Are you for real? Struggling with blogger authenticity in a time of personal brands and monetization.
A blog’s quality, wrote Rebecca Blood in her 2002 guide to blogging, The Weblog Handbook: “is ultimately based on the authenticity of its voice…the weblogger may not be respectful or even nice about the sites and stories he links, but readers can be sure he is not speaking to placate an important advertiser.”
A decade later, authenticity and personal voice remain central for the identity of this practice but there is increasing emphasis on personal branding and monetization in the blogosphere. In my presentation I draw on interviews and focus groups conducted with bloggers over the past five years; observations of specific blogging communities; and an interrogation of my own experiences as a devoted reader of blogs (and one time blogger), in order to take stock and promote discussion of what problems these potentially incompatible values pose, not only for bloggers but for blog-readers.
Georgia Gaden Jones is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary. She has been studying blogging and virtual environments since 2004. As well as studying and teaching new media and popular culture, she continues to spend immeasurable hours reading blogs and, lately, pinning/experimenting on Pinterest (which could be why her dissertation is still incomplete). She also enjoys living in Calgary with her husband; being mum to a heavy-metal-loving two year old; getting home to Ireland once in a while; and watching far too much reality TV.