“the reality and meaning of a blog exists neither solely in the blog itself nor solely in the reader, but rather in the reader’s active interpretation of, and interaction with, the blog.”
I used to read text with this sort of nonsensical blathering when I did English Literature for my degree. It’s a bit disturbing to find that it’s now encroached on our understanding of blogs, as noted in this Ars Technica article.
There are points verified in the study that I have suspected for some time based on analyzing reader habits on Groundviews, such as the fact that “people will tend to read the top [posts] first, and browse deeper only if they have time—if they don’t, the deeper stories generally don’t get read”. For me this is a significant problem, since the very nature of a blog hides a plethora of vital information in archives that are rarely, if ever, accessed directly through the site (most of the traffic to the archives come from web searches via Google or permalinks referenced directly in other blogs).
On the other hand, some findings bear little similarity with my personal experience of site moderation and online writing. For example, it’s noted that “only one of the study participants said they enjoyed triggering flame wars; most of the others felt their comments were a form of appreciation for the blog author, and worked hard to make them insightful and cogent.” Compare that with our experience of the erstwhile Moju.
I guess the full study is worth reading anyway.
As for literary theory and criticism, I can only wholeheartedly agree with Michael Roberts when he says that:
[literary theory has] paraded its theoretical virtuosity. It [has] built up its very own stratosphere among the cumulus and nimbus of academia. There, in the high stratosphere, these theorists [have begun] to feed off each other, live and squabble among their very own written texts. Many of them, though not all, [remain] firmly in aerospace, losing touch with oral communication, bodily emotions and the agency of ordinary folk.