Speaking the Same Language? Differences and Similarities between UK and US Bloggers

By Sarah Pedersen.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

While blogging as a form of computer-mediated communication has attracted a growing amount of academic investigation in recent years, the majority of such research has so far focused on the North American experience. 120 UK and US bloggers (equal numbers of men and women) were surveyed about their approaches to blogging, including blogging techniques, habits, motivations and rewards. At the same time, data was collected directly from respondents’ blogs and by means of online tools (Technorati, Surfwax and The Truth Laid Bear). In addition, a blog related to the research was established, which gave the researcher first-hand experience of the challenges of blogging and also offered the opportunity for further data collection since the surveyed bloggers were invited to comment on the research as it was ongoing. While there was much that was similar in blogging on both sides of the pond, certain differences between UK and US bloggers were established, in particular relating to their aims in blogging; how the bloggers perceived blogging (for example, whether it was an IT-related product or more related to creative writing); and satisfactions gained from blogging. In addition, this research has highlighted the growth of a financial motivation for blogging. Research into the motivations of journal bloggers has so far focused on more indirect rewards such as influencing public opinion, sharing information with friends and family, and exercising creative skills. However, a large number of respondents, from both countries, indicated that one of their reasons for keeping a blog is the hope that it will generate income. Such financial recompense might come in the form of attracting new clients to an already established small business or new work or publishing opportunities. Bloggers might also be hoping to make money through the sale of advertising on their blogs. A few respondents could even be called ‘professional’ bloggers, supporting themselves entirely by their blogging. Such a financial motivation was particularly strong amongst women respondents, who may be looking for ways in which to generate income as an alternative to full-time employment outside the home. This paper is based on research conducted between September 2006 and May 2007 and supported by a research leave award from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Keywords: Blogging, Computer-Mediated Communication

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.33-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 651.220KB).

Dr. Sarah Pedersen

Lecturer, The Aberdeen Business School, Department of Communication and Media, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK

Dr Sarah Pedersen is course leader of the MSc Publishing Studies and MSc Publishing with Journalism programme at The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. Her research interests focus around the subject of authorship and have included research into women readers’ response to newspapers during the Edwardian period and academic authorship and the internet. She is at present undertaking research into differences and similarities in motivation for blogging between US and UK bloggers. This research is funded by an AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) research leave grant. She is currently Chairperson of the UK Association for Publishing Education (UKAPE).


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