A blog is a website where an individual could express their own personal feelings, interests, and opinions. This place is not limited nor should it be. Where all these blogs exist and are making such an impact is in the blogosphere. The blogosphere is the whole blogging world, which consists of all blogs and well as their community. A Blogger is the individual who creates a blog or reacts to a blog. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear of a “Blogger”? Is it the stereotypical picture of a disheveled, computer-addicted individual? You may still be thinking when are they going to move out of their parent’s house and make an impact on society? Well if this is the outlook you had on Blogger’s then you have no clue what they have created. All these so called “basement rats” that blog all day long are making an impact on society and doing so in a remarkable way. Blogging @merica written by Aaron Barlow says, “As of April 2007, Technorati, a major blog monitoring service, claimed to be tracking more than 75 million blogs.” 75 million blogs is a huge number and this means that people are out there expressing their opinions on all sorts of subject matters. Over the past couple of weeks we have been reading
Blogging @merica in class and learning a lot more about the blogosphere. Barlow states in chapter two (pg 36) that, “… blogs have become important to many people’s lives.” Over the past week I have noticed that this is especially true when it comes to public opinion and feeling part of a community. People get attached to blogs and blogging and treat it as if it is a community. The past week I have observed a football blog. I visit this site a couple times a week regularly to find out the latest news on my favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys. This site consists of many users that react to blogs that are posted by editors on the site. What I do not like about the site is the possibility of changing your identity so easily. You do not have to be a member or sign up. All you have to do when commenting is provide a name and an email address. This makes it a lot easier for trolls to disrupt the community norms. For the most part people respected each other’s opinions and defended what they believed in.
A big topic right now in the Cowboy community is the possibility of making the playoffs or not. A discussion arose in one blog Saturday November 8th about playoff hopes. The cowboys are in last place in their division right now and they are competing with two other teams for a wild card spot to make the playoffs. The New York Giants were playing one of those teams and there were two outcomes of the situation. If the Giants won the Cowboys could compete with the two other teams to win the wild card. If the Giants lost it would be harder for the Cowboys to get into the playoffs because all the teams would be close in record and the Cowboys are currently in last place. Many of the users posts you could feel they were offended or thought they were right. This is what makes it seem so realistic because people get really defensive on a subject that will no longer be talked about in 3 months. Many users feel they must post their opinions in this blog and predict the Cowboys wins and losses. I think that people post their reactions on here because they want to feel part of a community they are interested in. They have to feel that they actually are heard and they are making a difference when they post on this site. Chances are low that many people have Dallas Cowboy fan groups in their towns and have meetings in town halls about the future of the team. I think many of Blogger’s surround themselves in communities that they feel they make a difference in. This is a main reason why blogging has become so big. Public opinion plays a huge role on subject matters and especially in the blogosphere.
You can start your own blog or blog in someone else’s and receive instant feedback. Many people do not feel like they can express themselves at work or discuss such topics at home. I think this has become a reason why bloggers are so powerful. As compared to in my observations on the Cowboys blog I found that people like to feed off one another. On November 8th a user (GO DALLAS!! SUPER BOWL-TAMPA!!) posted that the cowboys are a 250 to 1 underdog in going to the Super Bowl. These are the comments that are put in here that stir the pot. Then you get the side of the diehard Cowboy fans that rebel and say they are going to win and support with their opinions. The blogosphere is made up of opinions and this is why they are becoming so strong. When people post their own opinions and the mass start to agree with them, then you start to think this opinion is fact. This outlines the ongoing battle between journalists and bloggers that Barlow speaks of in his book as well.
I posted a couple times in the blog about free agency. I feel that I was well respected and people were there for opinions and heard me out. There were many free agents that were available that the Cowboys could have picked up and they did not. I commented and stated my opinion and stated who I was talking to in the blog. I feel that the conflict in a blog is great for the community. There is no fun if everyone likes the Cowboys because we are all on the same page. If there are people that oppose the Cowboys then we can state our case and vice versa. Of course there were a couple trolls that were in every other blog. A particular troll that stood out was Chris. He was not liked because he went to every blog and compared the presidential election to the Cowboys season. He was saying since a Democratic president has been in office to take over next year, the Cowboys will turn it around. I think the community did not like this because he would just say what he had to say and not contribute much further. He was called names and pretty much disliked by all.
I learned a lot over the time period that we have spent on blogging and the blogosphere. Barlow’s book definitely puts emphasis on the real blogosphere and how people are reacting to the change. Again, the Dallas Cowboys blog was informational and a well respected blog environment. Many people are taking time from their daily lives to contribute to these online communities and I think it is great. Some people do not have a large number of friends and blogging is a great way to feel part of society. Blogging has affected many views and I believe that it will only grow and become more of a national norm.
Barlow, A. (2008). Bloggin America: The New Public Sphere. Westport: Praeger Publishers.
http://cowboysblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2008/11/04/#414166. Retrieved November 4th, 2008, from cowboysblog.dallasnews.com.