Negotiating the meanings Of blogging practices in the blogosphere

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY: This study seeks to understand the phenomenon of blogging, the practices in blogging and the reasons to blog. We focus on the blogging practices and their meanings in personal blogging and when blogging for companies. Blogging is looked from the perspective of consumer culture theory and postmodern marketing. For understanding the meanings of blogging practices, Bourdieu's theories on practices and power as capital are utilised. METHODOLOGY: The findings are based on 6 interviews with bloggers. The bloggers ranged from 20 year olds to 40 year olds, male and female with shorter (4 months) and longer (9 years) experiences in blogging. Interviews were done as theme interviews following the techniques presented by McCracken (1988). Autodriving technique (Heisley and Levy, 1991) during the interviews was used with a computer showing the blogger's blog to enable the blogger to scroll down her/his blog while discussing blogging. In the data analysis, hermeneutic of faith was utilised taking the bloggers words quite transparently. The blogger was seen as the expert of her/his own life and her/his own experiences and as trying to describe these as best she/he is able. FINDINGS: The blogging practices found were: blogging, reading blogs, commenting, taking pictures, and checking statistics to see how many readers the blog has and who the readers are. Blogging practices were found to be part of identity management, gaining or maintaining social connections, creating cultural capital, evaluating the worth of the gained capital and gaining economic capital. Blogging in general was found to be a way for the bloggers to create cultural capital to further their careers in the field they were interested in. The bloggers were found to present only one identity in their blogs, which is against the idea of postmodern consumer (Firat et al. 1995) and some past research (Schau and Gilly, 2005) but supported by some studies (Huffaker et al., 2005; Ahuvia, 2005). Blogging for companies was found to be done for economic capital (free products), identity management and for reciprocity to give something back to the blog readers. In general blogging was seen as a common way of communicating and connecting with people and blogging for companies to be a normal part of the phenomenon of blogging.
blogging, blogosphere, identity management, Bourdieu, postmodern marketing, consumer culture theory