“I Am Blogging…”: A Qualitative Study of Bloggers' Motivations of Writing Blogs

“I Am Blogging…”: A Qualitative Study of Bloggers' Motivations of Writing Blogs

Wenjing Xie (Southern Illinois University Carbondale, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9787-4.ch142
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Introduction

Statistics shows that the last decade has witnessed the rapid proliferation of Weblogs. Deriving from Uses and Gratifications theory, this study is trying to explore the users’ uses and gratifications of blogging and the impacts of blogging on other media use. In-depth interviews discovered seven gratifications generated in the process of blogging: self-presentation, information, socialization, social attention, medium appeal, entertainment, and habit. Reasons and implications of these motives and gratifications are analyzed. However, the relationship between the use of blog and other media is more complicated than previous scholars have expected and it is too hasty to draw the conclusion that blogging acts as a functional alternative to other types of media use.

“Weblogs” (quickly abbreviated as blogs) are distinguished by their format and have developed quickly since its introduction (Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). On blogs, posts or entries are organized chronologically and updated regularly, the latest post appearing at the top of the page with back entries archived by date. Promoted by the calendar structure of posts, Webloggers (or bloggers) can develop their sites into a form of online journal or diary (Sepp & Estonia, 2011).

Until recently, this activity was the preserve of those with the necessary coding and design skills to construct and maintain their own sites. However, in 1999, the first automated blog-publishing systems emerged, which allowed unskilled individuals to run blogs easily and free of charge. Since then, blog has experienced unprecedented proliferation. More importantly, statistics show that 81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs (Collins, 2012) and 92% of companies who blog multiple times a day have acquired a customer from blog (Miller, 2012).

The present paper aims to explore the uses and gratifications of blogging. More specifically, drawing on the theory of Uses and Gratifications, I attempt to investigate the questions about the patterns of blogging, why people write blog, and the impacts of using blogs on the use of other media.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Habitual Media Use: A fairly stable pattern of media preference, choice, and use. It is the outcome of the social situation in which a person is located as well as the available media possibilities.

Media Displacement Theory: It proposes that people only have limited time and attention and participation in one communication activity takes away from participation in others. Therefore, when a new communication technology is introduced, people will have less time for other communication activities.

In-Depth Interview: A widely used qualitative research method in social science that conducts intensive individual interviews with a number of respondents to explore their experience and perspective about a certain topic.

Uses and Gratifications Theory: An approach to understand the active role of audiences in seeking specific media outlet and media content to satisfy their needs. It proposes that people choose a certain media because of their social and psychological motivations and belongs to the media effects research tradition.

Social media: Internet applications that are based on Web 2.0, which allows creation and sharing of user-generated content.

Blog: A website which consists of discrete entries in reverse chronological order. It is also called Weblog. Motivation: A psychological construct that explains the reasons for desire, behavior, and actions. It prompts people to behave in a certain way or show an inclination of certain behavior.

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