Blogging – a Democratic Movement of Citizen Involvement or a Global Mass Attempt of Communal Self-Absorption?

A Qualitative study of motivations for blogging

Titel: Blogging – a Democratic Movement of Citizen Involvement or a Global Mass Attempt of Communal Self-Absorption? Författare: Moritz Gombert Termin: Påbyggnadskursen, vårterminen 2007 Abstract: Blogging has become a global mass phenomenon with a currently estimated total number of 70 million registered weblogs worldwide. The development of free blog software has tremendously lowered the barriers for mass amateur publishing. This study seeks to investigate the blogging phenomenon. Critiques refer to blogging as a collaborative form of navel gazing with little use to anyone but the self-important author. Others consider blogging an upcoming democratic mass movement of citizen involvement that has the potential to create a more egalitarian form of mass communication. This study comes to the conclusion that the average blogger is motivated to blog by less spectacular and rather mundane social reasons. As a matter of fact the analysis has often suggested the existence of parallels between blogging and offline forms of social interaction. Most of the recent discussion about blogging is focused on the so-called “A-list”. The A-list is a common term used to refer to the most popular weblogs. However the overwhelming majority of blogs are written by the average citizen. From the recently estimated 70 million weblogs worldwide only very few make it on the A-list. It is the private journal blog that represents the essential backbone of the blogosphere. This thesis seeks to illuminate the question of why people maintain weblogs. It is thereby focused on less frequently visited weblogs written by average citizens in journal style. Concerning methodology this thesis employs a qualitative research approach based upon online interviews that were conducted in German speaking countries. Both primary research and secondary research were used in order to illuminate the research subject. The former type of research is embodied by eight qualitative online interviews while the latter type is represented by the technical literature. The results of the interviews were analyzed in the context of the literature research’s findings. The analysis brought to light that bloggers are neither self-important narcissists nor does blogging represent a global movement of democratic self-expression. Rather blogging is motivated by diverse social motives that are rather mundane and unspectacular. For instance, some bloggers used their blogs for emotional relieve while others engaged with blogging to meet new friends or to work on issues of identity. Most of the time community feelings were only described as relevant in cases where the blogger was interacting with his or her “community“.

Moritz Gombert
MKV, MKV-Magisteruppsats , vt07
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