Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Brief thesis update and "Storytelling on Blogs?"

It has been a while that I have blogged, since completing my comprehensive examination. I have now started the proposal. So, the new topic/title of my proposed thesis proposed is something like this:

"A study of entrepreneur blogs as social information spaces, information sources and sources of personal and organizational storytelling/narratives ."

Essentially, I am looking to do a content analysis of entrepreneur blogs to see the types of information they provide and if stories are also included. I am currently working on the proposal. Right now I am at the point in the proposal, where I am conceptualizing and theorizing about storytelling in blogs. One of the essential question is: Can blogs tell stories? Another question is: How does storytelling in blogs differ from oral storytelling? I would like to spend the rest of this blog posting beginning to frame answers to these two questions.

Blogs as platforms for storytelling

Without a doubt, there are persons out there that view blogs as being a platform for telling stories or personal narratives, especially for stories or narratives based on one's own life experiences. This idea is prevalent in a 2006 Pew Internet study on American bloggers that referred to bloggers as being the ‘Internet’s new storytellers’ in reference to their blogging mostly about personal life stories and experiences (Lenhart & Fox, 2006). Arguably, prior to the emergence of blogs and blogging, the Web was a place for hypertextual and hyperlinked documents, and to a lesser extent, a place for conversations through chat rooms and discussion fora. Laurel (2001) further suggests that the Web became a platform for storytelling largely due to the birth of blogging. Blogs in her view enriched the Web as a significant development in computer-based  or computer-mediated storytelling. Laurel argues that blogs enabled personal meta-storytelling on the Web, transforming Web search from a publishing and storage medium of hyperlinked documents to one also enriched by blogs with shared life experiences. Laurel’s views are also supported by Langellier and Peterson (2004), that argue that “one example of storytelling on the Internet” is the growth and emergence of “online journals and diaries” (p.160). These according to Langellier and Peterson (2004) recapitulate past experience and personal narratives of events.

How does blog storytelling differ from oral storytelling?

Langellier and Peterson suggest that blogs, while not being the same as oral communication, approximate oral communication more than traditional documents and written communication. They make the case that blogs are more like personal correspondence and writing than novels or newspapers.  Blogs make one's personal experience public. Yet the making of that experience public, does not change the intimate storytelling feel that accompanies oral storytelling. One by reading a blog, feels that a person is speaking personally to them. Blog readers express the views that while reading a blog, they feel that they are in the company of the blogger. Bloggers on the other hand, reveal the view that when blog readers respond to their blog posts, they feel a connection of familiarity as if those persons hanged out with them.

Langellier and Peterson make the case that blogs are like another window to real life, and that reading or writing blogs require bodily participation and is not a question of disembodied communication. People bodily participate in blogs by “the labour of vision” and through participation with their hands and keyboards, but forgoing "the obligation of reciprocal exchange” (Langellier & Peterson, 2004, p. 167). For Langellier and Peterson, blogs "extend the body's capability for storytelling", enabling storytelling to not be limited by geographic separation of the storyteller from the audience.


Langellier, K., & Peterson, E. E. (2004). Storytelling in daily life: Performing narrative. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Laurel, B. (2001). Utopian entrepreneur. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Lenhart, A., & Fox, S. (2006). Bloggers: A portrait of the internet’s new storytellers. pew internet & american life project. ( No. 2012). Retrieved from

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