Discussion of the strengths and limitations of the extract
While the extract selected from Mortensen and Walker has many strengths, it is not without limitations. Given that the text was published in 2002 – nearly 10 years ago – the reader is already prepared for a somewhat outdated argument. In 2002, Evan Williams, creator of popular blogging host site Blogger, stated that “in January alone, at least 41,000 people created new blogs using Blogger, and that number is always increasing” (2002; as quoted in Wired News). A more specific statistic was found on Blogcount, which states that on the 17th March 2003, there were 107388 active blogs. From this exact moment, there are 168,493,921 active blogs, according to BlogPulse. This phenomenal increase in active blogs suggests that blogging is evolving and becoming more and more accessible to anyone, not just academics.
The title of the piece clearly states that their argument is for “Personal Publication as an Online Research Tool”. However, many bloggers do not necessarily use blogs for “online research” alone; for many, it is a mode of self-expression and/or creativity.
That being said, the biggest strength of Mortensen and Walker’s extract is the emphasis on the importance of links; this is a concept which undoubtedly will not lose relevance as far as the Network is concerned. I have previously written about the importance of linking in the creation of “communal discourse”. Even in making my point on blogs being not only for “online research” but also for self-expression and creativity, I used links to both further my argument and to put it in context for the reader.
Given the fact that this extract was from a publication from 2002, it is admittedly a little hard to pick out the limitations of the text; with such a long period in between the publication of the extract and this particular blog post, it seems cruelly obvious that there would undoubtedly be differences in the Network, given also the rapid expansion and development of it. However, as far as links are concerned, Mortensen and Walker did indeed write the book.
Giltrow, J and Stein, D 2009, Genres in the Internet: issues in the theory of genre, John Benjamins Publishing co: Amsterdam
Manjoo, F 2002, Blah, Blah, Blah and Blog, Wired News, viewed 20th August 2011, <http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2002/02/50443>
Mortensen, T and Walker, J 2002, “Blogging Thoughts: Personal Publication as an Online Research Tool” in Researching Ict’s in Context. Ed. Andrew Morrison. Oslo: University of Oslo, p.249-259.
Walker Rettberg, J 2008, Blogging, Polity Press: Cambridge UK