Amazon writes to tell me that:
We've noticed that customers who have purchased or rated Uses of Blogs (Digital Formations) by Axel Bruns have also purchased The IT Girls Guide to Blogging with Moxie by Joelle Reeder.
That's odd. Judging by its Amazon description, The IT Girl's Guide to Blogging with Moxie would seem to be a how-to book the with cover of a chick-lit novel, and while I am sure it has all sorts of useful technical information that I should know (and I admit to lacking moxie entirely), I don't really want another how-to book. On the other hand, I did appreciate Uses of Blogs. It is a collection edited by two Australian academics, Axel Bruns and Joanne Jacobs (the latter forgotten by the Amazon automatic message), including a wide range of contributors who know about different applications of blogs in education, the professions, business, and news. I came to it because I was tracking down publications by Jill Walker (she has her chapter on-line). From my notes:
- Bruns, in his introduction, quotes Clay Shirky saying blogs are not one genre
- Suw Charman uses the term 'Trojan mouse' for a small scale project unnoticed by the boss, like Inkytext at my university.
- Jean Burgess notes the problem students have finding a blog voice in blogs for courses.
- Alexander Halavais replaces any definition of blogging with four themes: blogs have networked audiences, they encourage conversation, they are a 'low-intensity activty, and they represent 'thinking in progress'. (I feel an exam question coming on: 'Discuss'.).
- Adrian Miles notes how the 'blogginess of the blog' is broken with publication in a book, out if its context, while video and audio content can servive such recontextualisation.
- And at the end, Axel Bruns has a nice quotation from Neil Gaiman that you probably know but I didn't: 'The blogosphere is not organised, but it's really well disorganised.'
So this is the closest to an academic book on blogs that I have seen so far. It may be that the growing bookshelf on blogs is going to be like the huge bookshelf on advertising: lots of how-to books, journalistic gee-whiz accounts, and recollections of the famous. Good copywriters like David Ogilvy and Peter Mayle have a lot to tell non-practitioners like me, but they don't say anything specific about language, and they don't do arguments. Eventually, advertising discourse got good textbooks like Guy Cook's, but there are still rather few monographs. Since monographs take at least five years, I will probably have to wait awhile for good extended studies of blogs. I should probably start looking for just-about-to-be-completed PhD dissertations.