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Reputation

I’ve just finished reading Bonnie Nardi’s paper, “I’m Blogging This – A closer look at why people blog”, and encouragingly she highlights quality assurance as a design recommendation in blogs. This is one of the main areas that I aim to target in my PhD – that is, how can readers be sure of the integrity of a given blog post? I am specifically looking at reputation of the blogger as being an important theme in this decision, with my testbed being an academic blogging community that I have yet to identity.

This may prove to be problematic on two fronts:

1. I need to work out the ethical considerations of conducting an ethnography of a blogging community. Although blogs are essentially public documents, there may still need to be the need to gain consent to study them from the author. I friend recently told me about an article in which this was debated – I need to read this!

2. Drawing the boundaries around the community. Blog communities are social networks, and social networks are very fluid and undefinably things. So I need to work out how many people I should include in the community and exactly which people I need to include (where do I draw the line?).

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