week 3 post:

September 20, 2006

hey again everyone;

first off; some more definitions of a the term BLOG:

1) from http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/b/blog.html

n.) Short for Web log, a blog is a Web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.

2) http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/blog

a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer

 3) from www.wikipedia.com

“The modern blog evolved from the online diary where people would keep a running account of their personal lives. Most such writers called themselves diarists, journalists, or journalers”

notice that all three of these definitions (there are many more definitions and most, if not all) mention the word PERSONAL. This is why I find multi-user blogs or corporate/departmental blogs to be somewhat of an oxymoron… perhaps i am just wrestling over an issue of semantics again (WEEEE  BLOG vs WEB BLOG)… but i really don’t think so.

The original intention of a blog was to free personal journals from their paper tombs and release them into the digital world for all to see. Note again the term PERSONAL; maybe you’re thinking to yourself “but randy, who cares if they were originally intended for personal use… can’t thing evolve and change…?” well, yes you stickler :D, they sure can. But it still holds true that some avenues of communication are better fitted for certain tasks. for example, imagine if you will that instead of getting served a court summons by registered mail or courier, that you were EMAILED or INSTANT MESSAGED by the lawyer. It is certainly plausible that the lawyer could use either of these other modes of communication just as easily to transmit the court summons, but other modes are more ‘accepted’ for this sort of communication.

 same goes for blogs i argue; blogs are meant, as their definitions suggest, for PERSONAL communication. because of this intent, it is expected that their language be colloquial, informal, and conversational.

in Schneider’s Posting, she attacks librarian bloggers:”

Every blog produced by librarians, no matter how casual, represents librarianship to the world. We are the standard-bearers for accurate, unbiased information. Blogs filled with half-baked “facts,” misrepresentations, copyright violations, and other egregious and unprofessional problems do not represent us well.

No cop-outs, either. I despair of librarians who blog “information” gleaned from rumors or “he-said/she-saids,” only to later brush it off with, “It’s only a blog.” That’s up there with saying, “It’s only a reference question.”

Schneider is arguing for a code of ethics for library bloggers since, when blogging, they apparently are “representing the entire profession”… i think this is a pretty extremist view. isn’t this what we would call PREJUDICE? letting the actions of one person be extrapolated and applied to the whole of the group? “All construction workers make cat calls at women when they walk by… Chinese people are bad drivers, italians are all mob-bosses”… we don’t stand for these generalizations for other groups, so why does Schneider feel that a librarian’s blog need be placed within a rigid framework of rules to protect the sacred image of the librarian?

if i were to have a blog when i was a librarian, and i always dropped the F-bomb on it, would you extrapolate that to mean that all librarians swore too much? i should hope not… I argue that this rigid structure being suggested by Schneider and blood is COMPLETELY contrary to the intended purpose of a blog: to be a PERSONAL journal for PERSONAL reflection and opinion.

as for CORPORATE BLOGS/Departmental blogs… while not the intended purpose, blogs have been used for such things as dry news feeds and event listings… but these uses are INFORMATIONAL and by and large NOT replete with personal commentary (although, they may be OPEN for commenting, the commenting is not provided by the BLOGGER in these instances… it is provided by those who attended the event, or passer-by’s)….so you can see that although BLOGS are used by departments and corporations, they are not (typically) being used in this manner according to their initially intended purpose as a PERSONAL journal.

my 2 cents



6 Responses to “week 3 post:”

  1. mark said

    From Blood‘s article: “The weblog’s greatest strength — its uncensored, unmediated, uncontrolled voice — is also its greatest weakness.” Could one not say that journal, newspaper, magazine, etc. “journalism’s greatest strength – its censored, mediated, controlled voice – is also its greatest weakness?” To a large extent I agree with you, but I will say this: a library blog is inherently a representation of the library, simply because the library is associated with it. But – and here’s the crux of the matter – I seriously doubt that the large majority of library blog visitors expect to encounter “professionalism” when they read library blogs. Thus, library blog casual-ness is not a problem and it definitely shouldn’t be frowned upon.

  2. Karen said

    Good point about library blog visitors expecting to encounter “professionalism” or a “relaxed professionalism” when they read library blogs. However, if they don’t know it’s a blog, they won’t be judging it in that context – and there still are many out there who don’t know what blogs are and don’t understand the relaxed “etiquette” of blogs. I would argue that a library blog must be professional as it is a representation of the library. If libraries decide that the language of their blogs can be different than regular corporate / institutional communications, they may need to let their patrons know that this is the case – explain what a blog is just like we explain what an RSS feed is.

  3. karen t said

    At first I felt a little insulted that Schneider felt the need to lecture librarians about a library code of blogging ethics. One would think that the professionalism that one exhibits in a job should carry over into a blog quite naturally. Even given that the tone of a blog is quite casual. However, I did come across a couple of instances (can’t remember where now!) where I was surprised at the personal nature of the information available. It occured to me that I now know far more about that blogging librarian that I do about the person at my local library that I see almost weekly. So what is it about blogging that encourages people to share information that they never would within a face-to-face conversation? And is that appropriate for a library blog?

  4. Jen said

    There’s a history of weblogs not represented in most definitions but that really helps with the understanding of corporate/multi-user blogs. Of course, I wouldn’t have known this without reading the follwoing blog post by Rochelle:

    When you read her history of blogs and where they came from, multi-user blogs makes sense.

  5. amanda said

    Hi Randy – yes, most of the current definitions of the term “blog” all point to their nature as “personal” (usually followed by the word “journal”, which I also object to), but I think that mostly reflects the fact that these definitions have not evolved enough to capture the various ways blogs are being used today. Regardless of how blogs started (and there is some contention on this as well), they are no longer just “personal journals” and they are no longer just written by individuals! Simple fact.

    I do appreciate your point about Schneider’s generalization in her article. As I’ve mentioned on some of your classmates’ blogs, the whole “blogger code of ethics” idea might be a little extreme, but a lot of it is common sense stuff that anyone who speaks in a public arena should follow (cite your sources, identify your biases, etc.). But making every library & librarian blog stand as a reflection on the profession? Perhaps a bit much!

  6. roldham said

    Oh… the code of ethics for bloggers is definately mostly commonsense… i would hope that everyday communications with peers/workmates/family/friends would operate in accordance to these guidlines as well.

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