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Keywords:

  • Knowledge gap;
  • Knowledge possession;
  • Knowledge production;
  • Filter blogs;
  • Personal journals;
  • Social power;
  • Internet

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. From knowledge possession to knowledge production
  4. Bloggers as knowledge producers
  5. Blog production and mass media use
  6. Social power of blogs
  7. Method
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
  10. Limitations
  11. Conclusion and Recommendations
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. References
  14. About the Author

Blog is currently a popular form of knowledge production on the Internet. Research shows that relatively few bloggers produce “filter blogs,” which focus on political knowledge. Most bloggers produce personal journals. This study uses national survey data to determine whether and why people have differential knowledge production in the form of different blogs. As knowledge is a critical indicator of social power, this research also examines whether blogs with different levels of political knowledge demonstrate unequal social power. Results show that bloggers with higher socioeconomic status contribute more filter blogs than lower-status segments. Even among filter bloggers, socioeconomic status, gender, and print-media use are associated with social influence. These findings suggest that a knowledge production gap merits more scholarly attention.

On September 8, 2004, only weeks before the U.S. presidential election, the CBS television network's 60 Minutes II aired a story regarding President George W. Bush's fulfillment of service obligations in the Texas Air National Guard. Some damaging memos written by Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian, Bush's Guard supervisor, were exhibited in the report. The memos asserted that Bush received preferential treatment when he abruptly gave up flying and moved from Texas to Alabama to take part in a political campaign.

Nineteen minutes into the CBS report, the authenticity of the memos was challenged by an active Air Force officer on a discussion forum at the conservative website FreeRepublic.com. About 4 hours later, postings from “Buckhead,” a Republican lawyer in Atlanta claimed that the typography of the memos was inconsistent with period typewriters (Pein, 2005; Scott, 2007). The buzz quickly made its way to other blogs such as Rathergate.com, Littlegreenfootballs.com, AndrewSullivan.com, InstaPundit.com, and DrudgeReport.com. Within 24 hours after the story aired, the authenticity issue brought about by bloggers resulted in having the story effectively retracted by mainstream media across the nation. Then, on September 15, CBS anchor Dan Rather acknowledged that there were serious questions about the authenticity of the documents. Two months later, this legendary anchor announced his resignation, after serving CBS for nearly 4 decades, in what has become known as “Memogate.”

Memogate is just one of the examples illustrating the power of bloggers to produce their own knowledge, to mobilize citizens behind a cause, and to bring about social and political change (Kaye, 2007). As 8% of internet users in the US, or about 12 million Americans, keep a blog, and 39%, or 57 million Americans, read blogs (Pew, 2006), the role of bloggers as knowledge producers deserves more scholarly scrutiny. Nevertheless, past research primarily focused on the possession of knowledge as most knowledge gap research does. Little attention has been paid to the production of knowledge.

Political knowledge is a critical social resource through which citizens make informed decisions that reflect their own interests. Unlike knowledge possession which is a passive state, knowledge production is an active enterprise which is more important to participatory democracy. Consequently, compared to unequal knowledge possessions, the gaps in knowledge production represent a more significant social inequality and power distribution.

Historically, knowledge production has been a privilege of certain segments of society, such as the government and the corporate sector (Schiller, 1981, 1984). New digital and interactive media, which not only allow but encourage individuals' production and sharing of their own information, break the bureaucratic monopoly of knowledge. Using the tools of blogs and other web outlets, any Internet user could become a knowledge producer and have a voice in the virtual political space. It seems that blog's power to transform media audiences from content consumers to content producers has the potential to revive the democratic and participatory public sphere.

Past research, however, shows that only a small portion of bloggers choose to produce political knowledge on the Internet (Herring, Scheidt, Bonus, & Wright, 2004, 2005; Herring, Scheidt, Kouper, & Wright, 2007; Papacharissi, 2007). Such blogs are called filter blogs, which include certain items while excluding others, often focused on news and political events (Herring et al., 2005). The majority of bloggers, on the contrary, select to write something about their personal lives. They are called personal journals (Herring et al., 2005, 2007). Such disparity between the number of filter blogs and personal journals produced on the Internet exhibits a gap in knowledge production. As almost half the American population (46%) has used the internet to get news about the campaigns, share their views, and mobilize others in the 2008 election (Pew, 2008), whether and why people have differential knowledge production in the form of different blogs becomes an urgent issue facing the American society.

The goal of this study is to understand the knowledge production gap in the form of different blogs, particularly, between filter blogs and personal journals. In addition, as knowledge is a critical indicator of social power (Donohue, Tichenor, & Olien, 1973), this research examines whether different forms of blogs with different levels of political knowledge demonstrate unequal social power. Specifically, it first investigates demographic, political, and media use variables associated with the production of filter blogs vs. personal journals. Then, it compares the links, hits, and attention from different audiences received by these two types of blogs. Finally, this study addresses the predictors of links, hits, and attention, particularly among filter bloggers, to answer the question of who the more powerful knowledge producers are.

From knowledge possession to knowledge production

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. From knowledge possession to knowledge production
  4. Bloggers as knowledge producers
  5. Blog production and mass media use
  6. Social power of blogs
  7. Method
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
  10. Limitations
  11. Conclusion and Recommendations
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. References
  14. About the Author

Merriam-Webster defines knowledge as the fact or condition of having information or of being learned. Correspondingly, political knowledge refers to the fact of having information or of being learned about one's political environment. To some extent, knowledge is interchangeable with information.

Access to political knowledge is a central element of a strong democracy. Knowledge such as how the political system works and the identities of major political actors, as well as their stances on issues, determines the extent of political engagement and the quality of civic judgments. As political knowledge and participation are principal mechanisms through which democratic systems bring about the social good, low levels of political knowledge is generally regarded as problematic for democracy (Lippmann, 1993, 1998; Converse, 1964, 1970; Neuman, 1986; Delli Carpini & Keeter, 1989; Niemi & Junn, 1998).

In addition to low average levels of political knowledge observed in democratic countries, an equally disturbing problem is that the limited political information is not evenly distributed (Campbell, Converse, Miller, & Stokes, 1960; Converse & Dupeux 1962; Delli Carpini & Keeter, 1989). With a long tradition in the field of communication research, the knowledge gap theory provides a framework for understanding the unequal distribution of knowledge. Tichenor, Donohue, and Olien (1970) hypothesized that as the infusion of mass media information into a social system increases, people with higher socioeconomic status (SES) tend to acquire this information at a faster rate than people with lower SES. As a result, the gap in knowledge between these segments tends to increase rather than decrease.

The hypothesis emphasized the differential growth of knowledge. Those “have-nots” do gain knowledge, but “haves” acquire it at a greater rate, resulting in a growing relative gap (Gaziano, 1997). SES, most often using formal education as a surrogate, is a determinant of people's knowledge acquisition. The Tichenor-Donohue-Olien team argued that education influences the rate of knowledge acquisition, because it is associated with higher reading and comprehension abilities, more stored information or existing knowledge, and more relevant social contacts and reference groups. In addition, more educated people tend to show more dependence on print media, which are oriented toward higher-status segment.

Subsequent studies found other variables that play a role in shaping the knowledge gap. Luskin (1990), for example, categorized knowledge antecedents into three groups: opportunity, ability, and motivation. To be politically informed, individuals need to be exposed to relevant information, be equipped with the ability to make sense of it, and be motivated enough to seek and process information (Liu & Eveland, 2005). Kwak (1999) found that motivational variables and media use significantly modify the relationship between education and knowledge acquisition. Other researchers indentified many contingent variables that affect knowledge gaps, such as content domains, channel differences, community size, operational definitions of knowledge, and the role of media publicity in campaign and noncampaign communication (Gaziano, 1983; Viswanath & Finnegan, 1996).

Recent studies extended the knowledge gap concept to a parallel phenomenon, the participation gap. Eveland and Scheufele (2000), for example, examined the relationships between various news media use and gaps in knowledge and participation. They found newspaper use, but not television news use, relates to gaps in general political participation. Viewing election campaigns as information campaigns, Nadeau, Nevitte, Gidengil, and Blais (2008) found that the intensity of media signals on different issues influences who receives what information. They also found that knowledge gains have a significant impact on vote intentions. Moreover, Cho and McLeod (2007) went beyond the individual level and tested the impact of community structure on knowledge and participation. Their findings show that at the community level, cohesion was associated with higher mean levels of participation and reduced participation gaps, whereas population density was associated with lower levels of participation and increased gaps.

Previous knowledge gap research, nevertheless, predominantly focused on knowledge possession. An arguably more important dimension—knowledge production—received little attention. Informed by critical literature, Rakow (1989) argued that the “knowledge gap” hypothesis should be reformulated as a “knowledge-production gap”: “the more information certain bureaucratic organizations have come to produce, the greater becomes the relative disparity of knowledge produced by them as compared to others in society (p. 164).” Knowledge must be considered in relation to its production because it is always a particular account. While theoretically everyone can produce knowledge, this has become a privilege of certain segments of society, such as the government and the corporate sector (Schiller, 1981, 1984). Knowledge produced by these organizations in turn justifies their right and ability to do so and thus forms a self-perpetuating cycle. Other sources produce little knowledge or, their knowledge is senseless or meaningless, because what is considered knowledge makes sense only within the logic of the very system that created it (Rakow, 1989).

In the age of traditional mass media, few individuals produce knowledge for the mass public. This is probably why past knowledge gap research did not tap knowledge production at the individual or community level. Knowledge production gap were basically between organizations (e.g., between commercial sector and public sector as observed by Schiller, 1984) or between bureaucratic organizations and individuals. Bureaucratic organizations, noted by Rakow (1989), controlled which information will be made available to whom and tailored the messages for individuals to achieve their desirable effect. Their goal is not to inform but to control.

The emergence of the Internet as a sphere for political expression (Shah, Cho, Eveland, & Kwak, 2005) and its capacity that enables the users to generate their own information seem to change the rules of game. Because any individual who has access to the Internet can produce something online and reach a potential mass audience, the production of information and knowledge seems no longer controlled by organizations. The debate over the power distributions among the users, however, does not disappear because of the new technology. Enthusiasts, for instance, predicted that the Internet would reduce inequality by lowering the cost of information and thus enhance the ability and social chances of low-status segments of the population (Anderson, Bikson, Law, & Mitchell, 1995). By contrast, cyber-skeptics suggested that the greatest benefits will accrue to high-SES persons, who may use their resources to employ new media sooner and more productively than their less privileged peers (Wei & Zhang, 2008a, 2008b). Moreover, this tendency would be reinforced by better Internet connections and easier access to social support (DiMaggio, Hargittai, Neuman, & Robinson, 2001). Consequently, the issue of knowledge production gap among individuals becomes more prevalent, and more urgent, in the new media age, where any Internet user could turn out to be a knowledge producer.

Bloggers as knowledge producers

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. From knowledge possession to knowledge production
  4. Bloggers as knowledge producers
  5. Blog production and mass media use
  6. Social power of blogs
  7. Method
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
  10. Limitations
  11. Conclusion and Recommendations
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. References
  14. About the Author

Among various forms of knowledge producers on the Internet, blogger is currently the most popular and common one. Blog refers to a webpage that contains regular or daily posts, reverse chronological presentation, and dominant use of the first person (Herring, Kouper, et al., 2004; Tremayne, 2007a). Among all the possibilities brought about by this new form of communication, the most exciting one would be the power to transform media audiences from content consumers to content producers (Dominick, 1999; Papacharissi, 2002a, 2002b, 2007).

Blogs have been perceived by many as an alternative form of journalism (Blood, 2003; Bloom, 2003; Gillmor, 2003; Lasica, 2002, 2003; Welch, 2003). As Lasica (2003) observed, bloggers “take part in the editorial function of selecting newsworthy and interesting topics, they add analysis, insight and commentary, and they occasionally provide a first-person report about an event, a trend, a subject” (p. 73). Other popular narratives about blogs include “citizen journalism” (Bentley et al., 2007), “civic journalism” (Rosen, 1999; Rutigliano, 2007), “participatory journalism” (Gillmor, 2003), “public's journalism” (Witt, 2004), etc. Bloggers, correspondingly, have been called “public intellectuals” (Park, 2003) and “opinion leaders” (Delwiche, 2004).

Low barrier of entry, production, and distribution is an inherent benefit of blogging that helps break the line between journalists and the public. There is no license requirement to start a media outlet on the Internet. The cost of creating a blog is cheap or even free. A good number of free blogging software has “given millions of people the equivalent of a printing press on their desks” (Blood, 2003, p. 61). Moreover, blogs provide people who were media consumers with a sizeable audience and a relatively audible voice (Papacharissi, 2007). Some blogs, especially those filter blogs, have attained a large audience. Some news blogs even surpassed readerships of traditional print media such as The Chicago Tribune and The Dallas Morning News (Lasica, 2004).

Blogging is, in the opinion of some, not only an alternative but a better form of journalism. First, blogs are seen by users as “conduits to raw information, somehow less corrupted by power than their predecessors” (Tremayne, 2007b, p. xvi). Given the perception of increased bias and decreased credibility of traditional mass media, bloggers can serve as mainstream media fact-checkers and ideological watchdogs (Glaser, 2004). Johnson, Kaye, Bichard, and Wong (2007) discovered that politically interested Internet users judged blogs as more credible than any mainstream media or online source. Hence, they relied more on blogs than on any other source for news and information. Uses and gratifications research of blog use motivations also found that top reasons why users access blogs include refreshing alternative sources, unique presentation of information, and the depth and timeliness of information (Kaye, 2005, 2007). Users not only seek information not found in traditional media, but also are drawn to blogs simply because they do not like or trust the traditional media. They also use blogs to check the accuracy of traditional media or to participate in the process of “fisking” (refers to a point-by-point sarcastic and cutting refutation of a blog entry or news article) of media people and public officials.

Second, blogging is conversational and participatory in nature. Blogs are usually connected with each other by hyperlinks, which develop a sense of community. Readers can easily interact with bloggers by means such as immediate comments, instant messages, and e-mail. As Andrews (2003) argued, the blogosphere is leading journalism to “expand from a centralized, top-down, one-way publication process to the many-hands, perpetual feedback loop of online communications” (p. 64). It has many benefits not found in traditional media: interactive and informal writing, capacity to share local and firsthand information, and the power of networks to mobilize actions (Rutigliano, 2007). As blogging encourages readers to become a part of the news process (Lasica, 2003), it has the potential to revive the democratic and participatory public sphere.

Content analyses, however, were less supportive of the definition of blogging as journalism. Research found three basic types of blogs: filters with external content to the blogger, personal journals with internal content, and k(nowledge)-logs which are repositories of technological information and observations (Herring et al., 2004). Among these genres, personal journal ranks number one and accounts for approximately 70% of blogs (Herring et al., 2005, 2007). In an analysis of a random sample of 260 blogs, Papacharissi (2007) found only five news blogs, with 15.5% of the blogs containing news links. Figure 1 demonstrates a clear gap between the number of personal journals and filter blogs over time.

image

Figure 1. Blog type: personal journal vs. filter blog.

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According to Rakow (1989), the knowledge production gap is theoretically defined as the relative disparity of knowledge produced by different segments of the society. Filter blogs, by its definition, generally produce more political knowledge than do personal journals. Therefore, in this study, knowledge production gap is operationally defined as the disparity between the number of filter blogs and personal journals. Past research found that filter blogs are specialized in political information and knowledge. Although they are not necessary to associate with political knowledge only, they are characterized by posting political information and thus producing most political knowledge among all types of blogs (Herring et al., 2004, 2005, 2007; Papacharissi, 2007). Personal journals, in contrast, focus on private lives rather than public affairs so that they produce very little political knowledge (Herring et al., 2005, 2007). To some extent, filter blogs and personal journals represent two poles on the knowledge production spectrum. Such differential content preferences make their forms a significant indicator of knowledge production. Thus, it is reasonable to say that the number of filter blogs vs. personal journals can somewhat represent the quantity of knowledge production on the Internet. By investigating the disparity between the number of filter blogs and personal journals, researchers can shed some light on the phenomenon of knowledge production gap.

Admittedly, filter blogs and personal journals do not represent all blog categories on the Internet. Other types of blogs, such as entertainment, technology, and health blogs, exist in the blogosphere. This study, however, focuses on filter blogs and personal journals because they stand for two poles of political knowledge production, which is a central concern of this study. In addition, personal journals account for the majority of blogs and simply could not be ignored by any blog researchers. Other types of blogs are excluded because of their low presence and irrelevance.

Although previous studies identified knowledge production gap in the form of blogs production, researchers did not explain well why there is such a gap. A few sparse studies addressed the authorship issue of blogs in general with mixed findings. Some found that the blogosphere is slightly dominated by female author (e.g., Perseus, 2003), whereas others found the contrary (e.g., Harp & Tremayne, 2006; Rainie, 2005; Viegas, 2005). Few studies investigated the factors influencing bloggers' specific content selection; though one content analysis did reveal that filter blogs are dominated by adult males, whereas teen females predominate in the creation of personal journals (Herring, Kouper, et al., 2004). In contrast, more attention was paid to predictors of blog reading: male, young, white, affluent, well-educated, and politically conservative (Eveland & Dylko, 2007; Greenspan, 2003; Johnson & Kaye, 2004; Kaye & Johnson, 2004; Rainie, 2005; Rainie, Fox, & Fallows, 2003). What demographic and political variables contribute to the production of filter blogs vs. personal journals remains obscure and deserves more examination.

RQ1: What demographic and political variables predict the production of filter blogs vs. personal journals?

Blog production and mass media use

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. From knowledge possession to knowledge production
  4. Bloggers as knowledge producers
  5. Blog production and mass media use
  6. Social power of blogs
  7. Method
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
  10. Limitations
  11. Conclusion and Recommendations
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. References
  14. About the Author

Bloggers heavily rely on mainstream media for information (Cornfield, Carson, Kalis, & Simon, 2005; Halavais, 2002). Particularly, filter blogs, most commonly focused on politics or current affairs, usually “filter” information from mainstream media and add a personal opinion or analysis to it. Through a content analysis of four top political blogs during the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign, Scott (2007) found that blogs were doing mediated reporting rather than firsthand reporting of events directly experienced in the real world. Bloggers did perform traditional news functions such as surveillance and correlation, but they did it based upon information published by other media outlets. This is understandable because most bloggers are not professional journalists and do not have sufficient resources and expertise. The most common links created by bloggers in their posts are links to mainstream news websites (Cornfield et al., 2005; Halavais, 2002; Reese, Rutigliano, Hyun, & Jeong, 2005). In this sense, bloggers are themselves news readers of mainstream media—often very active readers (Tremayne, 2007c). As news reliance significantly predicts political knowledge (Beaudoin & Thorson, 2004), bloggers' dependence on mainstream media for political information may directly contribute to the knowledge they produce.

In contrast, personal journal bloggers focus on intimate thoughts and internal workings, so that they are less dependent upon mainstream media. Consequently, it is expected that different types of blogs will have different relationships with mass media use.

H1: The production of filter blogs is more strongly associated with mass media use than is the production of personal journals.

Social power of blogs

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. From knowledge possession to knowledge production
  4. Bloggers as knowledge producers
  5. Blog production and mass media use
  6. Social power of blogs
  7. Method
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
  10. Limitations
  11. Conclusion and Recommendations
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. References
  14. About the Author

Whether different forms of blogs with different levels of political knowledge demonstrate unequal social power is another research question. Knowledge gap researchers view knowledge as a fundamental social resource, which helps citizens make choices and develop preferences that reflect their needs and interests (Althaus, 2001; Delli Carpini & Keeter, 1989). Political knowledge is also a principal correlate of both political (e.g., Delli Carpini & Keeter, 1989) and nonpolitical participation (e.g., McLeod et al., 1996). It not only promotes civic attitudes that encourage civic engagement and political activities, but makes citizens aware of where and how to engage in civic and political events, by the so-called mobilizing information (Hoffman, 2006; Lemert, Mitzman, Seither, Cook, & Hacket, 1977). People with more knowledge and participation, eventually, are more likely to reap the benefits provided by the social system and more likely to be successful in asserting their interests (Cho & McLeod, 2007). Fundamentally, knowledge gap research is motivated by this concern about power and inequality.

Yet, power is an “essentially contested concept” which is unavoidably “value dependent” (Lukes, 1974: 9). In his influential book, Power: A Radical View, Lukes claims that, both the definition and any given use of power, “once defined, are inextricably tied to a given set of (probably unacknowledged) value-assumptions which predetermine the range of its empirical application” (Lukes, 2005: 30). According to Lukes in the reissue of his 1974 book, there are three views of power: one-dimensional, two-dimensional, and three-dimensional. He argues that the first two views are limited to concrete decisions and observable conflicts, claiming that the three-dimensional view is a better means to investigate power relations. Less visible than the first two views, the three-dimensional view posits that A can also exercise power over B by influencing, shaping, or determining his perceptions, cognitions, and preferences in such a way as to ensure the acceptance of a certain role in the existing order. No matter how many views or dimensions are there, the basic common core to the concept of power in the analysis of social relationships is the notion that A in some way affects B in a significant manner.

Consequently, the social power of blog could be conceptually defined as a blogger's capacity to influence as many audiences as possible. The more audiences a blogger influences by his or her blog information, the greater power he or she has in the blogosphere.

Most previous knowledge gap research, however, focuses on social structural and psychological antecedents to knowledge rather than on the power distribution per se. Unequal distribution of social power is implied by different levels of knowledge possession but is rarely measured directly. The emergence of bloggers as knowledge producers offers an ideal opportunity to examine the power distribution on the Internet.

First, the interactive nature and network structure of blogosphere make the power of bloggers as knowledge producers more visible. As a rule of thumb, the more hyperlinks to one's site on the Internet, the more traffic one can expect, and the more influence it will have on the web (Tremayne, 2007b). Thus, the number of incoming links and hits represent the general social power of blogs (Tramayne, Zheng, Lee, & Jeong, 2006). Past research found an ‘elite’ bias, or a ‘power-law’ principle of blogosphere, where a few actors gain disproportionate influence through preferential attachment (Adamic & Huberman, 2000; Barabasi & Albert, 1999; Drezner & Farrel, 2008; Kleinberg & Lawrence, 2001; Kottke, 2003; Thompson, 2006). This unbalanced link traffic highlights an inequality in power. Specifically, a few studies indicated that filter blogs are more likely to attract links than personal journals (Cornfield et al., 2005; Herring et al., 2005). As public affairs relate to more people than do somebody's private life, it is expected that filter blogs as heavy political knowledge producers will generate more incoming links and hits than will personal journals.

H2: Filter blogs generate more incoming links and hits than do personal journals.

Second, blogging is not only the production of knowledge, but also a form of online participation. If we say knowledge possession is a passive state in which people know something, knowledge production is an active state in which people do something based on what they know, often with intent to influence others' perceptions, cognitions, and preferences. Moreover, a blog is an interesting diversion from a traditional diary. Unlike diaries, the privacy of which is cautiously guarded by their authors, blogs are written to be read (Papacharissi, 2007). Blogs blur the distinction between the private and public sphere by publicizing the private domain and privatizing a portion of the public sphere. Blogs go beyond the conventional intrapersonal communication of diaries and integrate interpersonal, group, and even mass communication. Rather than talking to oneself, bloggers talk to their readers and broadcast the pictures in their heads back to a global audience. Consequently, how much attention a blog can receive from different readers provides another way to understand the notion of social power in specific audiences.

In reality, some blogs are successful in attracting audience attention, some are not. The 2004 presidential election witnessed the powerful impacts of blogs on mainstream media or on public affairs directly (for examples, see Tramayne, 2007b). But most impact came not from personal journals but from filter blogs. Filter blogs also dominate the top of blog rankings on the websites such as Technorati.com, Daypop.com and Truthlaidbear.com. News happens all the time. Even if there are no huge events like a presidential election, there are always events big enough to keep filter blogs in the spotlight. Although readers' attention is less dependent on external event and is more stable for personal journals, the range of personal journal readers would be narrower than that of filter blog readers. When the general public is more interested in news that has something to do with their own lives, filter blogs would be more likely to attract audience attention than do personal journals. Thus, the following hypothesis was formulated:

H3: Filter blogs receive more audience attention than do personal journals.

Harp and Tremayne (2006) found that, even among filter bloggers, men had more incoming links and readers than women. As filter blogs are of particular interest to researchers in the fields of political science, mass communication and information science, it is important to know who the most powerful filter bloggers are. Therefore, the following research question was asked:

RQ2: What demographic, political, and media use variables predict links, hits, and attention among filter bloggers?

Method

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. From knowledge possession to knowledge production
  4. Bloggers as knowledge producers
  5. Blog production and mass media use
  6. Social power of blogs
  7. Method
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
  10. Limitations
  11. Conclusion and Recommendations
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. References
  14. About the Author

Content analysis is limited in that demographic profiles of bloggers are not always revealed in the postings. While gender and age can sometimes be inferred by names and the content of blog entries (e.g., reference to “my husband” resulted in a “female” gender classification and reference to attending high school resulted in a “teen” age group, see Herring, Kouper, et al., 2004), this information is not always available and/or accurate. In addition, other variables such as education, race, and income cannot be easily obtained. Thus, survey data can better disclose the demographic backgrounds of bloggers behind the knowledge production gaps.

Random-digit telephone survey data from a 2005 blogger callback survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life project were analyzed in this study. As part of a large-scale national survey, those who identified themselves as bloggers were called back between July 5, 2005 and February 17, 2006. A nationally representative sample of 233 U.S.-based bloggers, age 18 and older, was interviewed with exclusive blogging questions. The margin of error for this sample is +/−7% (Pew, 2006).

A central issue in this study is the production of filter blogs vs. personal journals. Two variables, filter blog production and personal journal production, were generated from an open-ended categorical question, “What would you say is the MAIN topic of your blog?” Only first response was recorded for each respondent. Eleven categories were recorded, including my life and personal experiences, entertainment, general news and current events, politics and government, sports, technology, a particular hobby, business, health, religion/spirituality/faith, and the media. Life and personal experiences were counted as personal journals (M = .36, SD = .48), while general news and current events, as well as politics and government, were counted as filter blogs (M = .17, SD = .37). Figure 2 shows the distribution of both types of blogs in the sample, which is consistent with the findings of Herring et al. (2007). The percentage of personal journals (36.5%) doubles that of filter blogs (16.7%), indicating a clear knowledge production gap among bloggers.

image

Figure 2. Blog type: personal journal vs. filter blog.

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Other dependent variables are incoming links, daily hits, and attention received from different audiences. Incoming links (M = 8.65, SD = 20.48) and daily hits (M = 167.17, SD = 985.93) were each measured by an open-ended question. Six dichotomous questions asked whether bloggers had received attention from or been mentioned by (1) public officials, politicians, or political campaigns (M = .09, SD = .29), (2) the news media (M = .08,SD = .27), (3) other bloggers (M = .49,SD = .50), (4) local community members (M = .19,SD = .40), (5) colleagues, coworkers or bosses (M = .35,SD = .48), and (6) family members (M = .53,SD = .50).

Demographic variables include sex (dummy-coded male, male = 61.4%), race (dummy-coded white, white = 82.4%), education (a 1- to 7-point scale from grade school to advanced degrees; M = 5,SD = 1.47), income (a 1- to 8-point scale representing 8 ranges of percentiles from the lowest [less than 10] to the highest [100 or more]; M = 4.62,SD = 2.75), and age (M = 34.63,SD = 14.29).

Two political variables are Democrat-Republican partisanship (a 1- to 3-point scale from Democrat to independent to Republican; M = 1.61,SD = .99), and liberal-conservative political ideology (a 1- to 5-point scale from very liberal to very conservative; M = 2.53,SD = 1.41).

This study also includes media use variables. Respondents' use of newspaper (M = .65, SD = .37), television (M = .77, SD = .36), magazine (M = .45, SD = .39), radio (M = .68,SD = .42), and the Internet (M = .84,SD = .29) were each measured by the average of two dichotomous questions: (1) Please tell me if you ever get news or information from this source; and (2) Did you happen to get news or information from this source yesterday, or not? The correlations between the two items for each medium are fairly strong (r ranges from .41 to .67, p < .001).

Results

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. From knowledge possession to knowledge production
  4. Bloggers as knowledge producers
  5. Blog production and mass media use
  6. Social power of blogs
  7. Method
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
  10. Limitations
  11. Conclusion and Recommendations
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. References
  14. About the Author

Research question one asks about the demographic and political variables predicting the production of personal journal and filter blog. According to logistic regression analysis in Table 1, the production of personal journal is predicted by a younger age and being female. The production of filter blog, in contrast, is associated with an older age and higher education. The relationship between education and filter blog production, however, disappears when political variables and media use variables are controlled. Neither party affiliation nor political ideology is significantly related to the production of either blogs.

Table 1.  Logistic regression predicting personal journal and filter blog production
 Personal journalFilter blog
 Odds ratio controlling current and prior blocks onlyOdds ratio controlling all other variablesOdds ratio controlling current and prior blocks onlyOdds ratio controlling all other variables
  1. Note:#p < .10. *p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.

Sex-male.40**.36**1.221.20
Age.95***.94***1.05***1.06***
Education.86.891.29#1.20
Race1.041.24.69.79
Income.94.951.101.09
Nagelkerke R2(%)23.0 20.0 
Democrat-Republican.86.81.77.80
Liberal-Conservative1.191.23.90.93
Nagelkerke R2change (%)1.0 1.7 
Newspaper.58.581.421.42
Television3.27*3.27*.39#.39#
Magazine.76.76.74.74
Radio.75.752.442.44
Internet.93.931.151.15
Nagelkerke R2change (%)3.6 3.4 
Final Nagelkerke R2(%)27.625.1

Hypothesis one predicts a stronger relationship between media use and filter blog production than between media use and personal journal production. Block 3 in Table 1 reveals that television use is the only significant predictor of blog production, controlling for demographics and political variables. TV watching is positively related to personal journal production and is negatively related to the production of a filter blog. Therefore, H1 is rejected.

Table 2 demonstrates the predictors of incoming links and daily hits received by blogs. Incoming links are predicted by a younger age and a more liberal ideology, although only ideology remains significant after control. Daily hits are associated with being male, and a stronger identification with the Republican Party, while sex is no longer a significant predictor after control.

Table 2.  Hierarchical regression predicting incoming links and daily hits
 LinksHits
 Beta controlling current and prior blocks onlyBeta controlling all other variablesBeta controlling current and prior blocks onlyBeta controlling all other variables
  1. Note:#p < .10. *p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.

Sex-male−.04−.02.11#.10
Age−.16*−.10−.06−.09
Education−.09−.08.10.12
Race−.08−.07−.20−.24
Income.05.07.09.07
R2(%)5.1 7.3 
Democrat-Republican.00.01.16*.15*
Liberal-Conservative−.16*−.17*−.03−.02
Incremental R2(%)2.5 2.0 
Personal journal.08.08−.10−.10
Filter blog−.01−.01−.02−.02
Incremental R2(%).6 .8 
Final R2(%)8.210.1

Hypothesis two states that filter blogs produce more incoming links and hits than personal journals, which is rejected because neither is a significant predictor of links or hits.

The predictors of attention received by blogs from different types of audiences are shown in Table 3. Attention from public officials and politicians is predicted by filter blog only. Attention from news media is related to an older age of blogger. Attention from other bloggers is associated with being male, higher education, and being white. Attention from family members is predicted by both personal journal and filter blog, with filter blog being a stronger predictor. When controlling current and prior blocks only in the logistic regression, there is a positive relationship between blogger's age and attention from officials as well as from local community members. There is a negative relationship between blogger's race and attention from colleagues, but they are nonsignificant when all other variables are controlled.

Table 3.  Logistic regression predicting attention from different types of audiences
 OfficialsMediaBloggersCommunity membersColleaguesFamily members
 Model 1Model 2Model 1Model 2Model 1Model 2Model 1Model 2Model 1Model 2Model 1Model 2
  1. Note: Model 1 lists odds ratio controlling current and prior blocks only, Model 2 lists odds ratio controlling all other variables. #p < .10. *p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001

Sex-male.91.751.431.412.31**2.27**.78.701.561.52.66.70
Age1.04*1.021.04*1.03#1.001.001.02#1.021.011.011.011.01
Education1.08.961.341.291.54***1.52***.99.971.191.17.99.98
Race.49.69.52.692.04#2.27*.59.56.53#.57.80.93
Income1.051.03.88.891.081.09.98.971.061.07.991.00
Nagelkerke R2(%)8.8 12.0 18.3 3.2 6.8 1.6 
Democrat-Republican.71.73.71.71.94.941.051.04.92.92.81.83
Liberal-Conservative.951.01.97.99.86.861.041.05.92.921.051.04
Nagelkerke R2change (%)1.9 1.6 1.5 .2 .7 1.0 
Personal journal.00.00.56.56.86.86.51.51.83.831.89*1.89*
Filter blog3.18*3.18*1.881.881.491.49.89.891.101.102.20*2.20*
Nagelkerke R2change (%)16.9 2.2 .7 .8 .3 3.7 
Final Nagelkerke R2(%)27.615.820.55.27.86.3

Hypothesis three predicts that filter blogs receive more audience attention than do personal journals, which is supported because filter blogs are associated with more attention from public officials and family members than are personal journals.

Research question two concerns predictors of links, hits and attention among filter bloggers specifically. As the case number of filter blogs in the sample is fairly small (N = 39), the split file of filter blogs was not used. Rather, interaction terms of filter blog and other variables such as demographic, political, and media use variables were entered to OLS regression models (for links and hits) and logistic regression models (for attention). To reduce multicollinearity, as shown in Table 4, each interaction term was separately entered to regression models as the last block controlling for demographics and political variables. Only the results of interaction terms were listed in the table due to space limit.

Table 4.  Regression analysis of links, hits, and attention by filter blog and other variables
 LinksHitsOfficialsMediaBloggersCommunityColleaguesFamily
 ßßOROROROROROR
  1. Note: Interaction terms control for demographics and political variables but not for one another. #p < .10. *p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001

Filter*Sex-male.03.042.271.502.36#.90.851.56
Filter*Age−.01.031.03**1.011.011.001.001.02#
Filter*Education−.05−.011.29**1.101.071.011.001.08
Filter*Race.02.074.07*1.592.12.821.091.81
Filter*Income−.09−.021.18#1.091.041.001.031.08
Filter*Dem-Rep−.04−.011.84#1.051.111.01.901.17
Filter*Lib-Con−.04−.051.41#1.021.05.951.131.15
Filter*Newspaper−.01.057.55**3.00#2.111.401.934.06**
Filter*Television−.06−.033.12#.921.20.691.291.84
Filter*Magazine−.04−.027.87**1.831.661.111.472.20
Filter*Radio−.04.003.32*2.111.461.411.101.91
Filter*Internet−.03.014.24**2.312.32#1.061.132.07#

Findings show that filter bloggers who are older, more educated, white, richer, Republicans, conservative, and have more media use receive more attention from public officials and politicians. Filter bloggers who read more newspapers receive more attention from mass media. In the blogosphere, filter bloggers who are male and have more Internet use attract more attention from other bloggers. Older filter bloggers and those who read more newspapers and use more Internet get more attention from their family members. None of the interaction terms significantly predicts links and hits as well as attention from local community members and colleagues.

Discussion

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. From knowledge possession to knowledge production
  4. Bloggers as knowledge producers
  5. Blog production and mass media use
  6. Social power of blogs
  7. Method
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
  10. Limitations
  11. Conclusion and Recommendations
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. References
  14. About the Author

This study shifts researchers' attention from knowledge possession to knowledge production. It investigates people's differential knowledge production in the form of different blogs, namely, filter blogs vs. personal journals. It further explores the social power of these two types of blogs, which have different levels of political knowledge. In a new age of user-generated content enabled by the Internet, individuals have the same opportunity but different patterns of knowledge production and different social power correspondingly.

Who produce more political knowledge?

Results show that people who are older and more educated are more likely to create filter blogs (i.e. produce more political knowledge). In contrast, younger and female Internet users tend to create more personal journals and thus produce less political knowledge. This is consistent with the findings of Herring, Kouper, et al. (2004). Although education is only significant at 0.10 level, and becomes nonsignificant when political variables and media use variables are controlled, its role in predicting knowledge production is worth considering in future research. The moderate role of education also replicates the general assumption of knowledge possession gap. Consequently, education is not only a powerful predictor of knowledge possession but a potential indicator of knowledge production. As education has widely been used as a surrogate of SES, this suggests that bloggers with higher SES are likely to produce more political knowledge on the Internet than those with lower SES.

This finding indicates that a knowledge production gap may exist among bloggers with different SES. As Rakow suggested, the relative disparity of knowledge produced by different segments of the society represents a knowledge production gap. Different numbers of filter blogs vs. personal journals with different levels of political knowledge, found in this study, provides an initial support to the idea of knowledge production gap.

Contradictory to our expectations, the relationship between media use and blog production is not stronger for filter blogs than for personal journals. It is interesting to find that television use is positively associated with personal journal production. As personal journals focus on personal events in the blogger's life (Herring et al., 2004, 2005), television, an ideal entertainment medium (Chaffee & Frank, 1996; Fallows, 1997; Postman, 1986; Robinson, 1975; Shah, Kwak, & Holbert, 2001), could serve as an important source for the content of personal journals. The lower-class bias of television (Donohue et al., 1973; Kwak, 1999; Tichenor et al., 1970) makes it a friendly medium for lower-SES groups. Television itself, as such, becomes a part of daily life, especially among personal journal bloggers.

On the other hand, it is no surprise that TV watching is negatively related to the production of filter blog. Past research has detected significant differences in the effects of electronic versus print media on political knowledge. Newspaper readers, for instance, tend to obtain and retain more political information (Chaffee & Frank, 1996; Chaffee, Ward, & Tipton, 1970; Chaffee, Zhao, & Leshner, 1994; Clarke & Fredin, 1978; Kessel, 1980; Klapper, 1960; Lee & Wei, 2008) and can better discriminate among issues compared to television viewers (Choi & Becker, 1987; Wagner, 1983). As Viswanath and Finnegan (1996) argued, television's emphasis on entertainment rather than learning makes it a poor information provider. Therefore, more TV use is associated with less production of political knowledge.

Who has more social power?

Overall, liberal bloggers have more incoming links while Republican bloggers have more daily hits. This finding looks odd at a first glance. However, it indicates a subtle difference between incoming links and hits. Whereas incoming links from other bloggers represent the popularity of a blog in the blogosphere, daily hits demonstrate the actual number of visits a blog has and its reach in the general cyberspace. The hits a blog receives come not only from other bloggers or other content producers, but from other Internet users who may or may not engage in online authoring. This suggests that liberal bloggers are more powerful in the blogosphere while Republican bloggers have more power throughout the Internet.

It is no surprise that liberal bloggers have more power in the blogosphere. Many bloggers view themselves as mainstream media fact-checkers and ideological watchdogs (Glaser, 2004). Although most political bloggers are “activist media pundits” rather than “vigilante muckrakers”, their role of “the Fourth Estate on the Fourth Estate” (Scott, 2007) has fostered a strong liberal bias for this new medium. The controversies fueled by liberal bloggers, therefore, usually attract more traffic in the blogosphere.

As for the Internet in general, Republican bloggers are more powerful. This is consistent with the finding of Johnson and Kaye (2004), who found that blog readers tend to be politically conservative. Given a conservative audience, bloggers who identified with the Republican Party will seize more power in the cyberspace.

There is no evidence that filter blogs receive more incoming links and daily hits than do personal journals. However, filter blogs do indeed attract more attention from public officials and family members than do personal journals. This indicates that, filter bloggers, at least in this sample, have more social power than personal journals among specific but not general audiences. As the number of links and hits does not tell anything about where they are from, the measure of attention from specific audience can better illustrate the social power of bloggers.

Different levels of political knowledge could be a major explanation for the unequal social power between filter blogs and personal journals. First, filter bloggers are specialized in public affairs and political information, which are directly connected to public officials and politicians. Such content is of most interest to this critical segment of the audiences. Second, the political knowledge produced by bloggers, especially those elite bloggers, usually provides a good alternative to the knowledge on mainstream media. Further, as a better form of journalism, filter bloggers' version of knowledge enjoys higher credibility than mainstream media (Johnson et al., 2007). Consequently, filter blogs with more political knowledge production would have greater influence on public officials and politicians than personal journals.

It is interesting to find that even family members, who are supposed to be more interested in personal events, pay more attention to filter blogs than to personal journals. This suggest that the family cares more about what its member knows and thinks about the society than his or her writing of trivial personal life.

Although filter bloggers are generally more powerful than personal journal bloggers, different filter bloggers may have different social power. Specifically, filter bloggers with traditional elite status and more print media use have more influence on public officials and politicians. This is consistent with the basic assumption of SES-based knowledge gap hypothesis. Homophily theory, a subfacet of social network theory, can be used to explain this finding. This theory argues that “birds of a feather flock together” (Lazarsfeld & Merton, 1954). The powerful tendency that individuals have to network along homogeneous lines is driven by shared beliefs, interests, and social status (Lazarsfeld & Merton, 1954; McPhearson, Smith-Lovin, & Cook, 2001). In this research, shared status homophily makes the relationship between elite filter bloggers and public officials stronger than between other filter bloggers and officials. Elite filter bloggers are thus more influential among public officials and politicians than are nonelites.

In addition, male filter bloggers tend to receive more attention from other bloggers. This result replicates that of general bloggers mentioned earlier: male bloggers, no matter filter or personal journal bloggers, receive more attention from other bloggers. Such findings support the argument of Harp and Tremayne (2006) that the blogosphere is a gendered space. Through a discourse analysis of highest-ranked political bloggers, Harp and Tremayne found three primary explanations for the lack of female voices in the political blogosphere: (1) women do not blog about politics; (2) women's political blogs are not popular because they are not good; and (3) the linking hierarchy of the blogosphere prevents women from becoming highly ranked. This study not only empirically supports the claim of a gendered political blogosphere but extends it to the issue of social influence. Women do produce political knowledge in their blogs, but their social power is significantly weaker than men in the blogosphere.

Limitations

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. From knowledge possession to knowledge production
  4. Bloggers as knowledge producers
  5. Blog production and mass media use
  6. Social power of blogs
  7. Method
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
  10. Limitations
  11. Conclusion and Recommendations
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. References
  14. About the Author

A major limitation of this research is that political knowledge was not directly measured. Rather, different levels of knowledge production is justified by the definitions of filter blogs and personal journals, which are made from previous content analyses (Herring et al., 2004, 2005, 2007). Although the number of filter blogs vs. personal journals is one practical way to represent differential knowledge production, a direct measure of political knowledge in blogs through content analysis would provide more accurate information. It is intriguing to see whether direct and indirect approaches to knowledge production generate consistent findings.

The present approach to knowledge production introduced another issue: Much content in filter blogs is opinion rather than factual information. A justification is that knowledge or information in blogs is often opinionated, which is a significant feature of blogs against traditional media. Bloggers usually voice their opinions while offering their information on issues of the day (Bruns, 2006; Cristol, 2002; Wall, 2006). This makes opinion explicitly embedded in knowledge. Such practice is distinct from the professional standard in traditional media. Nevertheless, the public's expectations for traditional media to maintain standards of fairness and balance (Metzger, Flanagin, Eyal, Lemus, & McCann, 2003) are not extended to blogs (Bruns, 2006; Lasica, 2002). Blog supporters actually perceive bias as a strength that allows for a more in depth examination of issues. This was confirmed by Johnson and Kaye (2004) and Johnson et al. (2007), who found that even though readers perceived blogs as less fair, overall they still rated blogs as more credible than mainstream media. This is because that the depth of information presented in blogs is a more important indicator than fairness in judging credibility (Johnson & Kaye, 2004). Still, as knowledge was not directly measured, the results of this study have to be interpreted with caution.

In addition, the power of bloggers does not necessarily result from knowledge they produce, even though they are knowledge producers. Some bloggers are more influential than others does not necessarily mean they are more powerful in terms of knowledge influence. There is no question that knowledge is a key indicator of social power. But other factors may contribute to the influence of bloggers, such as Web design features, personal characteristics, and celebrity status. To test the power distribution directly caused by knowledge, future studies should use direct measure of knowledge and more rigorous research design.

Moreover, different nature of browsing patterns between personal journals and filter blogs would cause potential bias regarding their influences. Compared to personal journals, the attention and hit rate of filter blogs are more depended on external event. When there is a big social or political event, filter blogs will get much more attention. In other word, attention and hit rate of filter blogs may be oscillatory, but it may be stable for personal journals. While the range of filter blog readers is generally wider than that of personal journals, the salience of event may play a role in predicting the social influence of filter blogs. Thus, it is useful to control the potential effects of external events when examining blog influences in the future.

Another limitation is the relatively small sample size (N = 233). Although some statistically significant relationships were established based on this small sample, a bigger sample size is needed to detect more effects of scientific significance.

Conclusion and Recommendations

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. From knowledge possession to knowledge production
  4. Bloggers as knowledge producers
  5. Blog production and mass media use
  6. Social power of blogs
  7. Method
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
  10. Limitations
  11. Conclusion and Recommendations
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. References
  14. About the Author

Knowledge is power. Donohue et al. (1973) pointed out that a major goal of knowledge gap research is to accentuate the crucial nature of knowledge control, rather than knowledge in and of itself, as a base for social power. Knowledge production represents a more explicit form of knowledge control than knowledge possession. It is a deeper level of knowledge gap that researchers should investigate first. By assessing the knowledge production gap, one could answer the questions such as who produce more knowledge and who the more powerful knowledge producers are.

Despite limitations, this study extends the original knowledge gap theory from knowledge possession to knowledge production, through the case of blogging. It also directly addresses the power distribution among different knowledge producers on the Internet. Consistent with knowledge gap hypothesis, bloggers with higher SES tend to produce more political knowledge and have more social power than lower-SES segments. Moreover, even among filter bloggers who produce more political knowledge, SES, gender, and print media use are associated with their social influences. This structural inequity within the virtual political space mirrors existing material and legitimized reality in U.S. politics.

Using audience attention as a surrogate of blog's social power, this study illustrates Lukes' three-dimensional view of power. That is, A does not necessarily influence B through concrete decisions and observable conflicts. Rather, A can also cognitively influence B in a more subtle way. As found in this study, bloggers with higher SES choose to produce more political knowledge and thus possess more power in their command of audience's cognitive attention. When an increasing number of people go to the Internet for information about politics and public affairs, such power becomes more important in the virtual public sphere.

The Internet can indeed offer access to a public sphere and empower those underprivileged by lowing the barriers of entry, but whether people realize and actively utilize that power is also significant. Entering into the blogosphere is only the first step in participating in the political public sphere (Harp & Tremayne, 2006). What content to produce and how much influence one may have would be more important questions. The knowledge production gap and unequal power distribution reported by this study challenge the blogging myth that a greater equality can be secured online than offline. Current power distribution offline lends validity and volume to some voices while ignoring others in the blogosphere. This suggests a persisting intellectual and patriarchal hegemony.

In conclusion, a polarized social structure replicates itself not only through differential possession of knowledge, but through diverse production of knowledge. As a fundamental resource of democratic functioning and social mobility, knowledge and its control are at the very center of our concerns about power and inequality. Although it is difficult to close the gaps, awareness of such gaps and their contributors allows us to seek possible solutions to these thorny puzzles.

How the knowledge production gap relates to knowledge possession gap is a topic for future research. Does knowledge possession necessarily lead to knowledge production or the other way around? Is the knowledge one acquires from other media the same as the knowledge one produces? If bloggers tend to check the fact on other media and produce their own version of knowledge, what factors will influence the likelihood to do so? In addition, does knowledge production have a stronger effect on political participation and civic engagement than knowledge possession, because the former itself is a form of participation? All these questions provoked by the idea of knowledge production gap warrant more future research.

Acknowledgements

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. From knowledge possession to knowledge production
  4. Bloggers as knowledge producers
  5. Blog production and mass media use
  6. Social power of blogs
  7. Method
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
  10. Limitations
  11. Conclusion and Recommendations
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. References
  14. About the Author

The author would like to thank anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and Editor Kevin Wright for his editorial support. Special thanks also go out to Douglas Blanks Hindman, Tien-Tsung Lee and Norm Land for their helpful suggestions.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. From knowledge possession to knowledge production
  4. Bloggers as knowledge producers
  5. Blog production and mass media use
  6. Social power of blogs
  7. Method
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
  10. Limitations
  11. Conclusion and Recommendations
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. References
  14. About the Author
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About the Author

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. From knowledge possession to knowledge production
  4. Bloggers as knowledge producers
  5. Blog production and mass media use
  6. Social power of blogs
  7. Method
  8. Results
  9. Discussion
  10. Limitations
  11. Conclusion and Recommendations
  12. Acknowledgements
  13. References
  14. About the Author

Lu Wei [drluwei@zju.edu.cn], Ph.D., is an associate professor in the College of Media & International Culture at Zhejiang University. His research interests include the adoption, use, and consequences of new media technologies.

Address: College of Media & International Culture, Zhejiang University, 148 Tianmushan Rd., Hangzhou, Zhejiang, 310028, P. R. China