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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii Introduction 1 1 What is a Blog? 5

A brief history of weblogs 6

How blogs have adapted to a social media ecosystem 14

Three blogs 17

Defining blogs 30

2 From Bards to Blogs 36

Orality and literacy 37

The introduction of print 41

Print, blogging and reading 44

Printed precedents of blogs 45

The Late Age of Print 47

A modern public sphere? 50

Hypertext and computer lib 53

Technological determinism or cultural shaping of technology? 57

3 Blogs, Communities and Networks 62

Social network theory 66

Distributed conversations 69

Technology for distributed communities 72

Facebook and Twitter as microblogs 76

Publicly articulated relationships 82

Colliding networks 83

Emerging social networks 86

4 Citizen Journalists? 90

Bloggers' perception of themselves 93

When it matters whether a blogger is a journalist 94

Objectivity, authority and credibility 97

First-hand reports: blogging from a war zone 101

First-hand reports: chance witnesses 104

Bloggers as independent journalists and opinionists 107

Gatewatching 108

Symbiosis 112

5 Blogs as Narratives 115

Goal-oriented narratives 116

Ongoing and episodic narration 118

Blogs as self-exploration 127

Fictions or hoaxes? Kaycee Nicole and lonelygirl15 129

6 Blogging Brands 135

The human voice 136

Advertisements and sponsored posts on blogs 139

Micropatronage 145

Sponsored posts and pay-to-post 147

Exploitation and alienation? 152

Corporate blogs 155

Engaging bloggers 161

Corporate blogging gone wrong 164

7 The Future of Blogging 169

Implicit participation and the perils of personalized media 170

References 176 Blogs Mentioned 186 Index 189

About the Author

Jill Walker Rettberg is professor of digital culture at University of Bergen.


"A landmark in social cyberspace studies and much more thanthat. It s about the way today s popular culture isactually part of large-scale change in the way culture is produced.Jill Walker Rettberg has written a deep and broad book about thereal meaning of blogging as evidence for and a driver of an epochalcultural shift. She deftly uses her own experience as a renownedblogger, examined through the expert eye of an experiencedcommunication researcher, to reveal the psychological, social,political and historical meaning of the blogging phenomenon. Shebrings media studies, ethnology, literary studies, marketing,journalism and sociology together into a brilliant explanatoryframework." Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs "Blogging has become an essential backbone of social media. JillWalker Rettberg s book brilliantly documents, analyses andsituates blogging, constructing an indispensable account ofblogging s history and future in light of social networksites, mobile practices and other media-sharing platforms. This isa key piece of scholarship for anyone trying to understand theintersection of technology and society." danah boyd, Microsoft Research New England, and the BerkmanCenter for Internet and Society, Harvard University "A solid, unbiased, and unfettered introduction to the socialaspects of blogging. Recommended." Choice

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