Is blog conversation distinctive?

There must have been some research done on this question.  I will have to dig around. I have started to think about this in response to ‘conversations’ with Mike and Lani on this blog and with John via a Skype call this morning.

Mike has commented that discussion is spread across blog comments, tweets, emails, f2f and wiki articles and that ‘All of these combine t make a really vibrant, indepth discussion, but on their own the comments on blogs may not appear to progress things very far’. I have been wondering about this. Is this true? Personally I feel that the conversations that I have on blogs can progress things equally as far (at least for me) as do conversations in other mediums, sometimes further and sometimes not as far.

For me blogging is a different kind of conversation, but I still have to sort out in my own mind why it is different. I like the ‘slowness’ of blogs. The time to reflect. I can relate to a lot of what Lani has said in her comment and in particular to the mixed blessings of having an online voice, when all we might be doing in essence is ‘talking to ourselves in an open space’, but just making this available to others if they are interested.

But then as John pointed out when I spoke to him via Skype this morning, people blog for very different reasons, for example some people blog with the intention of teaching. I suppose people might also blog to reflect, to connect, to learn from others, to share with others, to express themselves, to provide a service, to educate and so on. Why else might people blog and why did people voluntarily blog on the CCK08 course, sometimes in preference to the other forms of communication that Mike mentions? And how do some people manage to find an online voice which is listened to when others don’t? What is distinctive about blogging? And is there anything distinctive about people who feel ‘at home’ in this medium?

Are these questions only new to me or have they already been answered elsewhere?

4 thoughts on “Is blog conversation distinctive?

  1. suifaijohnmak February 23, 2009 / 1:01 pm

    Jenny, That’s an excellent summary of some of the major reasons of blogging. As discussed, there are many others which could only be revealed via private chat. And I suspect that we could only reveal some “truths” even through formal research, based on “privacy”, and “cultural reasons”.
    Here are some of my thoughts on Skype conversation (hope that it could echo with your conversation on whether blogging is distinctive):
    I am delighted that we have opened up another way of connection – the Skype tele-conferencing (or over the phone). I greatly appreciate your wonderful sharing of views over Skepe. As it is a synchronous two-way communication, I have gained a deeper understanding of your perspectives as well as my own thinking. This strengthens our connections significantly. I am wondering if such Skype conversation could be an alternative “private” blogging that people would like to consider in future connections. Instead of writing, we talk and listen, and actively exchange views. Is such action learning more effective?
    We could agree on actions promptly, and ask questions to clarify our different views. At times, this could be a challenge for me, as I have to remind myself in focussing on certain topic ( based on a “professional approach”). You might have noted that I prefer an informal approach in the chat, as this is our first one. And I was both excited and eager to share nearly everything with you. Just can’t wait for that conversation to slip away. Such experience could hardly be gained from a blog.
    So, I found this an interesting experience in that all the myths, assumptions and mysterious character and appearance of a person may be revealed gradually in such a tele-conference. Whereas in blogging, you could still keep it as a suspense, for months, or even years. Curiosity to know about a blogger may be another important motivation towards reading a blog too! By the time when you talk and meet with the blogger face to face, what will be your impression? Ah Ha! Guess my age!
    Don’t you think so?
    Again, what a great chat we have! Million thanks. 🙂
    John

  2. Matthias Melcher February 23, 2009 / 11:02 pm

    And is there anything distinctive about people who feel ‘at home’ in this medium?” I suspect it is a distinctive place on the orality vs. literacy spectrum, on the reader vs. participant spectrum, and (especially) on the synchronous vs. asynchronous spectrum. Great that you are asking for the research.

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