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Blogrolls and indecisive reciprocity

OK, I’ve decided to announce when I am adding links to my Blogroll. I decided early on just to include links to blogs and websites relevant to my research, anthropology and internet research in general, but recently I’ve been wondering about that, as it means I’m not doing what most bloggers do, ‘spreading the link love’ – i.e. exchanging reciprocal links. The thing is, I don’t want to link to some and not to others, and seeing as I look at a whole range of blogs – not just those I would read regularly – I don’t know which to choose to link to or not… On the other hand, I’m feeling guilty about not linking back to those who have linked to me…

I haven’t made up my mind on that one yet, but what I’d like to do is set up a link list of all the blogs I have collated in my database (about 250 so far), but for that I’d need some automated process linking a static page to a database, which I don’t know how to do…

Anyway, here are the recent links:

Susan C. Herring's Publications
Susan Herring has done lots of pioneering research into blogs, and I came across this page recently. It has a list of all her work, and most of them are available for download – even some scanned book chapters.

Native Anthropologist
A “Nigerian PhD candidate at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology” Nigerian (I think) anthropologist, doing research on second hand clothing trade networks between Benin and Nigeria; I think we could have some interests in common, seeing as we’re looking at economic/market issues.

Cicilie among the Parisians
“A blog from Cicilie Fagerlid's fieldwork research on poetry, anger and cosmopolitanism in Paris” – urban anthropology I guess, she is a Norwegian anthropologist.

Blog Analysis Toolkit
I have yet to test this properly, but it comes from the same people who developed the handy online Coding Analysis Toolkit - an online, free, application to do content analysis coding. It can work with Atlas.ti files, or you can do your own coding from raw data.

The Impoverished Social Scientist's Guide to Free Statistical Software and Resources
A useful resource – as the title says.

Blackstone's World With
A lecturer at the Center for English Language Communication (CELC) – National University of Singapore. Using his blog as part of his teaching.

Oh, and by the way, nothing to do with research, but Congratulations! to Mei Chern. She has now released her second album and is going to play at a festival in the US! Tahniah! :-D Listen to her!

Testing - Flog Blog

I've been told that I can use the Flog Blog application in Facebook to have my blog appear there too... Here goes for a test of the automatic ping...

**Update 17/7/08**
OK, that seems to work, but it's not exactly what I wanted. My newsfeed says I've done a new post, but you can see it unless you click on it...
There used to be an application called 'Blog Friends' that would show the whole post. Unfortunately, that closed down in March - an explanation by the developers here.

**Update 17/7/08 AGAIN**
Ah, it does display in the profile, it was just hidden down below... will have to check if it does pictures, etc.

A year for All-Blogs and 100 days for Malaysia (more or less)

All-Blogs started around April last year , Blog House opened in August, and Malaysian politics entered a dramatic new phase 100 days ago (actually 122 today). To celebrate the 100 days, All-Blogs organised a dinner last Saturday.

Given all the heated political happenings recently, you might have expected there to be some serious politicking going on, but the evening turned out to be much more relaxed than I expected.
Soon after I arrived. More people turned up later.

I arrived about 8pm, and after signing in and signing my own cup (part of an effort to avoid wasting plastic cups – good idea :-)), I got a beer and some of the nice food provided. As the evening went on more people turned up, and I was surprised by the number of YBs there – seven in all: Nurul Izzah Anwar , Mukhriz Mahathir, Jeff Ooi , Loh Kwo Burne , Wee Choo Keong , Ronnie Liu , and Tian Chua came by – I didn’t see him but saw a photo afterwards. Notice the odd one out? I asked Mukhriz Mahthir if he had a blog, and he said no but maybe he would get one...

This gathering really seemed to reflect some of the momentous changes happened over the last year: from ‘stupid unemployed women’, (some) bloggers have been promoted to legitimate political commentators on a national scale, BN and UMNO have been shaken to the core, and the opposition is in the ascendant.

Blogs really are the flavour of the week: when I went to the Blog House opening last year, there was a definite feeling of being a bit ‘underground’, and blogs were regularly being attacked and demonised in the press. And you would not have seen major companies sponsoring them! This time round, a whole slew of companies donated funds, including Air Asia and LG in particular.

In Rocky’s post there are some comments questioning the implication of corporate sponsorship, to which Rocky has responded; and someone has suggested the formation of an alternative bloggers group.

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All-Blogs 100 Days event – Before

Continuing with my data collection re the event, below is a list of posts online before the event. I try to find them by searching for ‘100 days All-Blogs’ in Google and Technorati, and checking the first 10 pages of results (Google returns more than Technorati). Then in the posts I try to follow links from commenters and such, and also guessing who might have posted about it.

To be honest, they mostly say the same thing – just announcing the event details, and so on, some emphasising more the ‘Meet your YB’ aspect than others. I guess what is does show how blogs are used for organising events: 16 21 [updated 08/07/08] blogs in all mentioned it, which may not seem a lot, but the collective readership of those blogs will be in the thousands (mostly concentrated on the big names – Screenshots, Rocky, The People’s Parliament, etc.) [& Malaysia Today 08/07/08].

At the end of the event, one of the last announcements was about the protest the next day, saying ‘see you tomorrow… if you don’t know the details, check the blogs’. Not to re-state the obvious, but it the way it was said – so matter-of-factly – it just brought home to me how much blogs are interwoven with contestatory political action in Malaysia, and how effectively blogs enable the bypassing of controls on information that were so prevalent before. They act as essential logistical nodes that disseminate information and provide an ‘always-on’ low-level mobilising tool for political action.

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A day in the life of an anthroblogologist

Well, a morning rather. What I try to do every morning is add some blogs to my database. I made it using FileMaker Pro, which is relatively easy to use I find, and basically I try to collect information that I’m able to find from the blog itself, to which I occasionally may add information I know from other sources. The point is to gather ‘demographic’ information about all these ‘inhabitants’ of the Malaysian blogosphere: what kind of blog they have, what ads they have, which groups they’re part of, age, occupation, gender, etc.

What I also do is note down specific posts that I find important as examples of types of behaviour, like the other day I noticed someone talking about how they’d been blogging for three months but made less than a dollar (which is more than I have :/ ), and there were some comments with advice and so on. A good example of people sharing practices and therefore building common practices and ‘socialities’ as John Postill might say.
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Blog typologies

One thing I’ve found since I started my PhD is that mostly academics are very contactable and happy to share material. So far I have contacted a few out of the blue, because I had difficulty getting hold of a paper written by them, and they immediately sent me a copy. Which is very nice.

I knew of a paper that talked about 9/11 and blogs, and had a interesting model relating to types of blogs in it, but I couldn’t remember the name (except that it started with a K and it was long) or where I’d seen it mentioned (now I think of it, it must have been in Blood’s book, anyway…). So I did a bunch of Googling and eventually tracked down this
Krishnamurthy, Sandeep. "The multidimensionality of blog conversations: The virtual enactment of September 11." AOIR Internet Research 3.0: Net/Work/Theory. Maastricht, The Netherlands. October 13-16 2002.

I emailed Sandeep Krishnamurthy and he kindly sent me a copy. Here is the model in it:

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