Tuesday, February 9, 2010

NU501 Assignment 4 - The Research Paper

OK, maybe it wasn't that bad

A Moby Dick analogy would also work. Call me Ishmael - that's all the Melville I know.

It was fun, but it was difficult. It's also done. Hooray, etc.

I'm gonna take a short break before picking up another course. I believe that I got off easy in NU501 - this was the only such paper for the course, and I got a very generous extension in order to complete it. I expect that I'll need to submit several for each of my subsequent courses. Gotta go find that cat, you know.

In the meantime, I'm truly open to any feedback and observations from those with much more experience with this sort of thing. I've actually tightened up the version you see here, compared to the one I submitted - not so much in the overall language or style as in some judicious copy editing. I'm sure there are plenty more mistakes where those came from.

- - - - -

Bloggers blogging blogs:
Who we are, what we’re doing, and what happens next.

by Jerry

Submitted to meet the requirements of Assignment 4,
NU510 Nursing Informatics
In the online Master of Science in Nursing program
at St. Joseph’s College of Maine
February 8, 2010

To contact the author, leave a comment

Abstract: Blogs, blogging, bloggers, and the blogosphere are information technology phenomena with roots in the earliest days of the Internet. The various technology developments that preceded blogging all share an important feature with the practice, namely the desire for collaboration and sharing.

Blogging is the convergence of multiple technologies and technology paths, which has resulted in greater capabilities available to more users for less cost and with less effort. Each development has made it possible for more people to engage with information technology, and to apply ever-more powerful tools to focus on their interests.

This paper concludes with a case study showing excerpts of how the author developed a blog post using Blogger, including examples of how that tool generated the html code required for external links and embedding video.

Section 1 – What exactly are we talking about?

The first question to address in a paper about blogs is simple: What exactly are we talking about?

I didn’t find the term blog and its many derivations (including bloggers, blogging, and blogosphere) in the large dictionary at my local library. It defines the term bloemfontein on page 236 as an adjective which describes a person or object “of or from the city of Bloemfontein, Union of South Africa.” The dictionary then promptly moves on to bloke, a chiefly British term “used informally and commonly implying mild disrespect when applied to a superior…” (Webster’s)

Of course, the absence of blog could also be attributed to this particular edition’s publication date.

Wikipedia, which according Brady is “…an online encyclopedia that is created and edited by everyone” (page 4) is more helpful. It’s a rich source of computer terms, particularly regarding the Internet. Wikipedia defines blog as: “…a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video…’Blog’ can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.” (Wikipedia - blog)

So, a blog is a thing as well as a thing to do. A blogger is a person who blogs. He or she sits down at a computer to blog on their blog, and in so doing enters the blogosphere.

I hope that was helpful. May I stop now?

That’s not a serious question. Rather, it’s worth pursuing the more serious one, namely, “What exactly are we talking about?” as well as exploring how blogs may be used in health care, particularly in nursing education and clinical practice.

I’ve long suspected there are no neat or simple answers to these questions, and the research I’ve conducted in the course of developing this paper has reinforced my suspicion.

But we need to start somewhere, so let’s consider blogs as methods and technologies that exist within the context of other methods and technologies, all of which relate to computers, and to the communications that takes place between them.

This consideration places blogs in the broad realm of information technology, and establishes blogging as an activity engaged in by people who understand the various technologies associated with blogs, and who possess the skills needed to interact with these technologies.

In its simplest form, a blog is a way for people to develop stories, news, and commentary, which I consolidate here under the general term, “content.” Blogs are also a way to publish the content, making it available to readers throughout the world.

In this sense, a blogger is very much like a traditional author who writes a book, story, article, screenplay, or other similar work. However, unlike a traditional author, a blogger also acts as publisher, distributor, bookstore owner, and newsstand proprietor.

Blogging technology may seem complicated, but Karpf puts the technology into perspective when he says, "…a blog is a relatively basic technological artifact." (page 3).

A blog isn’t so much about the tools used to make it as it is about the kind of thought process associated with formulating and articulating an idea. The political blogger Suw Charman, quoted by Brady, says, “…(as a blogger) you’re trying to synthesize an original viewpoint from the different angles you’ve read (in other blogs)…” (page 10).

We can also think of blogging as the modern equivalent of placing a wooden soapbox in the middle of a busy sidewalk, climbing up onto it, and speaking for the benefit of anyone who will listen. We’re not interested in the wood the soapbox is made from. Our attention is directed to the speaker standing on the soapbox; to what he or she is saying; to how others are, or are not, listening and reacting; and to what happens next.

As Brady observed, “Blogs are merely tools…knowledge is synthesized by communication between people.” (page 13)

Still, it’s important to understand the hardware and software that make blogs possible. I address those components in the next section, along with some key developments that form the foundation upon which blogs rest.

Let’s conclude this section by considering the act blogging in ways that complement Karpf’s observation about blog technology. In 2003 Shirkey predicted, “…(blogging) technology will be seen as a platform for so many forms of publishing…that blogging will stop referring to any particularly coherent activity.”

Markos Moulitsas, founder of the political blog DailyKos is quoted in Rosenberg, “One of my biggest pet peeves is the way…blogging…(is) held up as some sort of end in itself – some sort of magic wand…(b)logs are a tool, an instrument, nothing more.” (page 142)

Confused? Good. That means we can continue.

Section 2 – Seriously, what exactly are we talking about?

“Blogging is about sharing.” (Brady, page 8)

I’ve touched on the idea that blogging uses information technology in ways that this paper has not yet addressed. I’ve also suggested that blogging is somehow related to public speaking, or writing for a publication.

There would not be much else to explore if blogging simply described a new way to tell stories - that’s been done since before the beginning of recorded history. The analogy that blogger = writer, or that blogger = speaker, is incomplete.

While a blogger may be considered a writer, a blogger also breaks through the traditional constraints imposed upon a writer, who generally has little or no control over whether his or her work is published.

Put another way, if every submission to the New Yorker magazine appeared in that publication, the New Yorker’s editorial staff wouldn’t need to send out rejection slips. Perhaps there would be no need for an editorial staff at the New Yorker in the first place.

Such a magazine would also be very thick with pages and, in the opinion of critics, filled with material of dubious quality. But as one blogger said, “…I had written a number of letters to the editor…and they never got published. So, that sort of irritated me a little bit…and (I) thought, ‘Why not start my own (blog)?’” (Concord Journal)

The blogger = writer AND blogger = publisher analogy is still incomplete because a blogger is not subject to the constraints of traditional print media distribution or sales.

IF blogger = writer AND blogger = publisher, THEN blogger ALSO = distributor, with the electronic equivalent of a network of trucks + vans + delivery boys; AND blogger ALSO = bookstore owner + newstand proprietor who’s always open for business.

If we further consider how other media such as images, audio, and video are broadcast, we can begin to gain insight into how blogging transcends any single form of content and distribution. We can even begin to answer that question, “Seriously, what exactly are we talking about?”

I’ll enhance the analogy further and add a component which is often directly facilitated by blogs, namely that blogger ALSO = researcher.

That last statement illustrates an important way blogging is fundamentally different from just writing or speaking or broadcasting, and shows how blogs reinforce the blogosphere as a new and unique media phenomenon.

Just as one blogger can readily publish his or her blog to make content immediately available throughout the world, every blogger is part of a vast distributed network of information and activity that is significantly larger than the sum of its parts. That network is readily accessible from a single location, and is an efficient and effective mechanism with which to support or challenge any of the information posted within it.

Brady examined collaboration and research among bloggers to explore if, and how, their tools and methods could be applied in more formal settings, such as academic and commercial research.

Among other findings, Brady concluded that, apart from a blog’s content, three common components of many blogs – permalinks, comments, and trackbacks – could enable bloggers to “meet the standards of research within the academic community,” consistent with rigorous peer review. (page 7)

To summarize our evolving understanding of what we’re talking about, let’s express it in a simple programming statement:

IF (blogger = writer) AND (blogger = publisher), THEN (blogger ALSO = distributor with the electronic equivalent of a network of trucks + vans + delivery boys); AND (blogger ALSO = bookstore owner + newstand proprietor always open for business), AND (blogger ALSO = television + radio + movie producer), AND (blogger ALSO = television + radio broadcaster + movie distributor); AND (blogger ALSO = researcher supported and validated by rigorous peer review).

Karpf noted that blogs represent “…a shift in the…use of the Internet, from static information repository to networked conversation tool.” (page 3). His comment begins to reveal the enormous potential power and value of blogs.

Section 3 – OK, wait – what were we talking about?

We were talking about blogs, but before we go much further, let’s take a step back to understand what came before them, and look at key developments in the history of information technology to see how the evolution of blogs makes sense.

In the beginning, there was the Internet. Well, in the early days of computer technology, starting back when the president of the United States was a guy named Ike, there slowly came to be conceived, and subsequently developed, the precursor to what we now take for granted as the Internet, or as some of my blogging colleagues like to call it, “the innertoobz.”

(digression) The term ‘innertoobz’ combines words uttered by two recent public figures, namely former U.S. President George W. Bush and former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK).

In the case of Mr. Bush, he incorrectly referred to the Internet several times in the plural - Internets. This misstatement has since been used “to portray the speaker as ignorant about the Internet or about technology in general…The term gained cachet…following Bush's use of the term in the second 2004 presidential election debate on October 8, 2004.” (Wikipedia – Internets)

Mr. Stevens used an awkward metaphor to criticize a proposed amendment to a bill before the Senate Commerce, which he chaired at the time. “…(t)his metaphor was widely ridiculed as demonstrating Stevens' poor understanding of the Internet, despite being in charge of regulating it.” (Wikipedia – Series of tubes)

According to Mr. Stevens, “…the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed…” (Wikipedia – Series of tubes)

So, (Internets + tubes) * casual phoeneticization of spoken language = innertoobz (/digression)

In their history of the people and events behind the development of the Internet, Hafner and Lyon note that the motivation for its development arose from the inconvenient fact that computers of the time were isolated entities. They write, “The computers themselves were extremely egocentric devices,” much like a monarch who only communicates with a servant when the monarch wants something. The engineers in their account had a different idea – namely that one computer should be able to tap another on the shoulder and essentially say, ‘Hey, I need to talk with you.’ (page 146)

And though that idea originated in a frightening Cold War event, Hafner and Lyon also note, “The project…embodied the most peaceful intentions – to link computers at scientific laboratories across the country so that researchers might share computer resources.” (page 10)

In practical terms, the Internet was needed because communicating among a far-flung community of computer researchers was tedious, when it was even possible. A person who wanted to connect to several different computers needed several different computer terminals. One participant observed to Hafner and Lyon, “It became obvious…that we ought to find a way to connect all these various machines.” (page 13)

Bilgil wrote, directed, and produced the 2009 animated documentary, “History of the Internet.” In it, he highlights the technological constraints that existed at the time of Hafner and Lyon’s history, as well as the developments that enabled them to be overcome. “(W)hat we take for granted today was only a vague idea fifty years ago.”

The original purpose of the Internet was very specific, namely to link the computers used by government-sponsored researchers. It’s more complicated than the “series of tubes” imagined by an octogenarian ex-senator. Still, it’s OK for our purposes to think of it as the capable soapbox upon which many people, including bloggers, stand.

One participant in Hafner and Lyon’s history provided this insight: “The process of technological development is like building a cathedral. Over the course of several hundred years new people come along and each lays down a block on top of the old foundation…(when an historian asks), “Well, who built this cathedral?’…you can con yourself into believing that you did the most important part. But the reality is that each contribution has to follow onto previous work. Everything is tied to everything else.” (pages 79-80).

And eventually, everybody ends up in the cathedral.

Section 4 – So, that’s why they call it ‘The Web.’

“Everything is tied to everything else.” (Hafner and Lyons, page 80)

I find that last comment as powerful as it is profound, because the idea that everything is connected to everything else describes a structure and process that each are web-like. The first iteration of the Internet in 1969 resembles a small web, or even just a portion of one, in its simplest form. As Hafner and Lyons described, “The (first) network was real, but with only 4 nodes clustered on the West Coast, its topology was simple, the experiment small.” (page 160)


Illustration 1 – Initial Internet topology in 1969, by the author, based on Hafner and Lyons. (page 160)

A subsequent schematic illustrates how that structure evolved into a more complex form with 15 nodes two years later.

Illustration 2 – Internet topology in 1971, from Gromov.

We may be inclined to believe that the only real physical connections in either of these webs are those defined by the straight line between two adjacent components. But the functional connections are more significant. In addition to acting as a gateway for the host computer to which it is connected in Illustration 2, each Interface Message Processor (IMP) – the computer developed specifically for communicating in the network - also passes along messages that are not intended for its host. In that way, the host computer in the upper left hand corner of the latter schematic is functionally connected to the host computer in the lower right hand corner, with every intervening IMP simply passing along the messages between them.

In that way, not only is everything tied to everything else, but everything is tied to everything else in multiple ways. Now that’s what I call a web.

This functional connection between computers is also the foundation of another web, and it is that web which we will next consider in our attempt to understand blogs.

The World Wide Web, or simply ‘the Web,’ was initially conceived and developed by a single person. Tim Berners-Lee was a researcher at CERN, the European high-energy physics laboratory located in Geneva. The Web is his most significant and enduring contribution. As he later noted, “The Web resulted from many influences on my mind, half-formed thoughts, disparate conversations, and seemingly disconnected experiments.” (Berners-Lee).

Berners-Lee observed that “…computers were good at logical organizing and processing, but not (at more intuitive) associations…(like) the human mind.” That observation led him to explore how computers could be used to make connections between seemingly disparate nodes of information, in much the same way that his engineering predecessors who developed the Internet sought to establish physical and functional links between the computers themselves.

Berners-Lee proposed his vision for connected information at CERN, saying that the “working structure of the organization is a multiply connected “web” whose interconnections evolve with time.” (Berners-Lee - proposal) According to Berners-Lee, this web was not limited to the scientific data and information scattered across multiple computer systems within CERN, or even at other similar labs; but also included the activities and interests of the many researchers themselves, as well as the relationships between members of research teams, and among the various teams whose interests might intersect or overlap at any time.

In contemplating the problem of isolated and disconnected information, Berners-Lee was also exploring ways to better enable the people behind that information to know about each other, and about ways to enhance their ability to connect.

Berners-Lee went beyond articulating general concepts, and developed the specific technologies that made the Web a reality. They include:
  • HyperText Markup Language (HTML): the programming language used to enhance the textual and other content components on the Web, and to establish links between information located on any computer attached to the Web.
  • Uniform Resource Locator (URL): the unique and specific address of any piece of information on the Web.
  • HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP): the rules that computers connected to the Web use to communicate with each other.
These technologies have become so ubiquitous and transparent that most of us give them no thought or attention, in much the same way that we simply get into our cars, turn the ignition key, and head off to our destinations. We know there’s a lot of engineering and technology that make driving possible, but we really don’t think about any of it.

The first iteration of Berners-Lee’s web became available to the public in 1991, when he connected the first computer, designated as a Web server, to the Internet. It was called a Web server because its purpose was to provide, or serve, information. He also released the first version of the tool called a Web browser, which is used to find and access that information. (Berners-Lee)

Section 5 – OK, now what?

Let’s review what we’ve got so far. First, there’s this thing called the Internet, which is a series of tubes…OK, not tubes exactly, but physical and functional connections that enable computers to communicate.

Then there’s this thing called the Web that runs on the Internet. We use the Web to point from something on a computer over here to something else on a computer over there.

Now, here is where it gets interesting. Once the basic Web information technologies were in place, people needed ways to develop content (authoring tools); ways to put it out there for others to see (publishing tools); and ways to find and display it themselves (browsing tools).

The earliest users of the Internet and the Web were comfortable with technology, and the tools they used to write publish, and access Web content met their needs at the time. However, the rest of us would find those tools difficult to use.

Consider the Web browser. Berners-Lee developed the first browser in 1990, and called it WorldWideWeb. It only displayed text, because Web pages did not initially include images. Berners-Lee’s browser was written specifically for the NeXT computer system, manufactured and sold by the company of the same name. (Berners-Lee) While Berners-Lee chose that system because it had the capabilities he required for the overall Web development project, the NeXT computer was never a commercial success. NeXT stopped manufacturing them in 1993, and the company was acquired by Apple. Notably, the software innovations that NeXT developed subsequently became the foundation for the current version of Apple’s Macintosh operating system. (Wikipedia - NeXT)

An online history of Web browsers by Lilly features a comprehensive list of the tools known to have been developed after Berners-Lee’s WorldWideWeb. Though there are now substantially fewer choices, current browser capabilities easily surpass those of earlier tools, and browsers have evolved in the same incremental fashion as the technology components that we have already discussed. According to Lilly, “No matter which browser you choose to surf the web with, the features you take for granted today are the result of nearly two decades of browser design.”

The best known early browser was Mosaic, which was initially developed in 1992 by Marc Andreeson and a group of classmates at the University of Illinois’ National Center for Supercomputer Applications (NCSA). The development of Mosaic is an important milestone for several reasons: it displayed both text and graphics, it was distributed for free, and it could be installed on computers running Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s Macintosh operating systems. Andreesen and his colleagues believed “everybody should be using the Web…(and) their program proved an instant hit.” (Rosenberg)

Andreeson and several colleagues left NCSA to form Netscape, Inc. They sold several versions of a new browser called Navigator, starting in 1994.

When Microsoft entered the market with Internet Explorer (IE) in 1995, the company dedicated substantial resources to the product’s development, and included it as part of its widely used Windows operating system. Netscape was unable to compete, steadily lost market share, discontinued further browser development, and was acquired by America Online in 1998. (Lilly)

The majority of users now browse the Web with the latest versions of IE; a browser called Safari for the Macintosh; Mozilla’s open source Firefox; or Google’s open source Chrome. (Lilly)

Most of us give little thought to our browser. We simply expect it to be there. And while some Web users, then and now, simply want to find and read (or watch) Web content, others also want to develop and publish it. Those activities require additional tools, along with the skills to use them.

According to Rosenberg, Tim Berners-Lee activated the first website in 1990, when he designated his NeXT machine to serve at the Web address http://info.cern.ch. “As he proselytized for his new creation, enthusiasts at other universities would crank up their own Web servers, begin publishing sites, and email Berners-Lee to tell him...Berners-Lee would insert a listing for it – and a link to it – from a page at his info.cern site.” (page 9)

Rosenberg makes it sound easy, but most people still don’t know how to “crank up their own web servers.”

Just as with browsers, a market soon developed for Web content authoring and publishing tools. These tools also became easier to use as more, and less technically experienced, people took to the Web.

Microsoft entered this new market in early 1996 when it acquired Vermeer Technologies, Inc. (VTI). VTI developed FrontPage, a tool for authoring and publishing Web content. In the press release announcing their acquisition, Microsoft executives predicted that people using word processing and spreadsheet programs “will author web documents for…the Internet in the near future.” (Microsoft)

As one technology publication noted at the time, Microsoft’s entry “brings Web publishing technology within the reach of the average PC user.” (CNET)

We’ve accounted for the tools needed to author, publish, find, and view Web content, and now need to consider one last piece - the Web server, the computer used to store content and make it available to others. As previously noted, though Berbers-Lee and his contemporaries would simply “crank up their own Web servers,” that was not a viable option for the growing number of less technically-capable people who also wanted to develop and publish Web content.

This need for Web servers led to the development of another new industry - Web hosting. The basic concept behind Web hosting is similar to the market for real estate. People need places to live, just as Web sites need to be stored on servers connected to the Internet. Landlords operate apartment buildings, and tenants rent individual apartments. In the same way, Web hosting companies operate banks of Web servers, while organizations and individuals rent portions of these computers for their Web sites. This model is called shared hosting. (Loh)

But just as some people want to own the structures where they live, some organizations and individuals need their own computer resources to support large and busy Web sites. This model is called dedicated hosting. (Loh)

Section 6 – Can we talk about blogging now?

Based on the discussion thus far, we can consider blogs as the most recent set of blocks in our cathedral. They are conceptually layered directly on traditional Web technologies, which in turn are based on Berners-Lee’s original concepts, which itself would not be possible without the Internet as foundation.

The following illustration demonstrates that blogs are the functional convergence of each preceding tool and technique. All of them are held together in the framework of the browser.

Illustration 3 – The evolution of information technology, leading to blogs. By the author.

Where did this convergence first take place, who made it happen, and how? Rosenberg points to many events and participants, cautioning, “…efforts to identify a ‘first blog’ are comical, and ultimately futile, because blogging was not invented; it evolved…(it) arose in relative obscurity – it got no headlines as it emerged.” (p 81)

However, I will focus on a particular tool to keep the narrative concise, and based upon my own blogging experience. The tool is called Blogger with a capital ‘B,’ to avoid confusing it with a blogger, a person who blogs.

The two people who started the project that led to Blogger didn’t set out to build it. Evan Williams and Meg Hourihan had other plans. According to Rosenberg, their initial idea was based on their belief that “…the future belonged to software tools that worked across the Web and inside the Web browser. Services like Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail had already shown how this worked for email: to use them, you didn’t need to download an email program, install it, and run it in a separate Window – you just signed up on a website and sent and received your message there.” (page107)

In the course of building a complex product on that model, which they hoped to sell to other computer programmers and Web developers, Williams wrote a small, almost incidental piece of software to make the work easier. The simple tool he developed enabled them to quickly and easily post any information they found onto their own internal Web site, which they frequently used to communicate with each other.

According to Rosenberg, “Trivial as its actually technical details were, the little script…accomplished something important: it cleared the obstacles from the path between brain and Web page.” (p 110-111) This observation about Blogger’s technology echoes Karpf’s earlier one, "…a blog is a relatively basic technological artifact." (page 3).

Williams said that upon using his tool he “had an epiphany” and as a result the internal Web site he shared with Hourihan “changed from an occasional creative outlet that I would do when I had time, to much more of a linked outlet for my brain.” (Rosenberg, page 108)

Rosenberg also identified a broader implication. He wrote that Blogger, “…established the template for a whole new wave of web companies…(that) didn’t have to raise millions or spend millions to achieve something valuable; they could be built around an idea and sustained without any…trappings…As blogging spread beyond the technology industry, its new acolytes carried the seeds of this ethos into other fields. Maybe you could start a new publication without rounding up big money. Maybe your political organization or your marketing consultancy didn’t have to invest in a lease or fancy signage. In this way, blogging became not only a mode of expression but a way of thinking about guerilla-style organization-building.” (page 129)

In other words, blogging is empowering.

In her extensive online history of blogging, Blood notes, “The promise of the Web was that everyone could publish.” The term ‘everyone’ should more accurately be, “everyone with access to a computer hooked up to the Internet.” Still, Blogger and other tools like it enable many people who would otherwise be unable to publicly express their ideas. (Blood – online)

Blood points to Blogger as the final piece needed to realize “the promise of the Web” because at first “only those people who knew how to code a web page could make their voices heard. Blogger…(has) given people with little or no knowledge of HTML the ability to publish on the web: to pontificate, remember, dream, and argue in public.” (Blood- online)

Section 7 – Can we wrap this up?

Let’s try. My own professional interest is health care, specifically nursing education, and caring for patients and families at end of life. I blog to express my thoughts and opinions on these topics. I also blog as a way to learn and teach, and to build a network of like-minded professionals.

I doubt that I would blog, or that I would blog as much as I do, if the process was technically difficult or time-consuming. I’m willing and eager to develop my ideas, but I’m not interested in fiddling with computers any more than I have to. I also doubt that my blogging would be as useful or rewarding as it’s been if my blog’s reach was limited.

I previously described my blog in a report submitted as my final project (Soucy), and will now illustrate how I used Blogger to develop a blog post with text, links, and video. My blog is Death Club for Cuties. I developed and posted an essay on January 28, 2010 titled, “For J, her family, and her dad.”

Illustration 4 – Screen snap showing url and initial portion of referenced essay

The complete url for the entry is:

http://deathclubforcuties.blogspot.com/2010/01/for-j-her-family-and-her-dad.html

http://deathclubforcuties.blogspot.com is the main address for my blog. The blogspot.com portion of the address indicates that the blog deathclubforcuties is on a shared hosting server owned by Blogspot.

The portion of the address that reads /2010/01 indicates that this particular piece was posted in January, 2010, because I use Blogger to organize and archive my posts on a monthly basis.

The final address portion that reads /for-j-her-family-and-her-dad.html is based on the title I gave to the piece, with .html indicating that this is an html file type.

All components of the address were automatically generated by Blogger.

I added several links within the text of the essay. One was to a video showing the final pitches of Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz’s 2007 no-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles. The text ‘Clay Bucholtz’s(sic) no-hitter’ is highlighted in a different color than the regular text to cue the reader about the link.

Illustration 5 – Screen snap showing hypertext link for Clay Buchholz no-hitter

When a reader clicks on the highlighted text, their browser is connected to a different server hosting the target video, shown below.

Illustration 6 – Screen snap showing Clay Buchholz no-hitter video

The video’s full address is visible at the top of the screen in the url portion of the browser:

http://mais.uol.com.br/view/mmdnvn4xi6pq/boston-red-sox--clay-buchholz-nohitter-2-of-2-0402D8C153C6?types=A&

The ‘br’ portion of the address http://uol.com.br indicates that this server is located in Brazil. I located the video by searching Google with the term “Clay Buchholz no hitter” then copied its address. I developed the link by activating a form within Blogger, pasting the address into the form, and finally clicking OK to generate the html source code, as shown:

Illustration 7 – Screen snap showing method for building hypertext link in Blogger

In addition to developing a link to a video, I also embedded another video directly into the essay:

Illustration 8 – Screen snap showing embedded video in my blog

I was already familiar with this specific video, and located it within YouTube using the search term “Nessun Dorma Pavarotti:”

Illustration 9 – Screen snap showing source video at YouTube

YouTube provides the html source code to enable video embedding, located in the shaded box immediately to the right of the video player.

Finally, I copied the source code into another Blogger form, and clicked Publish Post:

Illustration 10 – Screen snap showing html code for embedding video in my blog

Conclusion - So, what have we proven?

I believe that question is best answered in an online review of Blood’s book, written by a reviewer who calls himself acleversheep (A Clever Sheep). The review appears at the online bookstore Amazon.com.

acleversheep writes, “Blood demonstrates over and again that blogging is all about self-discovery. You will most likely not find a huge audience, she tells us, but you will find that you are a better writer than you were before you started blogging. You probably won't be a huge influence on public policy, but you will hone your reasoning and filtering skills by engaging the topics you care about. You may not ever make a penny from your blog, but you can improve your reputation and your standing in your industry by becoming a resource and a reference point.”

Blood also provides an answer in her online history of blogging: “We are being pummeled by a deluge of data and unless we create time and spaces in which to reflect, we will be left with only our reactions. I strongly believe in the power of weblogs (blogs) to transform both writers and readers from "audience" to "public" and from "consumer" to "creator." Weblogs are no panacea for the crippling effects of a media-saturated culture, but I believe they are one antidote.”

That’s a good place to start answering the question. It’s also a good one with which to finish this paper.

References

acleversheep (A Clever Sheep). Not a "How-to", but a "Why-to." 2002. Book review at Amazon.com. Obtained at http://www.amazon.com/review/R3SLHMJ8N3H6NC/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

Berners-Lee, Tim. Weaving the Web: The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web. New York, Harper, 2000

Berners-Lee, Tim - proposal. 1989. “Information Management: A Proposal.” Obtained at http://www.w3.org/History/1989/proposal.html

Bilgil, Mehli. 2009. “History of the Internet.” An animated documentary obtained at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hIQjrMHTv4&NR=1&feature=fvwp

Blood, Rebecca - online. 2000. “weblogs: a history and perspective.” Obtained at

Blood, Rebecca. The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog Basic Books, New York, 2002.

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