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This reveals my deep humanities-oriented bias, but I must confess that quantitative studies leave me at a complete loss. I do admire anyone who has the patience for the counting-work of quantitative discourse analysis, but I’m never sure what I should take from it. Okay, so 60 percent of the weblogs you looked at that focused primarily on personal content were written by women, while 85 percent of weblogs that served as news or link filters were written by men. But what does that tell me? Or more: what does that tell me that isn’t either reductive or truistic? I crave interpretation, analysis, reading.

Or, as Liz asked, what are the implications of a project that begins with the intent of seeking the “average” blogger, when that average (if it indeed exists anywhere) only tells us something useful about the center, and nothing whatsoever about the majority that exists outside it? (5.07 pm)



Gary Thompson, in his paper “Visual Factors in Constructing Authenticity in Weblogs”, presented his students’ reponses to the visual aspects of a series of blogs, ranging from the A-list to the randomly personal. Interestingly, his conclusions suggest that, despite his students’ apparent craving for anarchic design, they nonetheless privilege what Thompson refers to as the “modernist” school of design (lots of white real estate, low-key color usage, Times New Roman or sans-serif fonts — this begins to sound a bit familiar) when deciding which blogs they “like,” when “liking” takes into consideration some aspect of seriousness. One of the questioners used the adjective “corporate” to describe this style. Is the preference for the clean style a sign of our complicity within the dominant ideology, our incorporation? (5.23 pm)

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