A look at what motivates individuals to find a blog credible
Blogging is one of my passions. I love reading blogs like Cupcakes and Cashmere
and Studded Hearts. This week for my PR class we had to read an academic journal article and I found one on blogging. The following article is the one I read:
Kaye, B.K., & Johnson, T.J. (2011). Hot diggity blog: A cluster analysis examining motivations and other factors for why people judge different types of blogs as credible. Mass Communication and Society, 14(2), 236-263.
Kaye and Johnson examined how users compared seven types of blogs – general information, media/journalism, war, military, political, corporate, and personal blogs – to be creditable. The study used a two-step cluster analysis and identified four groups of users. This means the study used a two-step process to break down the pool of people into four separate groups called clusters based on their preferences.
The researchers recruited blog users for the research study by placing a survey URL on 70 general interest blogs. Participants in the survey shared information about their blog preferences and views of credibility. A total of 1,989 people participated in the online survey.
There were several reasons for the survey:
1. Examine credibility based on genre
2. See if certain blog genres were more credible than others
3. Examine if the demographics and characteristics of participates relates to credibility
The main focus of the survey was to look at the credibility of blog types. Researchers coined credibility as involving four areas: believability, fairness, accuracy, and depth of information. Participants then rated these four areas with a point scale of 1-5.
Participants were also asked to answer and rate questions involving:
· Interest in general news and the Iraq War
· Political party and ideology
· War support
· Blog use
· Trust and self-efficacy
· Blog use motivations
The four cluster groups had the following characteristics:
· Cluster 1- Blog Confidents
o Deemed all seven blog types as credible
o Dominated by Republicans
o Said motivation of group feelings is “because blogs provide the most up-to-date information”
· Cluster 2- War and Corporate Blog Doubters
o Deemed war, military and corporate blogs not credible at all and other blogs somewhat credible
o Half affiliated with Democratic party
o Said motivation of group feelings is “for depth of information”
· Cluster 3- War Blog Faithful
o Deemed only war and military blogs highly credible and other blogs not credible at all
o Dominated by Republicans
o Said motivation of group feelings is “because I don’t trust traditional media”
· Cluster 4- Blog Averse
o Deemed all seven types of blogs not credible
o Divided more evenly among conservative, moderates and liberals
o Said motivation of group feelings is “to get a wide variety of opinions”
The method used to gather information was self-selected, meaning participants were not selected but volunteered to be part of the survey. The second limitation was the snowball method, having participants forward the survey onto fellow bloggers.
This survey taught me a lot about why people find blogs to be creditable or not. It helps reshape how I want write on my own blog. It is important to me to open my blog up for conversation. I have to focus more on a target audience. I found my target is people who share the same interests as me and are looking for an entertainment purpose out of a blog.