As an avid blog reader and social media engager, I have been a loyal follower to many lifestyle and fashion bloggers throughout the years. I have been following many since early 2007, and have witnessed the many changes that have occurred within the blogging industry, and have been extremely interested in trying to understand it. Most, if not all, of these bloggers, along with many other influential bloggers, have made the move of switching from their traditional blogging platform (such as Blogger, WordPress, etc.) to micro-blogging platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and nowadays even SnapChat. The amount of content that they put out can be both seen as being less than what they used to put out before, but they are now able to post with more frequency, which almost creates a balance. What I want to study with this research project is the positive and negative effects of this change in the blogosphere, in relation to both the reader and the blogger. I believe that the actions that these bloggers have taken to spread their influence and to maintain their relevance is highly reflective of our current generation’s values. A blogger writes for the people, and they will adjust the material and their posts so that they are able to reach out to their desired audience.
I have always been a big fan of traditional blogging, and so I am not necessarily a big fan of the switch to the micro-blogging platforms. Unfortunately, my tastes would now be considered old-fashioned, as even the popular RSS feed reader Google Reader was forced to close down when Google decided that it was no longer an important tool to invest their time in. My interests have always fallen into more feminine blogging categories such as Lifestyle and Fashion, but the Lifestyle and Fashion bloggers that have emerged on top in these newer platforms were able to achieve their success using different techniques than traditional bloggers. There are two things that I would like to break down in my research concerning these bloggers.
First, I would like to look into a select number of bloggers, and outline and interpret their transition into micro-blogging platforms. What I find fascinating is the fact that these bloggers tend to make a change to the type of content they post as well, all while trying to maintain their original image to stay true to themselves. Second, I would like to draw a comparison between the successful bloggers on the traditional blogging platform, with the successful micro-bloggers in their respective platforms. Unfortunately, not all successful traditional bloggers were able to mirror their success in their transition, and I would like to be able to better understand why this was so.
In this study, I will also pull in outside factors that I believe are responsible for some of these results. For one thing, our society’s increased reliance on our smartphones as a form of quick entertainment has taken away quite a bit of our ability to focus on longer blog posts in comparison to micro-blog posts. The elimination of the most popular RSS feed reader, which is a tool used by blog-followers to stay up-to-date with their favorite blogs, has also created an obstacle that many chose to completely avoid rather than overcome. While I believe that the switch has ultimately resulted in the readers receiving lower-quality content from the bloggers, the frequency and increased interactivity with online-influencers has many positive results. Our interests and the material we choose to expose ourselves to is highly reflective of our values, and I intend on coming to a better understand of these values through my research.
In terms of research material, I have come upon these pieces of writing that I believe will help to further my research and understanding.
- Why We Twitter: Understanding Microblogging Usage and Communities
Keywords: Microblogging, social media, social network analysis, user intent
Research Question: This paper looks into the microblogging phenomena and studies the topological and geographical properties of Twitter’s social network. It also analyzes the user intentions in terms of both community and with how the users connect with other users with similar intentions.
Method and Findings: They were able to perform this research by going directly onto Twitter and following users and their actions in terms of their topological and geographical properties. Studies on the kinds of postings that were made by a large pool of users were also used. They were able to conclude that people on Twitter are constantly using it in order to seek or share information.
Topic Relevancy: In order for me to understand why the move to microblogging was necessary, I have to understand how microblogging became so big and was able to overtake traditional platforms. We are able to see our society’s transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0, where interactivity and user-generated content begin to emerge. As technology begins to take over more parts of our lives, we have to find a way to fit ourselves into this wave so that we don’t get overwhelmed.
- To be seen or not to be: Narcissistic tendencies among bloggers
Keywords: Narcissism, bloggers, social media, Instagram, blogging routines, self-construction, visual culture
Research Question This paper explores the narcissism among bloggers, and how this reflects on their self-constructed online images.
Method and Findings: They study the most popular bloggers on microblogging platforms such as Instagram, and look in how they present themselves to the public. They were able to find that the growing trend of visualized style of communication seems to be vital in the blogger being able to play the role that they want to play.
Topic Relevancy: There is no denying that narcissism plays a big role in a blogger’s life and their success, and in the microblogging platform, this narcissism comes out much stronger than on traditional platforms. Whereas traditional platforms had bloggers posting a few times a week/month, microblogging platforms almost require them to present themselves online as often as they can in as many interesting ways as they can. They have to believe that they are putting out content that their audience wants to see, and often this content is simply just of them going about their normal lives.
- Blogging: An Introductory Look at an Old Pastime in a New Medium
Keywords: Networking, Electronic Publishing
Research Question: What are blogs, and how/why are they used?
Method and Findings: This article covers all of the basics needed to understand the history behind the blog, and gives a look on why its a popular platform to share both professional and personal material.
Topic Relevancy: While the shift has changed from traditional blogging to micro-blogging, the concepts and findings from this paper are still relevant to understanding why blogging is revolutionizing the way this generation interacts and shares ideas.