Sunday, April 17, 2011

practicum post 5: Meredith

Instead of sticking to one site, this week I looked at 3 different political (liberal) blogs to get more involved with how political audiences use the internet. There are three blogs I took a look at: Scholar as Citizen, Campusfirst and NARAL pro-choice Maryland blog. Scholar as Citizen and Campusfirst are directly related to UW-Madison and the issues with Scott Walker and the New Badger Partnership. NARAL pro-choice Maryland blog is a blog surrounding pro-choicewomen and their opinions on abortion. The Blog originally attracted mostly Marylanders but now it has a national audience.
I'll start by looking at The Campus First and Scholar as Citizen. Campusfirst's stated goal is to provide innovative ways to better the UW campus. It is run by ASM, so all of the writers are students. I clicked on the "blogroll" link called "University and State" and got to a student blog discussion. There were various different posts and most of the posts had comments. I would agrue that this blogging is a form of collective intelligence. The blog allows all readers to contribute to the converstation through commenting a
nd link sharing. For example, I read a post labled: "Wis GOP files FOIA request for Prof. Cro
non’s emails." The person who wrote the post added a link to Prof. Cronon's own personal blog called "Scholar as citizen," whic
h is how I got to his blog in the first place. The issue discussed in this post on The Campus First and in Prof. Cronon's blog is about the GOP and Walker's request to go through personal e-mails and talks about e-mail laws and issues that surround privacy laws if an e-mail address has an because technically this would belong to the state. If anyone is interested in this, Prof, Cronon's link is:
I think this is collective intelligence because people are sharing their points of view in a constructive way to help others understand privacy law and are talking about if the New Badger Partnership is a good or bad thing. People who are politically aware are debating about the issue to try to understand it better. I would also argue that these two blogs definitely act as a public sphere online. People are setting their differences aside (for the most part) to try to figure out what's going on. These Badgers are informing one another of what their understanding and take on the situation is and the conversation heavily relies on this informative quality, which is why I think these blogs can act as a type of online participatory culture. The blog isn't just about the blogger, it's also about the audience the blogger has and the information, which usually consists of links to newspapers, other blogs, their personal
knowledge and opinons etc, the audience has to contribute in order to offer a productive perspective on an issue or advice on how to handle the issue.
Now, the NARAL pro-choice blog is a little bit different. The blog is focused on the idea of pro-choice but this is not the only focus. There are other focuses related to the topic like using condoms to prevent STIs and using emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. These women are sharing alternatives to abortions in addition to advocating for pro-choice. This blog most definitely serves as a sex education site making it an informative community. There appears to be less commenting on the blog posts but you can see how man views the blog got. I would agrue that this blog serves more to mobilze people to expand their political action and take transfer their thoughts from online to offline. I think this site serves a sort of "netroot" function. You have the ability to make donations to support the pro-choice campaign on the blog by clicking on a link. The bloggers give you dates and times that certain legislation is happen
ing and encourages people to get out there and lobby and rally for the pro-choice cause. The bloggers also spend a good deal of time organizing rallies and setting up days and times to go to Washington DC and protest certain legislation.
The major difference in these two blogs is the type of particiaption. The campus blogs are more about debate and political discussion rather than mobilization. I haven't found either of these blogs trying to mobilze people and organize a protest or rally or take their comments offline. This is where I would say that these people here as digital citizens are both empowered by the internet but also restricted. They aren't taking their comments offline, or at least they do not appeare to be. However, the blog doesn't seem to function as a political organizer but more of a collective intelligence, informattive community.

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