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Blogs are posted for the public to read on the Internet.  Through out the years blogs have become more popular due to more people knowing about them.  Different types of blogs include personal or microblogging.  Also, corporate and organizational blogs are other types.  There are certain ways to make a writer's blog popular.  The way the writer goes about the tone and attitude of the blog makes a  big difference whether it is popular or not.  With blogs, there are many different legal issues that can arise that people may not be aware about.      



The word "blog" comes from two words, web and log.  It is a log of thoughts and writing posted publicly on the World Wide Web.  In 1997, Jorn Barger created the term "weblog."  The term reflected the process of "logging the web" as he browsed.  By 1999, "weblog" was shortened to "blog" by programmer Peter Merholz.  


Original blogs were updated manually and linked from a central home page or archive.  This was not very efficient, unless the person could create their own custom blogging platform. During the early years, different "blogging" ways were discovered.  LiveJournal was one of the most recognizable of the early years.  By 1999, LiveJournal became Blogger, that was started by Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan.


The early 2000s was a growth period for blogs. By the middle of 2006, there were 50 million blogs according to Technorati's Sate of the Blogosphere report.  Political blogs were some of the most popular early blogs.  One event that helped the rise of blogging was when bloggers focused on the comments U.S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said referring U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond in 2002.  Lott state that the U.S. would have been better off if Thurmond had been elected in 1948.  During the race, Thurmond was a supporter of racial segregation.  The media did not put up on the comments until after bloggers talked about the story.  In- depth blogs were also becoming more popular during this time.  They went into depth with more current news and pop culture.  Some of the popular blogs in the early 2000s included, Boing Boing, TypePad, Gawker, and Huffington Post.  In 2003, Jason Calacins started Weblogs, Inc., and was then sold to AOL for $25 million.  Because of the sale, it helped blogging to be recognized. AdSense was launched in 2003 and was the first ad network to match ads to the content of the blog.  It made it possible for bloggers to start making money.  This resulted to a number of meta blogs to rise.  Bloggers like Darren Rowse and John Chow made large amounts of money from telling other bloggers how turn their blogging into a full-time career.  


By the mid- 2000s, blogs were reaching the mainstream.  In 2005, an estimated 32 million Americans read blogs, which at the time was more than ten percent of the population. Numerous mainstream media sites started their own blogs during the mid to late 2000s.  They also teamed up with existing blogs that provide more coverage and commentary.  By 2004, political consultants, candidates, and mainstream news organization began to use blogs.  This allowed for editorial opinion and for more readers and viewers to be involved.  By the end of 2010, more than 152 million blogs were active and every mainstream news source, corporation, and individual had at least one blog [1].



There are many types of blogs available for readers to access.  Personal blogs are an ongoing diary or commentary by a person.  It is the traditional and most common blog. Personal bloggers usually take pride in their blog post, even if their blog is never read.  For these types of blogs, they become more than a way to communicate, they become a way to reflect on life.  


Microblogging is the practice of posting small pieces of digital content on the Internet.  The digital content could be text, pictures, links, short videos, or other media.  This type of blogging offers a communication mode that is spontaneous to many and has captured public imagination.  Friends use this to keep in touch, business associates to coordinate meetings or share useful resources.  Celebrities and politicians use microblogging to post concert dates, lectures, book releases or tour schedules.  


Corporate and organizational blogs can be private, but it can also be used for business purposes.  Corporate blogs are used for marketing, branding or public relations, and to increase communication and culture in a corporation [2].  


Some blogs focus on a certain subject, like political, health, travel, gardening, or house blogs.  Other blogs that focus on a specific subject include fashion, education, classical music, or quizzing blogs.  


Vlog, is a blog composed on videos.  One comprising link is called linklog.  This contains a portfolio of sketches called a sketchblog or one that includes photos is called a photoblog.  A blog with shorter posts and mixed media types are called tumblelogs. Typecast are blogs that are written on typewriters then scanned.  


Another way blogs are defined are by different devices that are used to compose it.  A moblog is a blog written by a mobile device.  For example, an early blog was Wearable Wireless Webcam, an online shared diary of a person's personal life by using text, video, and pictures.  These were transmitted live from a computer to a website.  As a result, live video together with text was known as sousveillance.   Some journals have been used as evidence in legal matters [2]. 



  Some blogs attract more attention to readers than others.  However, with blogs it is not all about the work or great contentIt is about the likeability of it, how it comes across, the vibe, and the attitude and personality.  People who blog like to have a conversation with the blog and the tone of the post is less conversational.  Blogs are kept easy and informal.  Bloggers reveal things about themselves like sharing personal photos or posting videos where they talk to their readers at.  Bloggers let the people who are reading know what is going on with them [3]. 


An important key to a popular blog is be nice.  Answering emails the readers send and responding to comments helps make the blog popular.  One thing bloggers should remember when writing is the reader.  The blog isn't about the writer, it's about the reader who is going to read it.  The more the writer gives to their blog, the more they get. One final thought about how to make a blog popular is do not try hard to make it popular.  Enjoy writing the post and make it part of the lifestyle writers have.  Those key ideas help make a blog popular and help the readers enjoy it even more. 

Legal Issues 


Legal issues can arise with blogging [4] .  People who blog may publish something that other people do not want published.  Legal issues that can occur include:

  • Defamation
  • Intellectual Property
  • Trade Secret
  • Right of Publicity 
  • Intrusion into Seclusion 


Defamation is a false and unprivileged statement of fact that is harmful towards someone's reputation and published "with fault."  This means it is a result of negligence or malice. 


Intellectual Property refers to issues that arise when a blogger publishes material created by someone else on their blog.  However, if someone who is blogging finds something interesting on another's blogs they are allowed to quote it.  Short quotes are fair and not copyright infringement.  According to the Copyright Act, it says "fair use... for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright."  The Copyright Act has four factors courts look at.  The first thing courts look at is the purpose and character of the use.  Transformative uses are favored over straight copying.  Also, uses that are non-commercial are more likely fair.  Secondly, courts look at the nature of the copyrighted work.  They look at the nature of the work to determine whether it is factual in nature or fiction.  Also, whether it is published or unpublished.  Work that is creative and unpublished get more protection under copyright. The next thing that courts look at are the amount and substantially of the portion used.  Copying most of the work or the core of the work is less likely to be fair.  Next, the effect on the market or potential market is considered.  This is the most important in the analysis.  If a blogger uses the copied work in a way that substitutes the original in the market, it is unlikely to be fair use.  However, if a blogger uses material that serves a different audience or purpose it is most likely to be fair.   


Trade Secret is information that provides a business with a competitive advantage.  Courts have provided trade secret protection to formulas, patterns, plans, designs, physical devices, processes, and, softwareFor example, a formula is recipe that allows someone to create a product.  A popular example of a trade secret formula is the Coca-Cola formulaBecause of the formula it gives the company an advantage in the soda market, because there is no other soda that tastes the same.  


Right of Publicity refers to the bloggers that blog about other people who blog.  Private facts are personal information about someone that has not been disclosed to the public.  Examples of private facts include someone's sexual orientation, a sex-change operation, or a private romantic encounter.  Some jurisdictions permit lawsuits for the publication of private facts.  In California for example, the elements are public disclosure of a private face; that is offensive to a reasonable person, and which is not a matter of public concern.


The last legal issue that can occur with  blogging is Intrusion into Seclusion.  This occurs when someone intrudes within seclusion of another person or their private concerns.  The intrusion would be extremely offensive to the reasonable person.  An example of this is when paparazzi photographing celebrities.  However, if the celebrity gave the paparazzi consent to photograph then the paparazzi has the claim to defend. 


Implications for Media Ecology

Media Ecology relates to the world of blogging.  In the past, blogs started out as online diaries.  Individuals posted information daily about their lives and opinions on varies different things.  Once blogs became more known, interactive features were created to a two-way conversation.  People who read the blogs had the feature of leaving comments on others blog post or link to post other blogs and websites to further the material.  Now, the Internet has become more social and blogs are popular.  Not only are blogs online diaries they have involved into politics and business.  


With the implications of Media Ecology the future of blogs will become more powerful in the future.  More people and businesses realizing the power of blogging and the influence it can have since it is simple and free [5].


[1] Chapman, Cameron. A Brief History of Blogging. March 14, 2011. http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2011/03/a-brief-history-of-blogging/

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog

[3] Rieck, Dean. The 7 Secrets of Running a Wildly Popular Blog. http://www.copyblogger.com/secrets-of-popular-blog/

[4] Legal Liability Overview. https://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal/liability/overview

[5] Gunelius, Susan. What is a Blog? http://weblogs.about.com/od/startingablog/p/WhatIsABlog.htm

Comments (4)

Jeff Martinek said

at 4:05 pm on Nov 29, 2012

I found this quote in the article "The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence" by Henry Jenkins:

We need to move from a politics based on culture-jamming – that is, disrupting the flow of media from an outside position – towards one based on blogging – that is, actively shaping the flow of media. Blogging came into its own during the Gulf War, providing an important communication channel for the antiwar movement. In the Vietnam War era, it took years to build up the network of underground newspapers, alternative comics and people’s radio stations that supported the antiwar movement. In the digital age, antiwar activists emerged almost overnight, forming important alliances, sharing ideas, organizing actions and mobilizing supporters, with most of the important work taking place in cyberspace. Others used
blogging technology to link together important international coverage of the war, providing an implicit critique of the narrowness of the American media’s hyperpatriotic accounts. In some cases, bloggers collected money to send their own reporters to the front so that they could obtain more direct and unfiltered knowledge of what was going on. As blogging has taken off, the form has been incorporated into commercial media sites: Salon, the online news magazine, for example, has a number of famous writers and political leaders who regularly run blogs through its website. Mainstream reporters increasingly scan blogs in search of leads for stories that will then be reported more widely through broadcast media. Furthermore, early signs are that blogging may play a decisive role in shaping the 2004 American presidential elections, having been identified as a key factor in propelling maverick candidate Howard Dean into the front ranks for the Democratic Party nomination.

Jeff Martinek said

at 4:22 pm on Nov 29, 2012

I found this quote in the article "The (Coming) Social Media Revolution in the Academy" by Jessie Daniels and Joe. R. Feagin:

Academics are increasingly bloggers. In many ways, this is a natural fit. Academics mostly love writing and blogging is, at its heart, an activity involving much writing. Academic blogging involves writing that is a remix of such items as a news story, an op-ed piece, and a critical review. Academic bloggers frequently use blogs to keep up with the relevant literature in their field, thereby providing a kind of public note-taking and research-sharing exercise. Academic bloggers also use blogging as a rough draft for ideas they later develop fully for peer-reviewed papers or books. (The second author has done exactly this for a new book, White Man’s Party, on which he is currently working.) As they engage a wider audience beyond peers in their research subfield, academics’ blogging can become scholar-activism. As Jennifer Ho remarks recently in the Journal of Women’s History (Winter, 2010):
My initial blog entries were a form of pre-writing for my book chapters. Yet the sense of accountability that the blog inspired quickly grew beyond one of writing accountability to one of community accountability. . . . as I started to gather a group of readers beyond the friends and family in my address book, I began to see my blog writing as not merely free writing for my book but fundamental writing for issues about which I care deeply. And I began to see that my academic writing and my blog writing enrich and enhance one another; they both speak to the feminist ideals I believe in speaking truth to power and equality for all people.

Jeff Martinek said

at 4:24 pm on Nov 29, 2012

Check out Andrew Keen's book The Cult of the Amateur. It is in our library:

Keen, Andrew.
The cult of the amateur : how blogs, MySpace, YouTube, and the rest of today's user-generated media are destroying our economy, our culture, and our values /
New York : Currency Doubleday, c2007.
xv, 236 p. ;

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