Personal Blogging: Individual Differences and Motivations

Personal Blogging: Individual Differences and Motivations

Rosanna E. Guadagno (University of Alabama, USA), Cassie A. Eno (University of Alabama, USA) and Bradley M. Okdie (University of Alabama, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-368-5.ch026
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Abstract

The present chapter examines current research of blogging practices; it focuses on the personal blog, a blog created and maintained by an individual and not used for financial or occupational gain. The authors maintain that individual difference factors, such as personality and gender, may contribute to differences in likelihood to blog, motivation to blog, and blog content. The authors argue that the same factors that allow for differentiation of individuals in more classic self-expressive communication modalities (e.g., journaling) may also delineate individuals in new modes of online communication and self-expression. However, these factors may manifest themselves differently over more contemporary methods of self-expression and communication. The authors conclude that bloggers and blog readership appear to be steadily growing, making this area of online self-expression increasingly deserving of scientific inquiry.
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Background

Research indicates that while blogging is becoming increasingly popular around the globe, many of the world’s bloggers reside in the United States (Herring et al., 2005b). Similarly, much of the research on blogging has also been conducted in the United States. This research indicates that, in the United States, bloggers are younger, better educated, more urban, less likely to be a member of an ethnic minority group, and more likely to shop online compared to the general population of Internet users in the United States (Lenhart & Fox, 2006).

Although some research indicates that the adoption rate of blogging in other countries is lower than that of the United States (Herring et al., 2005b; Trammell, Tarkowski, Hofmokl, & Sapp, 2006), other research indicates that Japanese is the most commonly used language for writing blogs and is used more by one percent more bloggers than English (Sifry, 2007). Despite this change, relatively little research has been conducted to examine blogging patterns across different countries; however, the research that is available suggests that blogging patterns are similar across countries. For example, research conducted in Britain shows a similar pattern to what has been found in the United States (Pedersen & Macafee, 2007). These results also suggest that research conducted on blogging in the United States should generalize to blogging in other western countries; however, these results should be interpreted with caution until more research is available.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Blog: A regularly updated personal website which includes journal-like entries that appear in reverse chronological order.

Blogosphere: An online world of conversation among bloggers via interconnected blogs using mechanisms such as blogrolls.

Gender: The state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones).

Big Five Factor Model: An inventory of personality traits comprised of five dimensions: neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

Extraversion: A personality trait on the Big Five personality inventory; individuals characterized as high on this trait tend to be sociable, fun-loving, and affectionate while individuals characterized as low on this trait tend to be retiring, sober, and reserved.

Neuroticism: A personality trait on the Big Five personality inventory; individuals characterized as high on this trait tend to be emotionally unstable, anxious, insecure, and self-pitying while individuals characterized as low on this trait tend to be emotionally stable, calm, secure, and self-satisfied.

Openness to New Experience: A personality trait on the Big Five personality inventory; individuals characterized as high on this trait tend to be imaginative, independent, and prefer variety while individuals characterized as low on this trait tend to be down to earth, conforming, and prefer routine.

Conscientiousness: A personality trait on the Big Five personality inventory; individuals characterized as high on this trait tend to be well-organized, careful, and self-disciplined while individuals characterized as low on this trait tend to be disorganized, careless, and weak willed.

Individual Differences: The aspects of people’s personalities that make them fundamentally different from others (e.g., neuroticism, openness, extraversion, conscientiousness and agreeableness).

Agreeableness: A personality trait on the Big Five personality inventory; individuals characterized as high on this trait tend to be soft-hearted, trusting, and helpful while individuals characterized as low on this trait tend to be ruthless, suspicious, and uncooperative.

Personality: A pattern of relatively enduring distinctive thoughts, emotions and behaviors that characterize the way an individual interacts with his or her environment.

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