Blogging Their Way Out of Disadvantage: Women, Identity and Agency in the Blogosphere

Blogging Their Way Out of Disadvantage: Women, Identity and Agency in the Blogosphere

Amelia Rose Coleman (Queensland University of Technology, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0010-0.ch005
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Abstract

The ways that blogs are used to improve the lot of the disenfranchised is an area that is increasingly gaining research traction. This chapter presents a literature review of the recent literature in to the ways that minority groups are using blogs to tell their story to a wide audience. It looks at the ways that human rights bloggers have used Web 2.0 platforms to express themselves. It then applies Foucault's (1988) work on self-expression to other groups who are also heavy users of blogs to express themselves in new ways. The chapter looks at poverty, at those who identify as LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer) and women. It suggests that there is much research that still needs to be undertaken to properly examine the role of blogs in the lives of increasing numbers of groups who are not able to express themselves in mainstream media, and to explore the ways that these blogs render mainstream media irrelevant in connected times.
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A Tool For Self-Expression

Blogging is often described in the literature as a means of self- expression. Until a decade ago, creative expression had been mostly produced and offered for a price by “experts” and corporations with little input from the consumers of the creative products themselves (Bruns, 2006). The print and broadcast era dominating the years roughly between 1950 and 1980 saw a strict division of labour between those who distributed creative products in a top- down fashion to the masses and those who purchased these products for private consumption (Bruns, 2006). The result of this approach was that few who were marginalised had the ability to publish. As we settle well into the new media environment, the Internet now acts as an open innovation network that benefits from harnessing the creative input of the entire population, not just the opinions of a select few (Bruns, 2006; Burgess, 2007; Hartley, 2004). Unlike other avenues for creative expression, the Internet does not distinguish between literacy and publication. In the new media environment there is an almost infinite scope for DIY (do-it-yourself) and DIWO (do-it-with-others) creative content produced by and for consumers, without the need for institutional filtering or bureaucracy (Burgess, 2007). New media is fueling population-wide online literacy, through which everyone is a potential publisher. But what is it that motivates individuals to publish their creative thoughts and feelings online?

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