Thursday, May 10, 2007

Social Networks and blogging

In between seeing my undergrads about their end of term projects, I'm getting stuck in to the analysis of the 'Cancer blogs' and reading more about blogging in general. Courtesy of another of my students (thank you Cassie), I came across Stephanie Nilsson's essay:
The Function of Language to Facilitate and Maintain Social Networks in Research Weblogs. While it's getting a little out of date already (there is no date on the essay, but it looks like it was written 2003-04 from the dates on the blogs posts referenced), there are some interesting ideas here. The most relevant to me are the notion of hyperlinks being categorised into informational and personal, and the capacity these have to establish social networks. Although Nilsson emphasises the significance of the hyperlinks over and above linguistic content as a means of establishing a social network, Herring et al.'s (2006) paper I discussed in the last post, indicated that linking is becoming less prolific in blogs over time. In my own work, I'm interested in whether women and men use these links in similar or different ways. Do women use more personal links, and men more informational (that good old stereotype of collaborative speech styles as feminine)?
For reference: the bibliography from which Nilsson's essay is taken is also a little out of date, but still a useful point of reference.



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