In Chapter two of Blogging @merica, Barlow explains how blogs have become more popular in recent years. He starts off with a startling statistic that there are more than 75 million blogs out there found by Technorati, a blog monitoring service (Barlow, 35). Even if some of those blogs are fake or not actual blogs, 75 million is still an astounding number considering that blogging on the Internet only became popular a few years ago.
I found it interesting how Barlow addressed how bloggers feel when they are blogging online. He explains how bloggers want to have a positive image and do not want readers to think they are, in a sense, crazy or weird because they are posting their feelings online. Bloggers do not want people to think they are just rambling, because for the most part, they are usually speaking from their hearts or speaking about something they are very passionate about.
One of the negative aspects of blogging that Barlow discusses in the chapter is the possibility of receiving threats from strangers (or even people who know you) that disagree with something you have said on your blog. When you put anything online, you are at risk of receiving negative comments or feedback, but bloggers are specifically vulnerable because often times the nature of a blog is controversial. For instance, when speaking about politics, health issues, laws, etc. you are more likely to spark debate then when discussing your children, pets, or home decorating ideas. Interestingly, even with the risk of threats and criticism, Barlow says that most bloggers do not prefer to remain anonymous on their sites. Reason being is that blogs should basically be somewhere for people to come together and feel united, and if they are anonymous that takes away some of the bonding that can potentially take place if bloggers know who they are communicating with and whos lives they are learning more about.
I used to think that blogs were just for people who had no one to talk to or who felt they needed attention from strangers so they decided to post stories online. But after reading more about them I think differnetly now. I think blogs are actually a good way to express your feelings and when other people read them, they get to know you, and possible friendships or even love interests might arise out of it. In terms of receiving threats, though, I always was curious about this myself. When you are putting so much information out there, you are more suspetable to negative feedback, and there are crazy people out there who don’t hold back when it comes to threatening or insulting others. A few years ago, my best friend used to have a Myspace and she would sometimes blog on it. The amount of random messages she received was crazy. There were tons of people who would read her information and blogs and comment to her about them. She eventually got tired of the it and stopped using the website to blog her feelings. But even though her experience was not so good, I do think blogging is a great way, for the most part, to express yourself through words, pictures, ideas and chatting.
Barlow, Arron. (2008). Blogging @merica: The New Public Sphere. Westport: Praeger