Thursday, May 27, 2004

Teen Gender Blogging Differences?

David Huffaker of Georgetown University's Communication, Culture and Technology Program did his thesis on Gender Similarities and Differences in Online Identity and Language Use among Teenage Bloggers.

I have not yet had time to read his whole paper, but the abstract states the following:

"This study examines issues of online identity and language use among teenagers (ages 13 – 17) who create and maintain weblogs or blogs, which are personal journals created by individuals and made publicly accessible on the Internet. Online identity is investigated in terms of the disclosure of personal information, online name choice, avatar selection and emotive features. Language use is explored in terms of word counts and semantic themes. This study also examines common blog topics, blog characteristics, blog abandonment rates and frequency of use. Overall, the results indicate that teenagers reveal a considerable amount of personal information in their blogs, including name, age, and location, as well as contact information in the form of an email address, an instant messenger name or a link to personal homepage. The content of blogs typically reflects what is expected to impact a teenager’s life, such as school, intimate relationships, sexual identity and even music. While almost half of teenage blogs are abandoned, active blogs demonstrate high levels of loyalty in terms of frequency of posts (daily or weekly) and length of posts (which average 2000 words per page).

Contrary to prediction, the results indicate that there are more gender similarities than differences in blog use. However, some gender differences were noted, regarding emotive features, sexual identity, language use, and some components of personal information. Males average more emoticons in their posts than females. Males also reveal their homosexuality more often than females, expressing their sexual identity or coming out. Males reveal their location more often than females, while females present a link to a personal web site more often than males. Finally, males use a more active and resolute language than females." (Emphasises mine).

The full text of Huffaker's thesis may be accessed through this link.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Loving Thy Neighbor

Dr. Mark Vincent, a social psychology professor at Augustana College, is looking for Christians to participate in his websurvey.

"Seems a bit ironic, but I'm truly having a difficult time getting Christians to lend me a hand with a survey about Loving Thy Neighbor. :) I believe passionately in this work, but simply cannot do it without Christians who are willing to help out.

With this study I am attempting to determine how people view their Christian faith, and the ways in which that faith relates to daily behaviors."

The link for the survey is here.

Info via Benediction Blogs On, and there are some good comments over there as well.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Blogads Survey

Darren of Living Room posted about the Blogads blogging survey that came out today.

The results are very interesting, but I think also very selective. As Darren noted, the blogs that promoted the survey were a select group for the most part. As I commented at Living Room, I think that the limitation of any websurvey is who it's promoted to... when promoted on political blogs read mostly by adults, you'll get responses from politically minded adults. I think that the questions asked by this survey were targeted.

Teens, for the most part, would have been bored by the questions asked. They don't yet, for the most part, have a political affiliation, industry, or interest in many of the magazines inquired about in the Blogads survey. Only 2013 respondents (11.7 %) were ages 24 and below. Only 28.5% of respondents were aged 30 and under (4885 of 17146 people participating in the survey).

However, another interesting statistic from this survey is the fact that only 20.9% of people participating had a blog of their own. Perhaps what this tells us is that readers of the blogs promoting the survey are less likely to have a blog of their own. Perhaps persons interested in the topics this survey was surveying on (which I would categorize as news and politics, also what the linking blogs were concerned with) are less likely to have their own blogs.

Political and news related blogs are less likely to encourage or facilitate relationships between readers and writers, or amongst readers. I would conclude that the readers of political and news blogs are more interested in reading blogs for "news they can't find elsewhere", like the 79.7% of respondents (12713 persons) stated in the Blogads survey results. And, I would also conclude that people interested in these types of non-relational blogs are older, and male, like the Blogads survey results seem to show.
The Greater Blogging Community

Christine Carl of Georgetown University's Communication, Culture and Technology Program did her thesis on Bloggers and Their Blogs: A Depiction of the Users and Usage of Weblogs on the World Wide Web.

The abstract of her thesis states the following:

"As the Internet and World Wide Web are permanently adopted into the world's cultural and commercial fabric, users discover new and different ways the Web can be employed to create social and community spaces that were not possible before the Internet’s introduction. The weblog provides one of these new forums for communication. Loosely defined, a weblog or a blog is a non-commercial webpage regularly updated through the use of a blogging software which allows the user to "publish" journal entries, news, links, creative writings, and other amalgamations of text and graphics to the page in a sequential, dated list of entries referred to as posts. Through the World Wide Web, blogs allow users who otherwise lack sufficient knowledge in web design and development to manage and supply original content to the web.

The implementation of reactive communication on many blogs leads one to assume that the vast majority of "bloggers" want the content they provide to be read by others. With thousands of weblogs being created within the last two years, bloggers are finding ways to attract and retain visitors to their sites. This thesis argues that to facilitate the exchange of blogged content, a new type of online community has developed. Some bloggers do not wish to fully participate in the activities of the community, and some bloggers do not want their websites to be accessible to the public through promotion. This thesis proposes that the bloggers who actively engage in reactive forms of communication via their weblogs are members of a greater blogging community or "blogosphere," imbued with a collective sense of social responsibility, common purpose, and integrity as functions of community.

Blogging software and online services have the potential to dramatically increase the percentage of non-technically oriented web users administering unique, individual webpages on the Internet. This paper will present and discuss demographical information about bloggers. These data will be pulled from a self-selective online survey of bloggers. The demographics will be compared with the Internet-usage portion of the 2001 United States Supplemental Census to see how the American blogging population compares with the overall distribution of American Internet users.

The data collected will also be used to consider the blogging population. Who is blogging, and how are bloggers using these virtual spaces? Is one demographic more likely to participate in blogging than another? Does membership in any major demographic such as age, level of education, or race, predict the possible types of content found on blogs and the ways their owners chose to share them with others, if at all? Weblogs, as will be discussed, are rapidly becoming one of the most recognizable applications on the World Wide Web. Understanding how blogs are being used is important in the consideration of their impact on the Internet and the world at large." (Emphasises mine).

The full text of Christine Carl's thesis is accessable through this link.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Purpose of Christian Blogging?

"...what ought to be the prime purpose of Christian blogging? I'm going to suggest that the main purpose of Christian blogging, because it is an extension of the church (and by this I mean, in particular, the universal church), ought to be the same as the main purpose of the church. What then, is the purpose of the church?

I believe the main purpose of the church as a whole is the building up of the church as a whole, and this building up is accomplished in two ways: by bringing more people into the church, and by strengthening those who are already there. We might expect the Christian blogworld as a whole, if it is working as it ought to be, to be accomplishing both these things.

I'm not sure, though, that we can expect every blog to be accomplishing both these things. Just as we see the diversity of the purposes of gifts of the Spirit as distributed among believers, shouldn't we see a diversity of purposes in the world of Christian blogging? Shouldn't there be those who are blogging primarily to engage the culture around them, and also those who are blogging primarily as encouragment for growth within those who are already of the faith.

This last category is mostly where I see my blog fitting into the picture. As I grow in faith through my own study, I hope to share something with my fellow-travelers in this growth journey. My prayer for the readers of my blog is similar to Paul's prayer for the church at Philippi:

And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight so that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 NET)

With this as my purpose, I'm not particularly concerned, nor surprised, that I have only a few nonbelieving (and even in this I am presuming) readers. Why would I expect anything else?

I have one more thought as well. Blogging, it would seem to me, is much more suited to the second way of building the church--through the stengthening of believers--than the first--bringing more people into the church. Most of you who read here don't know me from the man in the moon, really. If you are already a believer, you can check what I write against what the scripture says and judge for yourself whether what I say has any value. If you are not already a believer, how are you going to judge what I write? For all you know, I could be the biggest fraud on the face of the earth. The proof is in the pudding, and you have no access to the pudding, for you can't really know my life and see how I live it. Why would you trust my message?"

From Rebecca Writes.

My thoughts:

I think that blogging is equally well suited for strengthening believers and bringing people into the church... I think there is a tremendous potential for relational and incarnational ministry through blogging.

By incarnational I mean living out your faith in front of others authentically. A blog includes, depending on the way you write, your thoughts and your activities. As Christians, I think it would be futile to hide our faith... Most who participated in my surveys said that an outpouring of their faith is often not intentional but rather is natural in their writing.

I think that an honest blog is attractive to both Christians and non-Christians. In my blog, I talk about things that matter to me as one who is striving after Christ. I pray that my faith is evident. I pray that others who are searching will be drawn to seek out Christ themselves, and if somehow that happens through through my blog, then to God be the glory.

Any other thoughts?

Friday, May 07, 2004

Re-Design Welcome

I'm just finishing up this new re-design of this site in an attempt to make it more visually appealing and readable. Let me know what you think, is it better?

And welcome to those surfing in off of's article on this site.

Read around. Leave comments. Let me know what you think. dialog[at]briercrest[dot]com .

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Another Survey

Daniel Jorg from Switzerland is doing a blogging survey on "weblog readers and writers, behavior and motivation." Go here to take it.

Link via

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Intentional Ministry to Whom?

I asked those who intentionally try to minister through their blog (57% of those surveyed) if they felt they were reaching out to Christians or non-Christians.

* 17% of all respondents stated they feel they minister specifically to Christians through their blog.
* Only (5/115) of respondents stated they try to specifically reach or minister to non-Christians through their blog
* 20% (23/115) of respondents stated they feel they are reaching out or ministering to both Christians and non-Christians through their blogs.

Some comments on this question included the following:

-"I try to be encouraging through my blogging which could help other Christian bloggers simply by sharing triumphs and tragedies. Non-Christians I hope would see my faith and possibly be encouraged to learn more."
-"I try to be a part of the non-Christian world (without, of course, compromising my own beliefs) so they may notice God through me."
-"Christians may find the things I write to be more of a help to them than non-Christians, but I don't set out to write a post with the intention of 'Hey, this is really going to bless someone.' I don't sit down to post with the intention of ministering to someone. I pray that God will use me through my blog to draw people to himself, but I don't see the blog as a ministry per se. I guess in a way my pastors do see it as an evangelism tool -- but they see evangelistic gifts in me that I just think of as my way of talking about my faith."
-"(I reach out to) non-Christians. I hope to get across the point that intelligent, thinking people can also be Christians and that there are some Christian, like myself, who don't claim to know all the answers."
-"(I reach out to both) Christians--reminding them of their vocation to love and to serve. Non-Christians--reminding them that they are beloved of God and desired by Him from before time began."
-"(I reach out to) both. I've had some very heartfelt conversations with both Christians and non-Christians because of my Blog."
-"I would like to reach out to non-Christians by showing them a different view of a believer than many of them seem to have. By that, I mean a more tolerant, warm, and less hypocritical individual."
-"(I reach out to) Christians. Since they are my brothers and sisters they are the main people I am to be in fellowship with, and they are the people, outside of my immediate family, that I should be encouraging."
-"People have seemed to connect to what I write and I've been contacted by many people, Christian and non-Christian alike, who have said that I've encouraged them or they've enjoyed some particular piece of writing. I don't intentionally try to witness to or admonish people through my blog, but it sometimes just happens."
-"I guess that I do try to write things that are helpful for other Christians both in their thinking and in their living. I do not write with non-Christians in mind because I do not think that they read my blog."
-"I feel I am reaching out more to Catholic Christians. The way I see it, a non-believer won't be very moved by reading my blog. But if I can encourage a fellow Catholic to truly live out their faith then they will touch many more people in their personal lives- whether a family member or the guy bagging their groceries."

The large majority of survey participants seemed to be positive about incarnational ministry, they gave the impression that they truly desired to reflect Christ in their lives and write from that viewpoint. Although many were wary of and not in agreement with intentional preaching from a blog, most stated they believe themselves to be reflecting Christ in their blogging.

Monday, May 03, 2004


Welcome to those surfing in off of Blogs4God's Notable and Quotable New Guys today!

This blog originally began out of research I conducted in the blogosphere to determine how "Christian bloggers" interact with themselves and others.

Here are some links you may be interested in:

What this blog is about

Population Statistics of those participating in the surveys

My Ministry Related Research Project, the paper I wrote for my Master of Arts degree based on the findings of my research. It's a bit long, so you may want to just start off reading the statistics here in the blog.

The rest of this blog is filled with statistics gleaned from my surveys, links to discussions and articles elsewhere on similar topics, and thoughts on Christians and blogging.

I welcome your thoughts! Please feel free to leave comments or email me at dialog[at]briercrest[dot]com .