Sunday, May 10, 2009
Saturday, May 9, 2009
On the Internet, everybody is a millenarian. Internet journalism, according to those who produce manifestos on its behalf, represents a world-historical development—not so much because of the expressive power of the new medium as because of its accessibility to producers and consumers. That permits it to break the long-standing choke hold on public information and discussion that the traditional media—usually known, when this argument is made, as “gatekeepers” or “the priesthood”—have supposedly been able to maintain up to now. “Millions of Americans who were once in awe of the punditocracy now realize that anyone can do this stuff—and that many unknowns can do it better than the lords of the profession,” Glenn Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor who operates one of the leading blogs, Instapundit, writes, typically, in his new book, “An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government and Other Goliaths.”
The rhetoric about Internet journalism produced by Reynolds and many others is plausible only because it conflates several distinct categories of material that are widely available online and didn’t use to be. One is pure opinion, especially political opinion, which the Internet has made infinitely easy to purvey. Another is information originally published in other media—everything from Chilean newspaper stories and entries in German encyclopedias to papers presented at Micronesian conferences on accounting methods—which one can find instantly on search and aggregation sites. Lately, grand journalistic claims have been made on behalf of material produced specifically for Web sites by people who don’t have jobs with news organizations. According to a study published last month by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, there are twelve million bloggers in the United States, and thirty-four per cent of them consider blogging to be a form of journalism. That would add up to more than four million newly minted journalists just among the ranks of American bloggers. If you add everyone abroad, and everyone who practices other forms of Web journalism, the profession must have increased in size a thousandfold over the last decade.
As the Pew study makes clear, most bloggers see themselves as engaging only in personal expression; they don’t inspire the biggest claims currently being made for Internet journalism. The category that inspires the most soaring rhetoric about supplanting traditional news organizations is “citizen journalism,” meaning sites that publish contributions of people who don’t have jobs with news organizations but are performing a similar function.
Citizen journalists are supposedly inspired amateurs who find out what’s going on in the places where they live and work, and who bring us a fuller, richer picture of the world than we get from familiar news organizations, while sparing us the pomposity and preening that journalists often display. Hong Eun-taek, the editor-in-chief of perhaps the biggest citizen-journalism site, Oh My News, which is based in Seoul and has a staff of editors managing about forty thousand volunteer contributors, has posted a brief manifesto, which says, “Traditional means of news gathering and dissemination are quickly falling behind the new paradigm. . . . We believe news is something that is made not only by a George W. Bush or a Bill Gates but, more importantly, by people who are all allowed to think together. The news is a form of collective thinking. It is the ideas and minds of the people that are changing the world, when they are heard.”
That’s the catechism, but what has citizen journalism actually brought us? It’s a difficult question, in part because many of the truest believers are very good at making life unpleasant for doubters, through relentless sneering. Thus far, no “traditional journalist” has been silly enough to own up to and defend the idea of belonging to an élite from which ordinary citizens are barred. But sometimes one will unwittingly toss a chunk of red meat to the new-media visionaries by appearing not to accord the Internet revolution the full measure of respect it deserves—as John Markoff, a technology reporter for the Times, did in 2003 in an interview with Online Journalism Review. Jeff Jarvis, a veteran editor, publisher, and columnist, and, starting in September, a professor at the City University of New York’s new journalism school, posted the interview on his blog, BuzzMachine, with his own post-facto reactions added, so that it reads, in part, this way:
MARKOFF: I certainly can see that scenario, where all these new technologies may only be good enough to destroy all the old standards but not create something better to replace them with. I think that’s certainly one scenario.
JARVIS: Pardon me for interrupting, but that made no frigging sense whatsoever. Can you parse that for me, Mr. Markoff? Or do you need an editor to speak sense? How do new standards “destroy” old standards? Something won’t become a “standard” unless it is accepted by someone in power—the publishers or the audiences. This isn’t a game of PacMan.
MARKOFF: The other possibility right now—it sometimes seems we have a world full of bloggers and that blogging is the future of journalism, or at least that’s what the bloggers argue, and to my mind, it’s not clear yet whether blogging is anything more than CB radio.
JARVIS: The reference is as old-farty and out-of-date as the sentiment. It’s clear that Markoff isn’t reading weblogs and doesn’t know what’s there.
Hey, fool, that’s your audience talking there. You should want to listen to what they have to say. You are, after all, spending your living writing for them. If you were a reporter worth a damn, you’d care to know what the marketplace cares about. But, no, you’re the mighty NYT guy. You don’t need no stinking audience. You don’t need ears. You only need a mouth.
To live up to its billing, Internet journalism has to meet high standards both conceptually and practically: the medium has to be revolutionary, and the journalism has to be good. The quality of Internet journalism is bound to improve over time, especially if more of the virtues of traditional journalism migrate to the Internet. But, although the medium has great capabilities, especially the way it opens out and speeds up the discourse, it is not quite as different from what has gone before as its advocates are saying.
Societies create structures of authority for producing and distributing knowledge, information, and opinion. These structures are always waxing and waning, depending not only on the invention of new means of communication but also on political, cultural, and economic developments. An interesting new book about this came out last year in Britain under the daunting title “Representation and Misrepresentation in Later Stuart Britain: Partisanship and Political Culture.” It is set in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and although its author, Mark Knights, who teaches at the University of East Anglia, does not make explicit comparisons to the present, it seems obvious that such comparisons are on his mind.
The “new media” of later Stuart Britain were pamphlets and periodicals, made possible not only by the advent of the printing press but by the relaxation of government censorship and licensing regimes, by political unrest, and by urbanization (which created audiences for public debate). Today, the best known of the periodicals is Addison and Steele’s Spectator, but it was one of dozens that proliferated almost explosively in the early seventeen-hundreds, including The Tatler, The Post Boy, The Medley, and The British Apollo. The most famous of the pamphleteers was Daniel Defoe, but there were hundreds of others, including Thomas Sprat, the author of “A True Account and Declaration of the Horrid Conspiracy Against the Late King” (1685), and Charles Leslie, the author of “The Wolf Stript of His Shepherd’s Cloathing” (1704). These voices entered a public conversation that had been narrowly restricted, mainly to holders of official positions in church and state. They were the bloggers and citizen journalists of their day, and their influence was far greater (though their audiences were far smaller) than what anybody on the Internet has yet achieved.
As media, Knights points out, both pamphlets and periodicals were radically transformative in their capabilities. Pamphlets were a mass medium with a short lead time—cheap, transportable, and easily accessible to people of all classes and political inclinations. They were, as Knights puts it, “capable of assuming different forms (letters, dialogues, essays, refutations, vindications, and so on)” and, he adds, were “ideally suited to making a public statement at a particular moment.” Periodicals were, by the standards of the day, “a sort of interactive entertainment,” because of the invention of letters to the editor and because publications were constantly responding to their readers and to one another.
Then as now, the new media in their fresh youth produced a distinctive, hot-tempered rhetorical style. Knights writes, “Polemical print . . . challenged conventional notions of how rhetoric worked and was a medium that facilitated slander, polemic, and satire. It delighted in mocking or even abusive criticism, in part because of the conventions of anonymity.” But one of Knights’s most useful observations is that this was a self-limiting phenomenon. Each side in what Knights understands, properly, as the media front in a merciless political struggle between Whigs and Tories soon began accusing the other of trafficking in lies, distortions, conspiracy theories, and special pleading, and presenting itself as the avatar of the public interest, civil discourse, and epistemologically derived truth. Knights sees this genteeler style of expression as just another political tactic, but it nonetheless drove print publication toward a more reasoned, less inflamed rhetorical stance, which went along with a partial settling down of British politics from hot war between the parties to cold. (Full-dress British newspapers, like the Times and the Guardian, did not emerge until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, well into this calmer period and long after Knights ends his story.) At least in part, Internet journalism will surely repeat the cycle, and will begin to differentiate itself tonally, by trying to sound responsible and trustworthy in the hope of building a larger, possibly paying audience.
American journalism began, roughly speaking, on the later Stuart Britain model; during Colonial times it was dominated by fiery political speechmakers, like Thomas Paine. All those uplifting statements by the Founders about freedom of the press were almost certainly produced with pamphleteers in mind. When, in the early nineteenth century, political parties and fast cylinder printing presses developed, American journalism became mainly a branch of the party system, with very little pretense to neutral authority or ownership of the facts.
A related development was the sensational penny press, which served the big cities, whose populations were swollen with immigrants from rural America and abroad. It produced powerful local newspapers, but it’s hard to think of them as fitting the priesthood model. William Randolph Hearst’s New York papers, the leading examples, were flamboyant, populist, opinionated, and thoroughly disreputable. They influenced politics, but that is different from saying, as Glenn Reynolds says of the Hearst papers, that they “set the agenda for public discussion.” Most of the formal means of generating information that are familiar in America today—objective journalism is only one; others are modern academic research, professional licensing, and think tanks—were created, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, explicitly to counter the populist inclinations of various institutions, one of which was the big media.
In fact, what the prophets of Internet journalism believe themselves to be fighting against—journalism in the hands of an enthroned few, who speak in a voice of phony, unearned authority to the passive masses—is, as a historical phenomenon, mainly a straw man. Even after the Second World War, some American cities still had several furiously battling papers, on the model of “The Front Page.” There were always small political magazines of all persuasions, and books written in the spirit of the old pamphlets, and, later in the twentieth century, alternative weeklies and dissenting journalists like I. F. Stone. When journalism was at its most blandly authoritative—probably in the period when the three television broadcast networks were in their heyday and local newspaper monopoly was beginning to become the rule—so were American politics and culture, and you have to be very media-centric to believe that the press established the tone of national life rather than vice versa.
Every new medium generates its own set of personalities and forms. Internet journalism is a huge tent that encompasses sites from traditional news organizations; Web-only magazines like Slate and Salon; sites like Daily Kos and NewsMax, which use some notional connection to the news to function as influential political actors; and aggregation sites (for instance, Arts & Letters Daily and Indy Media) that bring together an astonishingly wide range of disparate material in a particular category. The more ambitious blogs, taken together, function as a form of fast-moving, densely cross-referential pamphleteering—an open forum for every conceivable opinion that can’t make its way into the big media, or, in the case of the millions of purely personal blogs, simply an individual’s take on life. The Internet is also a venue for press criticism (“We can fact-check your ass!” is one of the familiar rallying cries of the blogosphere) and a major research library of bloopers, outtakes, pranks, jokes, and embarrassing performances by big shots. But none of that yet rises to the level of a journalistic culture rich enough to compete in a serious way with the old media—to function as a replacement rather than an addendum.
The most fervent believers in the transforming potential of Internet journalism are operating not only on faith in its achievements, even if they lie mainly in the future, but on a certainty that the old media, in selecting what to publish and broadcast, make horrible and, even worse, ignobly motivated mistakes. They are politically biased, or they are ignoring or suppressing important stories, or they are out of touch with ordinary people’s concerns, or they are merely passive transmitters of official utterances. The more that traditional journalism appears to be an old-fashioned captive press, the more providential the Internet looks.
Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at New York University who was the leading champion of “civic journalism” even before there was an Internet, wrote in the Washington Post in June that he started his blog, PressThink, because “I was tired of passing my ideas through editors who forced me to observe the silences they kept as professional journalists. The day after President Bush was re-elected in 2004, I suggested on my blog that at least some news organizations should consider themselves the opposition to the White House. Only by going into opposition, I argued, could the press really tell the story of the Bush administration’s vast expansion of executive power. That notion simply hadn’t been discussed in mainstream newsrooms, which had always been able to limit debate about what is and isn’t the job of the journalist. But now that amateurs had joined pros in the press zone, newsrooms couldn’t afford not to debate their practices.”
In PressThink, Rosen now has the forum that he didn’t before; and last week he announced the launch of a new venture, called NewAssignment.Net, in which a “smart mob” of donors would pay journalists to pursue “stories the regular news media doesn’t do, can’t do, wouldn’t do, or already screwed up.” The key to the idea, in Rosen’s mind, is to give “people formerly known as the audience” the assigning power previously reserved for editors. “NewAssignment.Net would be a case of journalism without the media,” he wrote on PressThink. “That’s the beauty part.”
Even before the advent of NewAssignment.Net, and even for people who don’t blog, there is a lot more opportunity to talk back to news organizations than there used to be. In their Internet versions, most traditional news organizations make their reporters available to answer readers’ questions and, often, permit readers to post their own material. Being able to see this as the advent of true democracy in what had been a media oligarchy makes it much easier to argue that Internet journalism has already achieved great things.
Still: Is the Internet a mere safety valve, a salon des refusés, or does it actually produce original information beyond the realm of opinion and comment? It ought to raise suspicion that we so often hear the same menu of examples in support of its achievements: bloggers took down the 2004 “60 Minutes” report on President Bush’s National Guard service and, with it, Dan Rather’s career; bloggers put Trent Lott’s remarks in apparent praise of the Jim Crow era front and center, and thereby deposed him as Senate majority leader.
The best original Internet journalism happens more often by accident, when smart and curious people with access to means of communication are at the scene of a sudden disaster. Any time that big news happens unexpectedly, or in remote and dangerous places, there is more raw information available right away on the Internet than through established news organizations. The most memorable photographs of the London terrorist bombing last summer were taken by subway riders using cell phones, not by news photographers, who didn’t have time to get there. There were more ordinary people than paid reporters posting information when the tsunami first hit South Asia, in 2004, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, in 2005, and when Israeli bombs hit Beirut this summer. I am in an especially good position to appreciate the benefits of citizen journalism at such moments, because it helped save my father and stepmother’s lives when they were stranded in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: the citizen portions of the Web sites of local news organizations were, for a crucial day or two, one of the best places to get information about how to drive out of the city. But, over time, the best information about why the hurricane destroyed so much of the city came from reporters, not citizens.
Eyewitness accounts and information-sharing during sudden disasters are welcome, even if they don’t provide a complete report of what is going on in a particular situation. And that is what citizen journalism is supposed to do: keep up with public affairs, especially locally, year in and year out, even when there’s no disaster. Citizen journalists bear a heavy theoretical load. They ought to be fanning out like a great army, covering not just what professional journalists cover, as well or better, but also much that they ignore. Great citizen journalism is like the imagined Northwest Passage—it has to exist in order to prove that citizens can learn about public life without the mediation of professionals. But when one reads it, after having been exposed to the buildup, it is nearly impossible not to think, This is what all the fuss is about?
Oh My News seems to attract far more readers than any other citizen-journalism site—about six hundred thousand daily by its own count. One day in June, readers of the English-language edition found this lead story: “Printable Robots: Advances in Inkjet Technology Forecast Robotic Origami,” by Gregory Daigle. It begins:
From the diminutive ASIMO from Honda to the colossus in the animated film Iron Giant, kids around the world know that robots are cool yet complex machines. Advances in robotics, fuel plans from NASA that read like science fiction movie scripts.
Back on Earth, what can we expect over the next few years in robot technology for the consumer?
Reprogram your Roomba? Boring.
Hack your Aibo robot dog? Been there.
Print your own robot? Whoa!
On the same day, Barista of Bloomfield Avenue, the nom de Web of Debbie Galant, who lives in a suburban town in New Jersey and is one of the most esteemed “hyperlocal bloggers” in the country, led with a picture from her recent vacation in the Berkshires. The next item was “Hazing Goes Loony Tunes,” and here it is in its entirety:
Word on the sidewalk is that Glen Ridge officialdom pretty much defeated the class of 2007 in the annual senior-on-freshman hazing ritual yesterday by making the rising seniors stay after school for several minutes in order to give freshmen a head start to run home. We have reports that seniors in cars, once released from school, searched for slow-moving freshman prey, while Glen Ridge police officers in cars closely tracked any cars decorated with class of 2007 regalia. Of course, if any freshman got pummelled with mayonnaise, we want to know about it.
What is generally considered to be the most complete local citizen-journalism site in the United States, the Northwest Voice, in Bakersfield, California (which also has a print version and is owned by the big daily paper in town), led with a story called “A Boost for Business Women,” which began:
So long, Corporate World.
Hello, business ownership—family time, and happiness.
At least, that’s how Northwest resident Jennifer Meadors feels after the former commercial banking professional started her own business for Arbonne International, a skin care company, about eight months ago. So far, it’s been successful, professionally and personally.
Another much praised citizen-journalism site is Backfence.com, headquartered in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Last month, it sponsored a contest to pick the two best citizen-journalism stories; the prize was a free trip to a conference held by Oh My News, in Seoul. One winner was Liz Milner, of Reston, Virginia, for a story that began this way:
Among the many definitions of “hero” given in The American Heritage Dictionary is “A person noted for special achievement in a particular field.” Reston is a community of creative people, so it seems only right that our heroes should be paragons of creativity. Therefore, I’m nominating Reston musician and freelance writer, Ralph Lee Smith for the post of “Local Hero, Creative Category.”
Through his performances, recordings, writings teaching and museum exhibitions, this 78-year-old Reston resident has helped bring new life to an art form that had been on the verge of extinction—the art of playing the mountain dulcimer. He has helped to popularize the repertoire for this instrument so that now mountain music is everywhere—even in slick Hollywood films.
In other words, the content of most citizen journalism will be familiar to anybody who has ever read a church or community newsletter—it’s heartwarming and it probably adds to the store of good things in the world, but it does not mount the collective challenge to power which the traditional media are supposedly too timid to take up. Often the most journalistically impressive material on one of the “hyperlocal” citizen-journalism sites has links to professional journalism, as in the Northwest Voice, or Chi-Town Daily News, where much of the material is written by students at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, who are in training to take up full-time jobs in news organizations. At the highest level of journalistic achievement, the reporting that revealed the civil-liberties encroachments of the war on terror, which has upset the Bush Administration, has come from old-fashioned big-city newspapers and television networks, not Internet journalists; day by day, most independent accounts of world events have come from the same traditional sources. Even at its best and most ambitious, citizen journalism reads like a decent Op-Ed page, and not one that offers daring, brilliant, forbidden opinions that would otherwise be unavailable. Most citizen journalism reaches very small and specialized audiences and is proudly minor in its concerns. David Weinberger, another advocate of new-media journalism, has summarized the situation with a witty play on Andy Warhol’s maxim: “On the Web, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.”
Reporting—meaning the tradition by which a member of a distinct occupational category gets to cross the usual bounds of geography and class, to go where important things are happening, to ask powerful people blunt and impertinent questions, and to report back, reliably and in plain language, to a general audience—is a distinctive, fairly recent invention. It probably started in the United States, in the mid-nineteenth century, long after the Founders wrote the First Amendment. It has spread—and it continues to spread—around the world. It is a powerful social tool, because it provides citizens with an independent source of information about the state and other holders of power. It sounds obvious, but reporting requires reporters. They don’t have to be priests or gatekeepers or even paid professionals; they just have to go out and do the work.
The Internet is not unfriendly to reporting; potentially, it is the best reporting medium ever invented. A few places, like the site on Yahoo! operated by Kevin Sites, consistently offer good journalism that has a distinctly Internet, rather than repurposed, feeling. To keep pushing in that direction, though, requires that we hold up original reporting as a virtue and use the Internet to find new ways of presenting fresh material—which, inescapably, will wind up being produced by people who do that full time, not “citizens” with day jobs.Journalism is not in a period of maximal self-confidence right now, and the Internet’s cheerleaders are practically laboratory specimens of maximal self-confidence. They have got the rhetorical upper hand; traditional journalists answering their challenges often sound either clueless or cowed and apologetic. As of now, though, there is not much relation between claims for the possibilities inherent in journalist-free journalism and what the people engaged in that pursuit are actually producing. As journalism moves to the Internet, the main project ought to be moving reporters there, not stripping them away.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
"If journalists were the Fourth Estate, bloggers are becoming the Fifth Estate."
Don't know if we should talk about this, but maybe talk how some bloggers actually turn professional.
On a completely different angle, maybe look at how politicians use twitter and facebook to "interact" with their constituents.
And how soldiers in the Iraq & Afghan war have been getting their views out to the public after the main-stream media "embedded" themselves with the military.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Ive received some information from a friend , who has her ...own "cyber journal" I suppose ( rather than a blog).
Shes sent me some info about bloggers in Singapore which could be a jumping off point for our research. Shes kindly allowing me to reprint it here but I'm omitting her name.
A brief outline of blogging in Singapore:
been in the newspapers several times in articles about famous local bloggers. there was also a youth forum and I think some of them were involved in putting up posts about random stuff /issues that they waned to talk about. I never really looked at any of that. Dawn Yang and Xiaxue recently got into a legal dispute because Xiaxue was apparently slandering dawn or something on her blog. It was all over their blogs they got their lawyers involved. and people actually care. at one point (when she was just gaining recognition), Dawn Yang was the no. 1 searched name on google singpore. she became famous because apparently
she was voted the hottest blogger in singapore or something. and then people started comparing old photos of her with current ones and then rumours of plastc surgery. it was really bitchy. lots of people (jealous of her newfound fame guess) who were her classmates in school came forward with old prom photos. people were actually dissecting her face, her features, her eyes her nose etc. all pics
and dicussions were posted online on blogs, web forums etc. some websites
even got started with the sole intension of discussing her did
she-did she not plastic surgery. after that, there were also rumours that she modelled her plastic surgery (new face) after another girl called arissa yeo(very pretty, rich singaporean studying in the US) the details about this one are abit sketchy. from what i heard, they may have crossed paths in the US and i'm not too sure abt the rest. people accused dawn of trying to copy arissa's identity, saying she was studying at USC when she was actually studying in another university (don't know how true this is). you might have a dig a bit deper but arissa also has a website, not a blog though. mostly pics. as you can see, it was like a witch trial. public fascination with this whole thing really amazed me. all the while the plastic surgery enquiry thing was happening
almost completely online, it never got to other forms of media. I think she got offered a contract with an agency, to act or become a
star or something. she even left Singapore for some time to escape the
madness. it became a nationwide obsession, at least amongst the youth. but at that time, xiaxue had already
been around for some time, she probably IS
the most famous blogger in singapore, like she claims. she's very
controversial, always about expressing her opinion. i'm pretty sure both
girls get paid tons of money to advertse products on their
blog and get given free stuff. xiaxue (not sure whether it's still on now) even had her own television show. and she did plastic surgery to correct her nose on the show. like, for real. the younger bloggers don't really talk about much stuff of substance, from what you can see on their blogs. it's usually pictures of themselves, what they bought, them wearing clothes/outfits, food they eat, alot of clubbing photos.
the older bloggers (I think they also have podcasts
now)actually discuss politics and the economy and stuff that is current and relevant to society. one of them, im not too sure if it's mr brown or miyagi had his own newspaper column. I think he mght be trained in journalism or something? not too sure. anyway, one time he wrote something that might have been about the
singapore government or about politics or something. it wasn't
criticising the government per se, i don't even know what it was about 100%. but the next thing you know, he gets fired and the column is shut down. it was HIS column, under HIS name and then it was gone. so it was back to the internet. he was prob doing both newspaper column and blog/website simultaneously anyway but now it's solely the internet and podcasts, backed up by sponsors. huge following. and then there they can openly mock the government and things that happen in the national service (army) - eg. the 'white horse' platoon is like a myth. supposedly all the minister's sons or sons of influential or rich people in singapore get put in a platoon and they don't really have to do anything, usually training in the army is v. tough. there hasn't been any CONCRETE evidence this preferential treatment exists. i mean, you hear things from your friends who have been in the army but nothing solid, you
know? and they were making fun of that, all kinds of singaporean issues.one time, they (i think mr brown and mr miyagi MIGHT
collaborate on podcasts) took something that prime minister was saying from a national speech (he said 'mai ham' instead of 'mai hiam') and remixed it to black eyed peas "my humps" it was hilarious. don't know how they got away with that. it's confusing. very
political context. look up 'james gomez' and 'cctv' on wikipedia it will explain the whole situation. it happened during
the singapore elections. something about james gomez (from the opposition party, i think?) not submitting some form and
he was caught on cctv. the ruling party (PAP has been ruling singaporen since we gained independence, and it feels threatened by any sign of opposition) used that against him. i think james gomez became a scapegoat. and so the whole thing became a huge fiasco. and mr brown and miyagi were mocking the whole 'CCTV' thing because
the ruling party kept harping on it and saying "we caught you on
cctv!". so mr brown/miyagi did a podcast pretending to be noodle seller
and customer. the customer said specifically that he didn't want 'hiam" (don't know what food that is). 'mai' just means 'no'. like me saying 'no onions'. get it? it's actually in a dialect, not mandarin. and then the noodle seller
made the food with the 'hiam'and then they start arguing and then the
customer demanded to check the CCTV. it was ridiculously funny! it was a
satire meant to laugh at the whole situation. the Prime minister addressed it during his speech. obviously he knew what was going on out there and was annoyed that
people were mocking the situation but in his speech he accidentally
said 'ham' instead of 'hiam' and mr brown/miyago cut out those 2 words and recorded him saying it over and over again throughout the song, to the beat of the black eyed peas. mocking him, yet again. singpoare is a repressed society in the sense that there is no freedom of speech. the media is governed/censored so tightly by the government, you n ever know whether to believe what you're seeing int he papers cos it's all from the government's point of view. so i guess this is one way that they can express their opinions. you should listen to some of their podcasts, see if youunderstand. there might be alot of singlish or local slang so...
some research on the 'speaker's corner' in singapore. there was an article
written about it, it might've been GQ/esquire - i came across it by accident, can't remember the title of the article but it is a very good example to use with regards to 'freedom of speech' in singapore. and it also makes one ponder the notion of a democracy. a democracy is supposed to entail freedom of speech (amongst
other factors), so can a democracy still be considered a democracy without it? there was an article written in 1993 about singapore. "disneyland with a death penalty" i think. it's available
online. the GQ/esquire article was obviously making a reference to this '93 article. if i'm not wrong, the GQ/esquire article was called "how disneyland with a death penalty came of age" or something to that extent. i tried searching for it online so i could
give you the link but i couldn't really find it (it's a gd article for your
friend, as i mentioned above, quite a big portion of it covers the speaker's
corner - v. interesting stuff, stuff even i never knew before) if you look
it up, you can probably find most of the topics mentioned below online.
except for all the hate-sites/any sites put up about dawn yang, i'm sure now that she has legal representation, they got the websites shut down "
Sunday, April 5, 2009
"Just as defining email in terms of postal mail fails to capture
aspects of email, defining blogging in metaphorical terms also fails to
capture its essence."
University of California, Berkeley
Media Ecology Conference 2005
This is a topical, semi-annotated bibliography of academic research on LiveJournal. Please email alice marwick if you have additions, corrections, or suggestions. The topic organization is only meant to serve as a rough taxonomy for surveying the field rather than anything authoritative - please let me know if you think a particular entry should be recategorized.
Thanks to danah boyd for her initial research on this topic. This bibliography was originally commissioned by LiveJournal, Inc.
Blogs: LJ as a Blog, Definitions, and Descriptions of Blogging
Communities and Subcultures
Descriptive Studies of Social Practice on LJ
General Descriptive Studies of LJ
Diaries, Journals and Genre
FOAF and the Semantic Web
Moods and Emotions
Networks, Social Networks, and Social Network Analysis
Relationships to Other Networks
Privacy and Anonymity
Blogs: LJ as a Blog, Definitions, and Descriptions of Blogging
Blog-related studies conceptualize LiveJournal as a blogging site, often in conjunction with Blogger, Blogspot, and Xanga. Some are general sociodemographic studies of bloggers and their habits and motivations (Kumar et. al. 2004; boyd 2006), while others are more abstract conceptualizations of blogs (Baoill 2004; Schmidt 2007). A subset of location-related papers position LJ in a global context to discuss location and mapping of the blogosphere (Lin & Halavais 2004; Gopal 2007).
Baoill, A. Ó. (2004). Conceptualizing the Weblog: Understanding What It Is In Order To Imagine What It Can Be. Interfacings: A Journal of Contemporary Media Studies. http://www.comm.uiuc.edu/icr/interfacings.
boyd, D. (2006). A Blogger's Blog: Exploring the Definition of a Medium. Reconstruction, 6(4). http://reconstruction.eserver.org/064/boyd.shtml.
Elgersma, E., & Rijke, M. D. (2008). Personal vs. non-personal blogs: Initial classification experiments. In Proceedings of the 31st annual international ACM SIGIR conference on Research and development in information retrieval (pp. 723-724). Singapore, Singapore: ACM.
Glance, N., Hurst, M., & Tomokiyo, T. (2004). BlogPulse: Automated Trend Discovery for Weblogs. WWW 2004 Workshop on the Weblogging Ecosystem: Aggregation, Analysis and Dynamics, 2004.
Graves, L. (2007). The Affordances of Blogging: A Case Study in Culture and Technological Effects. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 31(4), 331-346.
IP, R. K. F., & Wagner, C. (2008). Weblogging: A study of social computing and its impact on organizations. Decision Support Systems, 45(2), 242-250.
Kumar, R., Novak, J., Raghavan, P., & Tomkins, A. (2004). Structure and Evolution of Blogspace. Communications of the ACM, 47(12), 35-39.
Schmidt, J. (2007). Blogging Practices: An Analytical Framework. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), Article 13. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol12/issue4/schmidt.html
Shirky, C. (2005). A Group is Its Own Worst Enemy. In The Best Software Writing I, Joel Spolsky, ed., 183-209. New York: Apress.
Venolia, G. (2004). A Matter of Life or Death: Modeling Blog Mortality. Microsoft Research Report, Redmond, WA. http://research.microsoft.com/~ginav/ljmodeling.pdf
Su, N., Wang, Y., Mark, G., Aiyelokun, T., & Nakano, T. (2005). A Bosom Buddy Afar Brings a Distant Land Near: Are Bloggers a Global Community? In Communities and Technologies 2005, 171-190. New York: Springer.
Gopal, S. (2007). The evolving social geography of blogs. In Societies and Cities in the Age of Instant Access, Harvey J. Miller, Ed. Berlin: Springer, 275-294.
Hurst, M., & Intelliseek, I. (2005). GIS [Geographical Information Systems] and the blogosphere. WWW2005, 2nd Annual Workshop on the Blogging Ecosystem: Aggregation, Analysis and Dynamics.
Lin, J., & Halavais, A. (2004). Mapping the blogosphere in America. Workshop on the Weblogging Ecosystem, 13th International World Wide Web Conference.
Communities and Subcultures
These papers examine particular subcultures on LJ, including studies of fanfiction (Busse 2005, 2006; Thomas 2007) gamers (Aupperle 2007), Goths (Hodkinson 2006), photobloggers (Cohen 2005) and vampire enthusiasts (Mellins 2008). They are primarily qualitative and in most case discuss LJ as part of a larger web of technology used by the subculture.
Aupperle, C. (2007). Online Social Interactions of Gamers: A Case Study of LiveJournal Communities. MA Thesis, State University of New York Institute of Technology.
Busse, K. (2005). 'Digital get down': Postmodern boy band slash and the queer female space. Eroticism in American Culture, C. Malcolm and J. Nyman, Eds. Gdansk: Gdansk Univ. Press, 103-25.
Busse, K. (2006). My Life Is a WIP on My LJ: Slashing the Slasher and the Reality of Celebrity and Internet Performances. In Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet: New Essays, K. Hellekson and K. Busse, Eds. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 207-24.
Cohen, K. R. (2005). What does the photoblog want? Media, 2005(6), 883-901.
Hodkinson, P. (2006). Subcultural Blogging? Online Journals and Group Involvement among UK Goths. In Use of Blogs, A. Bruns and J. Jacobs, Eds. New York: Peter Lang, 187-198.
Kraemer, J. Beyond the Meaning of Style: Cultural Capital, Social Networks and Youth Subculture. MA Thesis, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL. http://www.styleovercontent.com/public/jkraemer-thesis.pdf
Lawrence, K. F. (2007). The Web of Community Trust - Amateur Fiction Online: A Case Study in Community Focused Design for the Semantic Web. Dissertation, University of Southampton. http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/14704/.
Mellins, M. (2008). The female vampire community and online social networks: Virtual celebrity and mini communities: Initial thoughts. International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, 4(2), 254-258.
Seko, Y. (2007). Online Suicidal Murmurs: Analyzing Self-Destructive Discourses in the Blogosphere. MA Thesis, Graduate Program in Communication and Culture, York University (Toronto, Ontario, Canada).
Thomas, A. (2007). Blurring and Breaking through the Boundaries of Narrative, Literacy, and Identity in Adolescent Fan Fiction. In A New Literacies Sampler, Eds. Michele Knobel and Colin Lankshear, New Literacies & Digital Epistemologies. Vol. 29, 137-166. New York: Peter Lang.
Tosenberger, C. (2008a). "Oh my God, the Fanfiction!": Dumbledore's Outing and the Online Harry Potter Fandom. Children's Literature Association Quarterly, 33(2), 200-206.
Tosenberger, C. (2008b). Homosexuality at the Online Hogwarts: Harry Potter Slash Fanfiction. Children's Literature, 36, 185-207.
Descriptive Studies of Social Practice on LJ
These studies understand LJ as a unique space with its own particularities, rather than a social network or a blog. As a result, this category has perhaps the most illuminating academic work on LJ, delving into the specifics of user practice. For instance, both Cherny (2005) and Fono & Raynes-Goldie (2005) discuss the implications of the "Friends List" for user interaction, and Raynes-Goldie discusses how LJ's features and communities encourage collective knowledge production (2004). More specifically, Erika Pearson concludes that digital gifts within LJ serve to strengthen social bonds, while Rebaza concludes that icons are used in place of face-to-face gesture (2008) and Tarkowski concentrates on the peer production of icons as a creative, participatory activity (2005).
General Descriptive Studies of LJ
Bandlow, A., & Jensen, P. (2002a). LiveJournal: Personal thoughts in a public forum. Unpublished midterm paper for "The Design of Online Communities" class (CS6470). Georgia Institute of Technology.
Bandlow, A., & Jensen, P. (2002b). LiveJournal: Augmenting the community. Unpublished final paper for "The Design of Online Communities" class (CS6470). Georgia Institute of Technology.
Cherny, L. (2005). Gakking Memes: LiveJournal "Conversation". The Mathworks, Report. Retrieved from http://www.socialcomputingresearch.net/workshop/Cherny2005.
King, A., & Martinez, J. (2005). LiveJournal: Content, Genre, and Personal Security, Unpublished research paper for INF 397C: Introduction to Research in Information Studies. University of Texas at Austin.
MacKinnon, I., & Warren, R. H. (2006). Age and geographic analysis of the LiveJournal social network (p. 18). Technical Report CS-2006-12, School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo.
Medynskiy, Y. & Kaye, J. (2005b). Characterizing LiveJournal: SCCs, LiveRank, & Six Degrees. Cornell Information Science Technical Report.
Raynes-Goldie, K. (2004). Pulling sense out of today's informational chaos: LiveJournal as a site of knowledge creation and sharing. First Monday, 9(12). Retrieved from http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue9_12/raynes/.
Shklovski, I., & Handel, M. (2007) The Journal of La Mancha, or, How to Get 1000 People to Attack an Online Windmill. Unpublished report.
Mishne, G., & Glance, N. (2006). Leave a reply: An analysis of weblog comments. In Weblogging Ecosystem: Aggregation, Analysis and Dynamics. Edinburgh, UK.
Pearson, Erika. (2007). Digital gifts: participation and exchange in LiveJournal communities. First Monday, 12(5). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue12_5/pearson/index.html.
Fono, D., & Raynes-Goldie, K. (2005). Hyperfriendship and beyond: Friendship and social norms on Livejournal. In Internet Research Annual Volume 4: Selected Papers from the Association of Internet Researchers Conference. New York: Peter Lang.
Kendall, L. (2003). Diary of a networked individual: Interpersonal connections on LiveJournal. Association of Internet Researchers (AOIR-4), Toronto.
M. A. Stefanone, & C. Y. Yang. (2007). Writing for friends and family: The interpersonal nature of blogs. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), Article 7. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/stefanone.html
Rebaza, C. (2008). Online Gestures: Icon Use by Fan Communities on LiveJournal. In 41st Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort, Waikoloa, Big Island, Hawaii.
Tarkowski, A. (2005). Peer production of popular culture at the LiveJournal blogging site. Banal blogging or cultural struggle? RE:Activism: Re-Drawing the Boundaries of Activism in New Media Environments, Budapest. http://mokk.bme.hu/centre/conferences/reactivism/submissio%20ns/tarkowski.
Tushnet, R. (2004). Copy This Essay: How Fair Use Doctrine Harms Free Speech and How Copying Serves It. The Yale Law Journal, 114(3), 535-590.
Diaries, Journals and Genre
Positioning LJ as a "journaling" site is different from seeing it as a series of blogs or as a social networking site (SNS). Early research showed that online journals are often seen as female and low-status, while blogs are typically considered male and higher status (See Herring & Kouper 2004 in the "Gender" subcategory). Despite (or perhaps because of) this, there's a great deal more research on blogs than journals. However, Herring & Scheidt's quantitative study of blog types found that most blogs are intimate and individualistic, similar to "diaries" (2004); therefore if we want to understand blogs, we have to understand the online journal.
McNeill 2003 and Sorapure 2003 provide general overviews to the online diary. Laat (2008) asks the common question, "Why do the overwhelming majority of web diarists dare to expose the intimate details of their lives to the world at large?" Although his study is highly theoretical, Laat finds that most diarists assume trustworthiness on the part of their audience, which is frequently violated in practice. Looking at a specific community, both of Hodkinson's pieces are good: the first examines the journals of goth teenagers and notes that they encourage an individual type of sociability (2007), while the second (with Lincoln, 2008) compares the online journal with the adolescent bedroom as a private, significant space of identity expression.
Herring, S. C., Scheidt, L. A., Bonus, S., & Wright, E. (2004). Bridging the Gap: A Genre Analysis of Weblogs. In Proceedings of the 37th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Systems Sciences. Hawaii.
Herring, S. C., Scheidt, L. A., Wright, E., & Bonus, S. (2005). Weblogs as a Bridging Genre. Information Technology & People, 18(2), 142-171.
Hodkinson, P. (2007). Interactive online journals and individualization. New Media & Society, 9(4), 625-650.
Hodkinson, P., & Lincoln, S. (2008). Online journals as virtual bedrooms: Young people, identity and personal space. Young, 16(1), 27-46.
Johnson, J. L. (2004). Personal stories go worldwide: The ritual of storytelling through Weblogs. MA Thesis, University of North Texas. http://digital.library.unt.edu/permalink/meta-dc-4601:1
Laat, P. B. (2008). Online diaries: Reflections on trust, privacy, and exhibitionism. Ethics and Information Technology, 10(1), 57-69.
Maxwell, R. L. (2005). Online Lives?-Personal Diaries on the Web. BA Thesis, Communication, Ohio State University.
McNeill, L. (2003). Teaching an Old Genre New Tricks: The Diary on the Internet. Biography, 26(1), 24-47.
Sorapure, M. (2003). Screening Moments, Scrolling Lives: Diary Writing on the Web. Biography, 26(1), 1-23.
Van Dijck, J. Composing the Self: Of Diaries and Lifelogs. Fibreculture, (3). http://journal.fibreculture.org/issue3/issue3_vandijck.html
These papers use LJ to present experimental software designed for various uses, such as increasing community contribution (Barry et. al. 2003; Perkowitz 2003), extending mobile use (Kumpu & Rannikko 2004; Pillai 2005), and using instant messaging to map networks (Resig et. al 2004). These studies typically focus on the software being proposed rather than LJ.
Barry, P., Dekel, U., Moraveji, N., & Weisz, J. (2003). Increasing contribution in online communities using alternative displays of community activity levels. School of Computer Science: Carnegie Mellon University. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~jweisz/research/docs/bdmw03_CommunityActivityDisplay.pdf.
Kumpu, N., & Rannikko, J. (2004, May). Providing Mobile Friendly Web Services-Implementing Mobile LiveJournal. M.S. Thesis, Tampere University of Technology, Department of Information Technology.
Perkowitz, M., Philipose, M., & McCarthy, J. F. (2003). Utilizing Online Communities to Facilitate Physical World Interactions. In Workshop on the Role of Online Community Spaces in Shaping Virtual Community Interaction, Amsterdam.
Pillai, P. (2005). Experimental mobile gateways. Crossroads, 11(4), 6-6.
Resig, J., Dawara, S., Homan, C. M., & Teredesai, A. (2004). Extracting social networks from instant messaging populations. Workshop on Link Analysis and Group Detection, in conjunction with the 10th ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining.
FOAF and the Semantic Web
These papers use LJ as an exemplar to study the Semantic Web, particularly the Friend of a Friend standard (FOAF) and other social network metadata.
Celma, O., Ramirez, M., & Herrera, P. (2005). Getting music recommendations and filtering newsfeeds from FOAF descriptions. Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Scripting for the Semantic Web, 2nd European Semantic Web Conference (ESWC2005).
Downes, S. (2005). Semantic networks and social networks. The Learning Organization, 12(5), 411-417.
Paolillo, J. C., Mercure, S., & Wright, E. (2005). The social semantics of LiveJournal FOAF: Structure and change from 2004 to 2005. In G. Stumme, B. Hoser, C. Schmitz, and H. Alani (Eds.), Proceedings of the ISWC 2005 Workshop on Semantic Network Analysis, Galway, Ireland, November 7, 2005. http://www.blogninja.com/paolillo-mercure-wright.final.pdf
Paolillo, J. C., & Wright, E. (2005). Social network analysis on the Semantic Web: Techniques and challenges for visualizing FOAF. In V. Geroimenko & C. Chen (Eds.), Visualizing the Semantic Web, 2nd ed. Berlin: Springer. http://www.blogninja.com/vsw-draft-paolillo-wright-foaf.pdf
LJ is a majority female site. As previously mentioned, the characterization of blogs as male and more "serious" than online journals has contributed to the lack of press and academic attention to journaling sites, which are generally seen as frivolous (Herring & Kouper et. al. 2004). Both Gregg (2006) and Driscoll (2008) look at blogging/journaling as gendered behavior, and how female blogging/journaling has been denigrated and undervalued. Also see the Language section for Huffaker's study of gender difference in blog language.
Cadle, L. (2005). A Public View of Private Writing: Personal Weblogs and Adolescent Girls. PhD Dissertation, Bowling Green State University.
Driscoll, C. (2008). This is not a Blog: Gender, intimacy, and community. Feminist Media Studies, 8(2), 198-202.
Gregg, M. (2006). Posting with passion: Blogs and the politics of gender. In Uses of Blogs, A. Bruns and J. Jacobs, Eds. New York: Peter Lang, 151-160.
Herring, S.C., Kouper, I., Scheidt, L. A. & Wright, E. L. (2004). Women and Children Last: The Discursive Construction of Weblogs. In Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs. http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blogosphere/women_and_children.html
Ratliff, C. A. (2006). "Where are the women?": Rhetoric and gender in weblog discourse. PhD Dissertation, University of Minnesota.
Tobias, V. (2005). Blog This! An Introduction to Blogs, Blogging, and the Feminist Blogosphere. Feminist Collections, 26(2/3), 11-17.
LJ can be thought of as both public (audience, comments) and private (journal, friends). These studies discuss the tension between community interaction and identity production on LJ. Kendall (2007) shows how LJers negotiate the public/private split of the site, balancing self-presentation and the desire for community ties with autonomy. Similarly, Lindemann (2005) is interested in how LiveJournals are performed through verbal and communicative skill, creating communities through interactions with audience.
Kendall, L. (2007). 'Shout Into the Wind, and It Shouts Back': Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal. First Monday, 12(9), Article 1. http://www.firstmonday.org/issues/issue12_9/kendall/index.html
Lindemann, K. (2005). Live(s) Online: Narrative Performance, Presence, and Community in LiveJournal.com. Text & Performance Quarterly, 25(4), 354-372.
Senft, T. (2008). Camgirls: Celebrity and Authenticity in the Age of Social Networks, Digital Formations. New York: Peter Lang.
Given that LJ has a broad user base that spans subcultures, localities, and countries, there is a surprising dearth of work on language use in LiveJournal. Herring et. al. studied language use on LJ and found that English dominated globally but not locally and that journals that bridged languages were either written by multilingual individuals or had broadly accessible content, suggesting that much of LJ is segregated by language (2007). Huffaker's work on language focuses on differences between male and female teens; he found that while self-presentation was similar across gender, males were more likely to use emoticons and an active style of language. See also Dunn's paper in the Russia section on Russian language changes due to LJ.
Herring, S. C., Paolillo, J. C., Ramos-Vielba, I., Kouper, I., Wright, E., Stoerger, S., et al. (2007). Language Networks on LiveJournal. Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 40(3), 1346.
Howard, R.G. (2008). Electronic Hybridity: The Persistent Processes of the Vernacular Web. Journal of American Folklore, 121(480), 192-218.
Huffaker, D.A. (2004). Gender Similarities and Differences in Online Identity and Language Use Among Teenage Bloggers. MA Thesis, Communication, Culture and Technology, Georgetown University.
Huffaker, D. A., & Calvert, S. L. (2005). Gender, Identity, and Language Use in Teenage Blogs. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 10(2), Article 1. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol10/issue2/huffaker.html
Moods and Emotions
Since LiveJournal users can and often do define a "mood" with every LJ post, the site has become a very useful corpus for researchers studying blog emotions or moods in text. A group of researchers known as the "MoodTeam" (Gilad Mishne, Maarten de Rijke and Krisztian Balog) have developed a tool set for mood viewing called "MoodViews" (http://moodviews.com/), which tracks, predicts, and seeks to understand LJ mood changes. Other researchers have attempted to define a blogger/journaler's mood based on his or her blog/journal text (Jung et. all 2006; Leshed & Kaye 2006; Jung et. al 2007; Strapparava & Mihalcea 2008).
Balog, K., & de Rijke, M. (2006). Decomposing Bloggers' Moods: Towards a Time Series Analysis of Moods in the Blogosphere. WWW2006, Edinburgh, UK.
Balog, K., & de Rijke, M. (2007). How to Overcome Tiredness: Estimating Topic-Mood Associations. In Proceedings Int. Conf. on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM-2007) (Vol. 199). Boulder, Colorado, USA. http://dare.uva.nl/record/265894.
Balog, K., Mishne, G., & de Rijke, M. (2006). Why Are They Excited? Identifying and Explaining Spikes in Blog Mood Levels. In 11th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics. Trento, Italy. http://acl.ldc.upenn.edu/E/E06/.
De Rijke, M., & Mishne, G. A. (2006). Capturing Global Mood Levels using Blog Posts. In AAAI 2006 Spring Symposium on Computational Approaches to Analysing Weblogs (AAAI-CAAW 2006) (pp. 145-152). AAAI Press.
Jung, Y., Park, H., & Myaeng, S. H. (2006). A Hybrid Mood Classification Approach for Blog Text. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science Vol. 4099, 1099-1103. Berlin: Springer.
Jung, Y., Choi, Y., & Myaeng, S. (2007). Determining Mood for a Blog by Combining Multiple Sources of Evidence. In Proceedings of the IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence, 271-274. IEEE Computer Society.
Leshed, G., & Kaye, J. (2006). Understanding how bloggers feel: recognizing affect in blog posts. In CHI '06 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1019-1024). Montréal, Québec, Canada: ACM.
Mihalcea, R., & Liu, H. (2006). A corpus-based approach to finding happiness. Proceedings of the AAAI Spring Symposium on Computational Approaches to Weblogs.
Mishne, G., & de Rijke, M. (2006). MoodViews: Tools for blog mood analysis. In AAAI 2006 Spring Symp. on Computational Approaches to Analysing Weblogs (AAAICAAW 2006).
Mishne, G. (2005). Experiments with Mood Classification in Blog Posts. Stylistic Analysis Of Text For Information Access.
Strapparava, C., & Mihalcea, R. (2008). Learning to identify emotions in text. Proceedings of the 2008 ACM symposium on Applied computing, 1556-1560.
Networks, Social Networks, and Social Network Analysis
Much academic research uses data sets collected from LJ to study social networks. While some of this work places LJ in the context of other social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace (boyd & Ellison 2007; Golbeck 2007), most of it applies social network analysis, a longstanding sociological tool for mapping personal relationships, to LiveJournal networks. This literature is extensive, primarily quantitative ,and computer science oriented.
One category of research focuses on friends, communities, and links. Backstrom et. al (2006) looks at community growth within LiveJournal and concludes that LJers join communities based on whether they already know people within them, but more precisely, whether their friends in the community know each other (see also Golbeck 2007 on network dynamics). Martin & Weninger 2007 and Medynisky 2005 analyze linking practices on LiveJournal and their relationship to the larger network. Koslov 2004 and Backstrom et. al. 2007 look at how anonymity can be compromised by analyzing relationships within a social network.
LJ is also used to describe network structure (Zakharov 2007a, 2007b, 2008) and demonstrate features of social networks such as clustering (Mishra et. al. 2007) and layers and hierarchies (Goussevskaia 2007). Other studies involve measurement (Mislove et. al 2008) and LJ's relationship to other networks (Murnan 2006; Bhagat et. al. 2007).
Backstrom, L., Huttenlocher, D., Kleinberg, J., & Lan, X. (2006). Group formation in large social networks: Membership, growth, and evolution. In Proceedings of 12th International Conference on Knowledge Discovery in Data Mining (pp. 44-54). New York: ACM Press.
Backstrom, L., Dwork, C., & Kleinberg, J. (2007). Wherefore art thou r3579x?: anonymized social networks, hidden patterns, and structural steganography. In Proceedings of the 16th international conference on World Wide Web (pp. 181-190). Banff, Alberta, Canada: ACM.
boyd, D., & Ellison, N. (2007). Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), Article 1. http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html.
Crandall, D., Cosley, D., Huttenlocher, D., Kleinberg, J., & Suri, S. (2008). Feedback effects between similarity and social influence in online communities. In Proceeding of the 14th ACM SIGKDD international conference on Knowledge discovery and data mining (pp. 160-168). Las Vegas, Nevada, USA: ACM.
Golbeck, J. (2007). The Dynamics of Web-Based Social Networks: Membership, Relationships and Change. First Monday, 12(11). http://www.uic.edu/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2023/1889.
Goussevskaia, O., Kuhn, M., & Wattenhofer, R. (2007). Layers and Hierarchies in Real Virtual Networks. Proceedings of the IEEE/WIC/ACM International Conference on Web Intelligence, 89-94.
Hildrum, K., & Yu, P. S. (2005). Focused Community Discovery. In Proceedings of the Fifth IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (pp. 641-644). IEEE Computer Society.
Hsu, W. H., Weninger, T., Pydimarri, T., & Paradesi, M. S. R. (2006). Collaborative and Structural Recommendation of Friends using Weblog-based Social Network Analysis. Computational Approaches to Analyzing Weblogs: Papers from the 2006 AAAI Spring Symposium, 55-60.
Kozlov, S. (2004). Achieving Privacy in Hyper-Blogging Communities: Privacy Management for Ambient Intelligence. In WHOLES: A Multiple View of Individual Privacy in a Networked World. Swedish Institute of Computer Science, Stockholm, Sweden, January 30-31.
Leskovec, J., Lang, K. J., Dasgupta, A., & Mahoney, M. W. (2008). Statistical properties of community structure in large social and information networks. Proceedings of the 17th international conference on World Wide Web, 695-704. Beijing, China: ACM.
Liben-Nowell, D., Novak, J., Kumar, R., Raghavan, P., Tomkins, A., & Graham, R. L. (2005). Geographic Routing in Social Networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(33), 11623-11628.
Marlow, C. (2005). The Structural Determinants of Media Contagion. PhD Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Marlow, C. (2006). Investment and attention in the weblog community. Research Report, MIT Media Laboratory.
Medynskiy, Y. & Kaye, J. (2005a) Tools for understanding interactions in large social networks. CHI '05 Extended Abstracts On Human Factors In Computing Systems.
Mishra, N., Schreiber, R., Stanton, I., & Tarjan, R. (2007). Clustering Social Networks. In Algorithms and Models for the Web-Graph, 56-67.
Mislove, A., Marcon, M., Gummadi, K., Druschel, P., & Bhattacharjee, B. (2007). Measurement and analysis of online social networks. In Proceedings of the 7th ACM SIGCOMM conference on Internet measurement (pp. 29-42). San Diego, CA: ACM.
Zakharov, P. (2007a). Diffusion approach for community discovering within the complex networks: LiveJournal study. Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, 378(2), 550-560.
Zakharov, P. (2007b). Structure of LiveJournal social network. Noise and Stochastics in Complex Systems and Finance. Edited by Kertész, János; Bornholdt, Stefan; Mantegna, Rosario N. Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 6601, 6601-09.
Zakharov, P. (2008, February 2). Thermodynamic approach for community discovering within the complex networks: LiveJournal study. e-print on arxiv.org: physics/0602063. http://arxiv.org/abs/physics/0602063
Martin, W., & Weninger, S. (2007). Structural Link Analysis from User Profiles and Friends Networks: A Feature Construction Approach. International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, Boulder, CO.
Medynskiy, Y. (2005). Implicit Links in Asynchronous Communication Spaces. Beyond Threaded Conversations workshop, ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Portland, OR.
Relationships to Other Networks
Bhagat, S., Cormode, G., Muthukrishnan, S., Rozenbaum, I., & Xue, H. (2007). No blog is an island-analyzing connections across information networks. Intl. Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, Boulder, CO.
Murnan, C. A. (2006). Expanding communication mechanisms: they're not just e-mailing anymore. In Proceedings of the 34th Annual ACM SIGUCCS Conference on User Services (pp. 267-272). Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: ACM.
The popularity of LJ among high-school and college-aged students has lead some educators to explore its use in the classroom. Bryant (2006) mentions LiveJournal as one of many potential social media resources, while Campbell's study of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) is much more specific about LJ's potential to help students learn through its global user base and particular features (2004). Wilbur 2007 looks at how LJ represents new literacy practices among "Millennials" (see also Thomas 2007 in the Subculture section for a discussion of Digital Literacies), but the study has a very small user sample (one student). The lack of research on this topic suggests a rich area for future work.
Bryant, T. (2006). Social Software in Academia. EDUCAUSE QUARTERLY, 29(2), 61.
Campbell, A. P. (2004). Using Livejournal for authentic communication in EFL classes. The Internet TESL Journal, 10(9). http://iteslj.org/Techniques/Campbell-LiveJournal.
Wilber, D. J. (2007). MyLiteracies. Journal of Online Education, 3(4).
Privacy and Anonymity
Compared to other SNS or blogging sites, LiveJournal has a very rich set of privacy features (filters, custom groups, communities, "friends only" posts, and so forth). While some of these studies mention LJ as one of many networks or blogging services (Gross et. al 2005; Qian & Scott 2007), others provide detailed descriptions of LJ's privacy affordances (Kozlov 2004). He & Chu (2006, 2008) and Korolova et. al. 2008 look at how private data can be inferred from social networks and links, using LJ as one of several examples. Viegas's (2005) survey of blogger privacy and anonymity expectations includes a useful discussion of LJ-specific privacy features.
Ford, S. M. (2004). Public and Private on LiveJournal: An Investigation of Bloggers' Opinions and Practices. AOIR 5.0: Sussex: 2004: Ubiquity, Sussex, England. Retrieved September 8, 2008, from http://gsb.haifa.ac.il/~sheizaf/AOIR5/49.html.
Gross, R., Acquisti, A., & H. John Heinz, I. I. I. (2005). Information revelation and privacy in online social networks. In Proceedings of the 2005 ACM workshop on Privacy in the electronic society (pp. 71-80). Alexandria, VA, USA: ACM.
He, J., & Chu, W. (2008). Protecting Private Information in Online Social Networks. Intelligence and Security Informatics: Techniques and Applications, H. Chen and C. Yang, Eds. Vol 135, Springer.
He, J., Chu, W., & Liu, Z. (2006). Inferring Privacy Information from Social Networks. Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Intelligence and Security Informatics, 154-165.
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A few years back there was a blog set up that 'named and shamed' CYFS workers. The original blog has been taken down but has created a bunch of spawn sites. And the main ones are:
Watching CYFS- the Yahoo! group edition
They could work on less creepy names (CYFStalk???) but this could be seen as citizen journalism (really advocacy journalism but still very similar). Certainly blogging with a vendetta.