Audience Markers in Weblogs

rev Nov 2012
refer to Myers, chap 6: Audience

Bloggers write to an unknown audience. Even more to our point, skilled bloggers write in such a way as to create an audience for their blog.

In chapter 6, Myers catalogues strategies that bloggers use that "make readers feel like they are being talked to, included in a group, and involved in the blog" (77). These strategies create "an audience-in-the-text that may not be the same as their actual [readers], but which provides an impression of a friendly ... circle of people who share the bloggers' interests and views" (77). This project asks you to use Myers's catalogue of strategies to analyze a blog to get a sense of how this works.

How to proceed

Read Myers. chap 6, and refresh your memory concerning wit and flouts on pp 42 ff.

Start a new page on your own wikiname page: AudienceMarkersInWeblogsProject - followed by your name.

Select a weblog to work with.

Describe

Start by making some description notes on the rhetorical situation the weblog works in. Make these notes as extensive as necessary to be complete. Conclude your description with a couple of paragraphs in which you characterize from your observing, the weblog and the rhetorical situation it works in.

Analyze

Once you have a description, bring in the concepts from Myers, chap 6. Make some notes towards an analysis on each under the headings that Myers uses in chap 6.

footing

Consider footing as a way of getting started with the blog you're analyzing. This is a reminder that the relationship between blogger and audience is not the same as that between mass media production and consumer.

These next four audience markers are pretty easy to see but require a close reading

direct address to the reader


use of pronouns


referring to the audience or part of the audience


questions and directives


enacting conversational interaction


flouts of implicature: quality, relation, manner, clarity

Flouts mark the presence of readers in that a flout is presented in such a way that readers realize an implicature is being flouted. Flouts can be difficult to spot, and take some effort in identifying so keep Myer's at hand to refer to.

politeness

Markers of politeness seem to be pretty common. may, perhaps, should, might ... as well as lack of politeness.

expectations and knowledge

This can appear in register (the kind of language used) as well as in underlying expectations. You're watching for markers that indicate shared interest, shared knowledge, shared norms of behavior, shared evaluations between writer and readers: places where the text assumes a common expectation or understanding.

As you take notes, keep in mind that you're looking first for occurrences - the use of markers overall - and then for patterns of use: some regularities in the use of markers or the use of a particular marker. These may be

Working method

Cut and paste specific occurrences from blog posts into your project work page. Move them around into groups to discover and illustrate the patterns you discover.

Another way of working is to cut and paste whole entries into your project work page. Then mark up and annotate the occurrences, refining your notes to illustrate the patterns you discover.

Keep this in mind as you work: Myers suggests that audience markers are used to make readers feel like they are being addressed directly, spoken to, included in a group, or involved in the blog or project. There may be other uses. There probably are other uses. There is certainly other things to say about how bloggers include and address audiences.

Map the territory

You first want to get an overall sense of how the blogger is using audience markers, so map the territory. Try reorganizing the occurrences you find into groups (use of pronouns, references to audience, etc) so you can better see the patterns and variations. Or try highlighting them. Or perhaps catalogue the markers you identify.

Once you have a map defined, write a couple of paragraphs interpreting the use of the patterns overall.

Then focus on one pattern

Now focus on the use of one type of marker that seems to be prevalent or interesting: flouts, for instance. Or interesting ways that the blogger uses expectations and knowledge. For this, alternate examples with interpretive comments, until a pattern starts to become visible.

Once you identify some regularities, draft a couple of paragraphs interpreting what you've discovered. Refer to Stoner and Perkins regarding interpretation.

Notes
Focus on the blog posts rather than the comments, code the blog posts for the more obvious indications first, then for implicature and politeness. The latter two may be pretty common, so locate what seem to be examples typical of the particular blog you're looking at.


CategoryExercise
There are no comments on this page.
Valid XHTML :: Valid CSS: :: Powered by WikkaWiki