put 'em up

Oh. Wow. I just finished reading this article in today’s Washington Post. The article discusses online popularity as in how many people are on one’s friend’s list on instant messaging programs. I have thought about this in terms of the blogroll, the collection of links indicates the pages that they visit and/or read often though some bloggers also add people and sites that they admire, but not necessarily read or visit..The blogrolls are used to express connections between weblogs but they also say to readers, “Here is my community. I fit into this group.� I think it’s fascinating to think of online forums as discourse communities, especially among bloggers, and even more so in the case of academic blogging. Blogrolls also act as capital or currency of the blog community. Having links point to your weblog can increase the audience. If your blog shows up in search engines, more people will probably read it. Therefore the blog village is not necessarily the small, secluded utopian community often described. Depending on the purpose of the blog, the so called community may seem more like a club with the blogroll as its long list of members, exhibiting who does and does not belong. Even though many blogs are public and I have access to read them, doesn’t necessarily mean I belong to them. I read a lot of the blogs yet my own blog is more personal than professional and therefore I do not appear on the blogrolls of the blogs I read. In a way this reflects the way I feel as a graduate student and teaching assistant. I am both included and excluded in the academic community. Not yet a professional, though I teach two composition classes, attend conferences, publish scholarship I am recognized first and foremost as a student both in my department and the academic community at large. My experience with academic blogs leaves me on the outskirts of the community, able to visit at will but not truly belong. In the Washington Post article Vargas says, “Online popularity is the state-of-the-art measure of vanity.� I tend to agree but then again I also have multiple blogs which I constantly check to see how and what my friends have said and responded to.