Katy’s Description

We are using the search model Blogging as a Social Activity∞, Nardi, Schiano, and Gumbrechet. pdf.
We are going to focus on how the object-oriented activity in blogging. It appears that David has multiple objects for posting. David's blog does not necessarily fall under one category when it comes to his reason to write. In the posts that I have looked at, I saw all five of the following objects:

1. Update others on activities and whereabouts
2. Express opinions to influence others
3. Seek others’ opinions and feedback
4. “Think by writing”
5. Release emotional tension


The blog David's musings contains three columns set against a blue background. The left and right columns are white and green and the center column is white.

The headet is light blue in color, with white lettering. In the header is the description of the blog. The final thing in this column is another link to a previously linked blog, as well as links to that blogs recent posts.

The left column contains the about section of the blog,as well as links to David's complete profile and email. There is also a picture of David under the About Me title. Following the about me section there are several links which are to other blogs, as well as a site that offers help in increasing the readers blog traffic. The second left column contains David's Traffic rank, page rank, comment box, and an add.

The right column provides a drop box that can translate the blog into a number of different languages. This is followed by David's Musings copyright and licensing information. This columns also provides the subscription box, and the number of current subscribers. There are many more links to different sites including more sites that promise the key to blog traffic. In the second right column there are more links, followed by the Blog Archive. The archive is organized by month and year. Clicking on the month will drop down individual posting for that month

The center column contains the blog posts in chronological order. They are organized by date, title, and content. The date is in green lettering, and the title and the rest of the post are in black lettering.

Zach’s Description

• Top banner “David’s Musing” describes the intended personal nature of the blog.
• Explores topics concerning “my experiences, opinions on life” including triumphs, failures, and influential people he has met.
• Three column organization.
• Left column begins with an “About Me” where David describes himself as “your average retired, middle aged, divorced guy.” A profile picture is included.
• Contains a “View my complete profile” link that activates another two column page. The left column contains a link which enables a full view of the profile picture, contact information, and user stats concerning his blogger activity. In the right column, which has twice the width, it lists his age, gender, and location. David, age 57, from Mobile, Alabama. Interests include writing, computers, cars, my truck, life experiences, and women (3X). Favorite movies, music, and books are named. Favorite books list includes “The Bible” and “Godfather.”
• Back on the main page, below the profile information, his favorite links (which are also embedded an image) are listed below that take you to additional blogs.
• Left column ends with traffic information and comments on the website. The comments are left by some viewers who appreciated the blog. These comments, which all encourage you to smile, are left by several blog participants, include the author David, who writes: thanks to all visitors and keep smiling!! good night!!!
• Right Column allows you to translate the page into another language, though the link doesn’t work, appears to be a advertisement to “Get Widget,” followed by the blog license agreements and a series of unrelated advertisement links that are non-specific concerning what they sell. One advertisement says “BMWF1 blog.”
• Right column ends with a blog archive that shows David has been writing since April of 2008, as confirmed by his profile.
• David has left an active blogger: average of 22 blogs per month, with the least being 18 during July 2008.
• Central Column contains blog post, begun by the date, with a title, a 3 paragraph text-based blog with general 1-3 photographs accompanying. Each paragraph has 8-15 sentences.

Katy will be examining the following posts:

• The Rest of the Story
• The $27,000 Phone Bill
• When is a Lie Not a Lie
• Cats, Dogs, and Kids
• The Recession

The Rest of the Story talks about the life and passing of radio newscaster Paul Harvey. The blogger discussing his feelings on Paul's death, and how it has impacted him.

The $27,000 Phone Bill is about a news story involving an overcharged phone bill. David summarizes the story is the first paragraph, and then discussing his thoughts on the situation in the second paragraph. Both paragraphs are fairly long in a length.

When is a Lie Not a Lie is about the news story involving Herman Rosenblat. In the first paragraph, David discussed Herman's book deal and the lies he told in order to get it. David also shares some of his opinions in this paragraph. The second paragraph is devoted to the opinions of David. David criticizes both Oprah and Herman. These paragraphs are both long and embedded with links.

Cats, Dogs, and Kids contains a video of funny moments involving animals and kids. The first paragraph is long, and describes David's old cat. David goes into detail how he loved the cat, and how his ex-wife gave the cat away. The second paragraph is shorter than the first. It introduces the reader to the video that follows.

The Recession talks about the recession that has occurred in the U.S. economy and how it is affecting society. The first paragraph talks about the delay of a stainless steel operation in David's hometown of Mobile, Alabama. Davids talks about how this will hurt many people. In the second paragraph David talks about how local restaurants in his town are suffering from the recession. He states that business has been declining, and prices have been dropping in order to keep customers coming. David predicts that some restaurants will go out of business, and expresses anxiety for the future.

Commonalities in these posting are seen through the use of pictures, embedded links, and paragraph length and numbers. The posts are usually about news stories and David's opinions on them. The first paragraphs are usually summaries. The second paragraphs usually contain more opinions and interpretations on the stories and situations that David is discussing.

Zachary will be examining the following posts:

Obama's Legitimacy
• In this blog, dated February 26, 2009, the author discusses his opinions concerning certain people who have contested Barack Obama’s legitimacy as president, due to the absence of an original birth certificate.
• First paragraph establishes topic and begins to formulate his opinion. The author remarks that Obama’s legitimacy shouldn’t be such a big deal, and he finds the continuing pressure against Obama disconcerting. However, he also expresses that he does not share President Obama’s politics, refers to Obama supporters as “cult members,” and adds the he will likely vote against Obama again.
• The second paragraph continues with an embedded [article link] that describes how soldiers in Iraq are challenging the president as well, threatening to disobey his orders.
•The third paragraph briefly discusses David’s experience in Vietnam and concludes that disobedience within the armed service would be a “breeding ground for a military coup”
• Blog ends with the posting of a photograph of the birth certificate which reads “Barack Hussein Obama II. August 4, 1961. Honolulu, Hawaii 7:24 PM.”
• Two comments are listed below. DarthCalenwasMom (embedded link to Darth’s blog in the name) responds with a statement that the Supreme Court has refused to hear the case. David, the second comment, responds to his statement with an additional insight and ends the with “Thanks for your comment.”

Few Comments
• February 5th 2009 is titled “Few Comments Regarding This Blog,” where the rhetor announces that April 5th is his one year anniversary, and that he didn’t think he would “be going this long. I did all this on a lark after a couple of my “friends” pressured me to put my thoughts into a blog. So, I did just that.” He then briefly describes how he watched the blog grow.
• The blog is longer than the average blog, a total of 5 paragraphs usually 8 sentences long.
• Second blog admits David’s mistakes on the blog, including the “chat box” found on the lower left column. He concedes “I don’t mind people dropping by to let me know they were visiting or ‘smiling’ at all… What I don’t like are people advertising their product or site at my expense.”
• The next paragraph begins with “People asking to exchange links.” in italics, serves as a subtitle in the blog. The paragraph below it breaks down his reasoning for not exchanging links with other bloggers, and also offers the link to get posted in the comment section of any post
• The fourth paragraph, under the italics “Problems” simply requests that if anybody has problems with the site, either with a popup or slow loading, that they please contact David.
• The fifth paragraph announces that the site will be getting a ‘facelift” and offers an in-text link to David’s other blog, “Diary: Alone on Earth”
• He concludes with “Again, I appreciate all visitors here, especially my repeat visitors.”
• Three comments below. Josh, who seems to also have a site, agrees with David. David responds with additional insight to the blog, and ends with “Thanks for your comment, Josh.” A third comment, Paul Edward Hubert, says “Excellent Dave!”

Rambling Thoughts
• discusses the affect of the global recession on his hometown and describing how a local store had to close down and gives comments on the stimulus package
• without using names other than, “the Crackle Barrel,” he describes an incident “last Friday” where the Heimlich maneuver had to be used. The choker was apparently very embarrassed when the chicken dislodged.
• he briefly discusses the climate in his hometown and compares it with other places around the country, and concludes that he his “tired of worrying about hurricanes.”
• He also talks about local Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans returning home, that he is happy they are home. He also shares his status as a veteran, and advises the families to not ask too many questions.
• no comments posted.
• Image of the closed store top right, image of returning veteran on bottom left frame of blog.

Credit Card Applications
• Dated Tuesday, April 29 2008 – among the first posts
• first paragraph points out his high credit rating – established to make a point.
• describes the excessive amount of credit card junk mail he receives, and has asked to be removed from the list.
• tells about a car and a dog who have both been pre-approved for a credit card
• second paragraphs has links embedded in “credit score,” which links to wikipedia, and within a list of credit card companies, linking to respective companies homepages.
• no comments posted
• no images posted

Rambling Thoughts (September)
• Blog dated for the 30th of September, 2008; last day in September
• Author exclaims he “can’t believe” how quickly time passes.
• An image top right of the blog shows leaves outside a city turning colors
• first paragraph ends that he heard the TV already talking about Christmas; and imbedded link in Christmas takes you to which counts down the days to Christmas.
• John McCain, another embedded link to wikipedia, and the current happenings of the 2008 election is the subject of the second paragraph. He comments on Obama’s positive showing in the polls and claims Sarah Palin “isn’t qualified” and perhaps has “sealed McCain’s defeat.”
• The author embedded another link under “Pagerank” explaining why he was no longer ranked on Google. The link goes to another wikipedia definition.
• The last paragraph was personal in nature, discussing his recent visit to his mother and sister who are buried side-by-side at a local cemetery. A picture of a praying little girl statue accompanies the last paragraph.
• He saw what he presumed was a mother at the cemetery, grieving at the grave of her child. He expressed his desire to comfort her, but decides to keep his distance and concludes that he can’t fathom the pain of losing a child.
• three comments posted; one acknowledging how quickly time passes and the other on Pagerank.

Guantanamo Revisted
• Blog entry dated January 15, 2009, refers to an older post (May 17, 2008) on the same subject. The posts (both of the same topic) have a different tone then the other blogs encountered. Both posts approach the subject with heavy pathos and generate a total of 12 comments from participants.
• Appeals to pathos, using certain terminology such as “Muslim fanatics” and referring to Obama as “the Anointed One” while expressing his displeasure of the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison facility.
• He refers to those who disagreed with his views in the May 2008 blog as having “lost” their “common sense.”
• Image on top right is of captured man in an orange jumpsuit, being lead through the fences of Guantanamo
• Bottom right image shows protesters against the war carrying a pink sign that states “We support the murder of American troops.”
• Discussion follows the post, concluding that the last image had been doctored
• Content of the entry surrounds the treatment of Guantanamo prisoners, and the ethical reasoning and security needs for the prison’s operation.
• Uses italics often to stress certain points, and straight-forward persuasion that utilizes the shock imagery. For example: the possible decapitation of the reader’s spouse and children by Muslim fanatics.

The Lion Thing
• Dated for January 21, 2009, a blog entry titled “Amazing True Animal Story”
• Author announces that he is beginning to enjoy putting videos on his blog, and suggests that he may begin a “David’s Wednesday Video” series.
• The text portion introduces the video as a story of friendship and love, in which a lion is kept away from his trainers for an entire year in the African wild. When the trainers find his pride, the lion charges the trainers and takes a friendly leap into their arms. The background music is Whitney Houston, “I’ll Always Love You”
• Two comments are posted, one blogger suggests he is “bloghoppin’”


David's Musings is a personal blog. There is a broad target audience in which David is writing for. The blog is not meant to be used for professional purposes, although it does touch on a variety of topics from current events, to politics, to his personal happenings in his own life.

Analysis - Combined

David's Musings is a blog that serves as a social activity for the blogger. David uses all of the object oriented activities in the article by Nardi, Schiano, and Gumbrechet. In the blogs that I have described, I will focus on three of the activities that David is doing through his writing. David is:
1. Update others on activities and whereabouts
2. Express opinions to influence others
3. Seek others’ opinions and feedback
4. “Think by writing”
5. Release emotional tension

Update Others

Though he hides the names of locals who may read the post, he does bring in several stories from his day-to-day life and the people he encounters. But most of the specifics aren’t given, suggesting that those who personally knew David didn’t need any more details. Such as the man choking on a piece of chicken at some local restaurant.

Expressing opinions to influence others

In the five posts that I have described, all five of them contained a great deal of David's personal opinion on the subject matter. Three of these blogs contained opinion for the purpose of influencing others.

In The Rest of the Story, the David expressed his opinions on the life and impact of Paul Harvey. In this post, David is setting out to persuade the reader that Paul Harvey was one of the greatest radio voices of his time.

The next post that sets out to influence others is When is a Lie not a Lie. David expresses his disgust for the situation, giving reasons for what this is morally wrong. He also points out that Herman was not reprimanded enough for his action. Herman expresses distaste for Oprah's actions for putting his fraudulent story on her "Love Lessons" list. By calling out Oprah, David is trying to persuade the public that Herman got off to easy for what he did.

The third post that uses David's opinions to influence others is "The Recession." In this post David is using local examples of the impacts of recession to persuade others of his opinion of the recession. By calling up specific examples, David is able to make a better case for the severeness of the recession. By making a case, he is working towards persuading his readers to think that same way he is thinking.

The opinions David proposed that I encountered were generally political opinions that advocated the conservative right. For instance, even when he was supporting President Obama’s legitimacy as Commander in Chief, though he refused to vote for Obama, he referred to Obama’s leftist supporters as “cult members” and in another (more heated) post he describes the candidate Obama as “the Anointed One.”

In the “Rambling Thoughts” post, he addresses a range of issues from the local affects of the recession to the return of local soldiers who served in the Middle East. He comments that Obama “better hope this stimulus works” as he describes the collapse of nearby businesses. Here a strong opinion of “what to do about it” doesn’t seem to be the goal; he is only commenting on what he sees. Concerning the troops coming home, he reminds his readers that he is a Vietnam veteran, and advises the family of returning troops to not ask too many questions. From his experience, he argues it is best if the families let the veterans discuss what happened during the tour on their own terms.

In expressing his opinion, David would also withhold from making a direct critique on the situation. Instead, he will tell a story (such as his dog being approved for a credit card) that will allow the reader to reach David’s opinion through the ridiculous circumstances surrounding the topic.

With one post – Guantanamo Revisited – the author exercises heavy pathos to convey his point. Emotionally stirring phrases and examples are used in the post to express a profound sense of fear against the Islamic terrorists who are currently held in Guantanamo. Though he is generally friendly and engaging with his audience (he generally thanks people for posting comments), there were no “thanks” returned to those who participated in the Guantanamo discussions, and even a direct insult to those who lacked in “common sense” and disagreed with him. In the second posting of thee Guantanamo discussion, there are no comments that disagree with him.

Seek Others Opinions and Feedback

There are many ways that David is seeking the opinions and feedback of others. There is a comment box feature, so not only can the reader leave a comment of on particular blog, but they can also leave one on the main page. David chose specifically to have this feature included in his blog. David regularly responds to comments in this comment box.

People also leave their comments on the actual postings themselves. In the five posts that I have looked at, four of them had comments. David responded to comments on all four of these posts.

Specific examples of author’s use of feedback can be seen in “A Few Comments Regarding this Blog” where David tells a bit about why he is blogging (because friends inspired him to) and gives a rough outline of things that could be done to improve the blog. He addresses the audience to improve the quality of his site, and to open a dialogue for any problems his readers may encounter. Here the author demonstrates reader-awareness and encourages further interaction.
During the “Rambling Thoughts” September post, he comments that he was removed from Pagrank on Google, and is advised by a viewer on how resume the rank system.

Releasing Emotional Tension

In many of his posts David seems to be writing to release some sort of emotional tension. In the five that I looked at, two of them seemed to be sprung from emotional tension in the first place.

Cat's Dogs and Kids is the best example of David's release of his emotional tension. This post, although containing a light hearted video, talks about a sad event in David's life; his divorce, and his having to part ways from his dog. The post seems to be confessional in a way. Talking about his painful experience and relating it to the video about animals is a way to relieve the emotional tension that David is dealing with.

A fair amount of his blogs are titled “Rambling Thoughts” and as they suggest, follow no specific topic. They move subject to the next without any transition, allowing the author an open-ended discussion that allows him to focus

In a rambling thoughts blog from September, he moves from expressing how quickly time passes, discussing the too-soon-in-coming Christmas, and then flows into analyzing John McCain’s “blunder” of closing down his campaign to address the economic crisis from Washington D.C. Furthermore, David lays some blame on Sarah Palin, who he regards as inexperienced, for the demise of the Republican presidential campaign.

Within this same post, however, he describes visiting the grave of his mother and sister. His sister had died first, and he quotes his mother who said the loss of a child was like “having your heart ripped out over and over again.” David wrote that he was reflecting on the lives of his two family members, when he saw a mother grieving at the loss of a young child in the “Little Angels” portion of the cemetery. He acknowledges his own emotions, those of the grieving mother, and seems to conclude that pain is shared and somebody else always has it a little worse. Not only does this demonstrate release of emotional tension, but think-by-writing as well, which is otherwise not apparent enough to mention.

Patterns of Blog Elements

Patterns of Repetition

-David’s blog posts, begun by the date, with a title, is generally 3 paragraph text-based blog with 1-3 photographs accompanying. Each paragraph has 8-15 sentences.

-David uses photos in just about every one of his posts. The photos are usually on the right side of the post. For posts with multiple photos, David rotates photo placement form right to left.

-There doesn't appear to be any pattern in the post lengths. When David is being the most serious/organized the post is roughy three paragraphs. However, David tends to ramble in some of his posts, leading to a variety of post lengths.

-Posts with videos tend to have the least amount of text. The video themselves are the main purpose of the post.

-David posts the most in the early morning hours between 3 and 6 AM

-David labels (or tags) each post with multiple labels, usually around three or four.

- David uses embedded links in his posts. The only posts that don't have embedded links have videos. Videos are rare on David’s blog.

- David posts a lot. On average he does 25 posts a month
- Usually answers all comments with “Thanks for commenting”

Patterns of Sequencing

David starts out a lot of his posts with facts and finishes with opinions. For example, in writing about current events, David starts the post with a summary of the event, before later going into his personal opinions.

No pattern to the order he posts things in, or the topics they discuss. Generally he takes the broader issue, i.e. the recession, and brings it down to how it’s affecting his daily life.

Patterns of Omission

-David doesn't address where it is exactly that he is writing from.

-David doesn't address why he is writing so early in the morning.

-He minimizes naming particulars, such as names of towns and people, but he is generally willing to name places of business. He also reveals very little about his personal life that doesn’t relate with a bigger subject. For instance, he never mentions if he has kids or what kind of vehicle he drives. He only reveals things (like, his veteran status) if it extends credibility to his statements.

Anomalies to Patterns

-There is at least one post that he posted at 1 AM.
- “Thanks for commenting” which generally follows every post even by Anonymous (or Anon) readers. Except for the May 2008 Guantanamo posting, in which some readers disagree with his views.
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