From online filter to Web format: Articulating materiality and meaning in the early history of blogs
Siles González, Ignacio
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This paper investigates the transformation of blogs from online ‘filters’ into a ‘format’ for sharing a variety of content on the Web. To account for this process of partial stabilization, this study draws on a mixed-methods research design and on an interdisciplinary framework that combines scholarship in science and technology studies (STS) and communication studies. The article analyzes how different communities of users emerged, and how they created three types of websites in the second half of 1990s: online diaries, personal publishing journals, and weblogs. Next, it examines the process of technological stabilization through which weblogs came to crystallize the practices of Web appropriation of these communities. Three dynamics are explored. First, users appropriated weblogs by expanding their types of content. Second, a Web application (Blogger) helped the weblog stabilize and standardize as a site suitable for the purposes of these user communities. Third, software developers and users redefined it as the Web’s ‘native format’. This paper broadens our understanding of technological stabilization by showing that its investigation requires the consideration of how artifacts and content are variously articulated.
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