Audience Markers in Weblogs Exercise 3

rev Nov 2012
Interpretation and significance
Techniques of Engagement

This final part of the project gives you the opportunity to tinker with few of the blog posts, then comment on the significance of what you've found, both in your analysis of audience markers in the first part of this project and in your own tinkering.

Select two posts of 250 - 500 words or that are typical of the blog you analyzed.

Copy the text of the selected posts and paste them into a new wiki page - twice. Leave one version of each as it is, but tinker with the other. Label each version so you can refer to them: A and B or whatever.

Now, recast one version of each post by changing the audience markers. You might
Try a different technique with each post.

Do not indicate which version is the original and which is the altered one.

Then, in a couple of paragraphs, consider the effects of your changes. Consider the differences in tightness and closeness or distance of the audience, register, footing. Consider if or how the relationship with the audience changes overall and in specifics. Consider how the changes draw an audience and the blogger together or places distance between them. Consider, too, what else changes. For instance, is one seemingly more objective, neutral, balanced than the other? More persuasive? More complex? Something else? Refer to Myers and to what we have discussed in class for a sense of direction to comment.

And, finally, in a paragraph or two, consider this, from Myers:

[In mass media] a bigger audience is usually better - it means more influence, fame and money. Blogs are different; they ... encourage many-to-many rather than one-to-many interactions.... Success for most bloggers is having an audience, of whatever size, of readers who are engaged and responsive. ...

[The techniques of engagement] do nothing to produce a large audience. ... But they do help produce the right audience, or rather, to assure readers that they are in the right place, and that it might be completely reasonable to interact with this total stranger on the other side of the world, by commenting or linking or quoting. ... Blogs speak to a group, but a group that seems to know each other and share a lot already. (93)

Now that you've done some work with techniques of engagement in weblogs, where do you stand on Myers's claim? Is it relevant? Significant? Trivial? Is it significant that bloggers seem to trade a big audience for engaged audience - and how or how not? Is it significant for us - you and me as readers of weblogs who are now aware of the techniques? For others who have not considered audience markers?

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