblogawards.com/

http://www.chinalyst.net/node/55211

http://blogofthedayawards.blogspot.com/

http://www.thebestofblogs.com/

http://www.christianblogawards.com/

http://www.catholicblogawards.com/ballot_results

http://animeblogawards.com/

Canadian blog awards http://cdnba.wordpress.com/vote-2008/

Wine Blog awards http://fermentation.typepad.com/fermentation/2008/03/american-wine-b.html

Blog Awards (blogger) http://blogawards.blogspot.com/

Oklahoma Blog awards http://okiedoke.com/ok/08awards/index.html

http://edublogawards.com/category/blog/

http://edublogawards.com/category/blog/

http://www.chapeaublogawards.com/about.php has an entrance fee

Performancing Blog Awards http://performancing.com/performancing/announcing-2007-performancing-blog-awards-call-nominations

There have also been a couple of stories (that I have found so far) that discuss blog awards.

Blog awards: Like blogs, they’re diverse, global and freewheeling– a story on blog awards http://www.ojr.org/ojr/stories/050215glaser/

BECOME FAMOUS: Top 10 Blog Awards — http://mashable.com/2007/10/30/top-10-blog-awards/

Research for Blogs

By js, 14 September, 2008, No Comment

As I finished drafting proposals for IRB, I once again began thinking about how to search for blogs.

My purpose is to find blogs which have

  • chicana on the title
  • chicana on the description
  • chicana in the content

What I want to find are blogs written by women who self-identify as Chicana. Jaime shared a wonderful definition of what Chicana/o means and I will use that one for now but will need to also look for others, but that is mainly what I had in mind when I chose to study women who self-identify using this particular term.

So finding blogs in which the term is used in the title or the description would point to the fact that these women construct a particular identity which more than likely will be tied to the content of the blog.

It will be much harder to find blogs which have Chicana in the content of the blog or even in the titles of the posts. I just tried using the beta Google Blog search and was very disappointed at what I found. It gave a few links to posts but alot of those links lead to porn which just supports Nakamura’s argument that Chicanas, Latinas and Asian women are represented online in a way that provides a voyeuristic, sexualized and stereotypical view of the female body. The only redeeming part of my Google Blog search was a “Related Blogs” section which listed blogs which I have already come across.

So I turned to Technorati and I found much of the same. It does provide a way to search from Posts to Blogs to photos and videos. Technorati did not give me much different information in the posts tab; again it pointed to alot of porn. The blogs tab was a bit more revealing. It did find blogs but mostly on MySpace.

Rich had suggested that I could also find blogs on MySpace but I think that the look and feel of those blogs are different and I want to focus on more mainstream blogs. I know I have to define what that means but one detail that I noticed recently is that the age range for blogs on blogger or in a hosted domain are written by women in a very similar age range. Also, alot of the blogs on MySpace are private so who can access those blogs is limited to the blogger “friending” the reader.

The implications of these two differences are important:

  1. the blogger with a hosted domain ultimately may have more control over the “look” of the blog and the feeling of ownership; it also requires a higher level of digital literacy because hosting requires that the blogger choose which options will be available to her as a writer but also to the potential reader
  2. the requirement of “friending” someone so they can read the blog creates a different dynamic for the blogger and the reader; for example, a blogger who hosts her blog in blogger or on her own domain does not necessarily know who is reading the blog unless the reader is willing to interact with her by commenting on the blog. The blogger can look at her site statistics and may get some general knowledge of her readers with this information but does not know each one unless they decide to comment, leave a link to their own blog, and/or email address. This then gives the blogger the option of trying to research her readers. The MySpace requirement of “friending” (which most blogs I checked have turned on), gives a bit more control to the blogger over who will read her blog. Only people to whom she provides permission will be able to access. She, of course, will not know exactly which posts the reader reads unless the reader leaves a comment. (I’m not an expert on MySpace but I don’t think that it tracks who reads each post?)

Now I have to try other blog indexing tools to see if I get a different result. I also plan on asking how exactly those bloggers expect they will be found or have been told they are found. If I search using those methods will my search lead to different results?