Saturday, May 24, 2014
I take blogging for granted. But, when you think about it, it's a pretty special medium. Many of us have found a sort of community in, or at least connected to, the blogosphere. We express ourselves in unique ways, through words, pictures, links, and videos, without going through an editor or another mediator. Some bloggers find a huge audience worldwide, and some just pique the interest of a handful of readers--but it's the right handful.
Last month, I mentioned a research paper about "blog linguistics." I learned a lot about the history and character of blogs, and I found it very interesting. I figure that some of you, especially those of you who blog, might be interested, too. The next few paragraphs are a modified portion of my final paper. The modifications include in-text linking to any online sources. Honestly, this just scrapes the surface of what I learned. The really interesting stuff came later in the paper, but I don't have time to post all of that tonight. I hope you're interested enough to want more, because I'd like to continue in two weeks.
About nineteen years ago, before the word blog existed, website owners began adding "diaries" to their sites. Now, there are over 152 million blogs online (Gaille). In 1997, the word weblog appeared, coined by Jorn Barger on his Robot Wisdom Weblog. The term usually applied to "daily lists of annotated links to other sites, without extended commentary or personal narratives," but it soon absorbed online diaries into its definition as well (McNeill 2). In 1999, Peter Merholz used the phrase we blog in the sidebar on his site, and blog quickly became used as both noun and verb. Blog hosting tools like Blogger appeared the same year, opening the blogosphere to anyone with access to the Internet, including those without HTML skills or money (Language and the Internet 239). Example: Me and this blog.
As is usually the case with Internet technology, blogs evolved at a fast pace, especially once coding skills were no longer required to create them. When David Crystal wrote his first edition of Language and the Internet in 2000, blogs weren't even on his radar. Five years later, he dedicates half a chapter of his second edition to the topic. By 2003, Crystal writes, an estimated 1-3 million active blogs were online, and some estimated that the number doubled every six months. Two years later, estimates rose, commonly citing 12-15 million blogs, with 4.5 million new ones sprouting within four months. Only about one fifth of these blogs remained active, but when one blog died, many more took its place (Language and the Internet 246). In the eight years since Crystal published his second edition of Language and the Internet, the blogosphere has grown even more, to include over 150 million blogs.
Blogs give a voice to individuals who normally don't have one in the public sphere. Some hold controversial opinions that would not survive the moderating mandated in printed journalism. Most lack the influence and resources to publish their work in print. Now, a new range of perspectives on important topics has a chance to be heard by the public. For example, deployed soldiers and Iraqi civilians have contributed to debate over the war on terrorism (Language and the Internet 241).
My sources didn't explore fandom blogging at all, let alone aniblogging. But it's hard for me to imagine anime fandom without this kind of outlet for expression and debate . . .
aaannnd . . . I am out of time. Internet connection failed me for a minute, so it will probably be Saturday everywhere in the US except Hawaii by the time I get this up. Sorry for the lateness.
Crystal, David. Language and the Internet. 2 ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 2006. Print.
Gaille, Brandon. "How Many Blogs are on the Internet." WPVirtuoso. N.p., 20 Nov. 2013. Web. 28 Apr. 2014. <http://www.wpvirtuoso.com/how-many-blogs-are-on-the-internet/>.
McNeill, Laurie. "Genre Under Construction: The Diary on the Internet." Language@Internet 2 (2005): n. page., Web. 28. Apr. 2014. <http://www.languageatinternet.org/articles/2005/120>.