Blogs - affordances

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Blogs are the quintessential web 2.0 tool
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  • Updated.jpg This entry is out of date, and will not be updated, February 2018


See also: Affordance - what is it? | Blogs | Facebook | Social media landscape | Social network platforms | Twitter | Web 2.0

"Learning the different rhetorics of blogging by practicing them in public, and commenting on one another’s posts
can give students a literacy regarding blogging that they would not have gained by simply reading or
hearing about it."
— Howard Rheingold, Social Media Collaboratory

A blog is a hybrid form of oral and written communication. Most blogs are textual but may also be supplemented visually. Some blogs adopt a casual, almost intimate feel and often read like conversations between the blogger and readers. Perhaps this two-way conversation is what is most appealing about blogs, as entries can stand alone as commentaries or encourage reader feedback. Blogs fall into either monologues or dialogues. Technically, each blog post is a monologue of a blogger's ideas or thoughts. When bloggers discuss and comment, the posts become dialogues. As a communication medium, blogs encourage others to express ideas in depth. This separates it from other, similar forms such as microblogging and email. The very 'publicness' of blogging is a deterrent to participation for some. Generally, bloggers use the public platform of blogging to encourage debate as is the case with many librarian blogs. Consequently, the goal of many librarian and archival blogs is to engender debate and exchange ideas.

Affordances (a start)

To start, you may want to review Affordance - what is it?. Simply stated, an affordance is a design principle that is also controversial; it's a slippery concept at best. That said, in designing online systems with user interfaces, it makes sense to make their affordances obvious to users. The following are a few of the "affordances" of blogs:

  • Blogs enable you to publish your ideas anywhere, anytime and at little or no cost
  • Blogging is a form of participatory journalism and facilitates involvement in civic discourse
  • Writing on a blog is straightforward for anyone with limited web skills
  • Blogs provide a space for reflection and learning; over time, it helps to develop identity and brand
  • Blogs are organized by topic, tags and date and can be syndicated
  • Individual blogs are linked to other blogs which can constitute communities
  • Everything on a blog is archived with an ongoing record of discussions and debate
  • Blog platforms allow others to reply to posts, hyperlink to their own updated entries and create an ecosystem of information
  • Friends, parents and other students can see blog entries from anywhere and comment, edit or add to conversation
  • Blogs can be continued indefinitely as it does not necessarily need readers or advertising to survive
  • Bloggers can upload photos and get to know other bloggers giving a feeling of being connected


Pros and cons of the blog as medium


  • Quick and easy to create a new interactive website; can publish instantly
  • Public form of communication and encourages you to organize your thoughts more clearly before writing
  • Easy way to practice writing and improve writing skills in a disciplined manner
  • Once in the habit of blogging it is easy to continue
  • Blogging can give you a sense of ownership and a platform for your opinions
  • Encourages reticent speakers who may be shy about talking in public
  • Blogs are places to express and share information
  • Easy to find out what others think and feel about something
  • A place to try out new ideas and find collaborators for projects


  • It takes a lot of time to keep a blog updated
  • Blogs are more casual than professional journal papers
  • May encourage sloppy writing habits similar to email and instant messaging
  • Not all conversations are appropriate for public sharing
  • May be difficult for anyone with little computer skill
  • Some people may not want to learn new technology
  • Some people may not blog if they are not required to because it takes time
  • May be difficult to keep blogging about subjects that are relevant
  • Blogs do not lend feeling of a conversation because of the time delay
  • Blogs are not good for questions that require a quick response
  • Blogs are very public; do not offer confidentiality
  • Blogs may create competition or flaming wars

See Why I Blog by Andrew Sullivan in the Atlantic

What makes good blogging?

"According to Maness (2006), the one thing that perplexes most adopters of Web 2.0,
after getting past the huge buffet of Web 2.0 tools, is figuring out what each tool does, and how to use it most effectively."
I have been blogging since 2005. As an experienced blogger, I take responsibility for the teaching of good blog etiquette before other librarians start their blogging. I believe safe, responsible blogging in the library and information science (LIS) field involves building a readership around useful information and discussions. This is what I try to achieve in my own blogging. New bloggers should be cautioned about the pros/cons of blogging and being respectful of others. Do not feel shy, however, about engaging others in debate. All student bloggers should be encouraged to read other blogs and reply to them. They should be encouraged to proofread their entries before posting to ensure that they take this form of writing seriously. Students in LIBR559M are encouraged to post material relevant to our understanding of social media. I monitor your blogs and post relevant information as appropriate but feel students need some freedom to try out new things without interference. I will certainly give you ample freedom to explore the whole process of learning how to blog.

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