Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Furthering Blogs as Conversation

Something that differentiates blogs from traditional journalism is its conversational manner as a form of exchange between people. Bloggers can not only aggregate each other's articles, but they can respond by reposting, composing new entries, commenting, etc. This networked conversation is held together by hyperlinks, trackbacks, tags, and search engines.

I wanted to talk about another trend in the social element of blogging. Message boards for influential bloggers have begun to emerge as a classified, elite source of information to bring buzz to the blogosphere. Access is often limited and invitations are required. The users frequently orchestrate joint posts and conflicting opinions to generate conversation, drama, and page hits.

I first noticed this in a site dedicated to discussing rumors and speculation about Apple Inc. and its products. Users at ThinkSecret's forums (their main focus was news in a blog format, their message boards were less known) often managed their own Internet news source. In their own published work ThinkSecret user's would cite "informants" from the message boards. The site has since been taken down in an out-of-court decision with Apple, but what happened there has spread throughout the blogging environment in every niche market. 

Now, message boards allow bloggers (mostly elite) to discuss and orchestrate content that relates to everything form political news to extreme sports to World of Warcraft. This further solidifies blogging as a form of journalistic conversation. After all, a great deal of articles are created out of a networked, threaded exchange online.

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