Kris has just done a quite interesting presentation, here at the OII summer programme, about his research project re: weblogs and public access to information. His project, at INCITE at the University of Surrey, is sponsored by Sapient Corporation, a Boston-based consultancy, much to their credit. We’re talking about how to be properly skeptical when talking about the greatly-hyped blogs space. The question of how to run an academically-responsible research project when sponsored directly by industry is also on the table, which is terribly important by my lights. He’s got a cool model about how and where people access the Net as well.
This point Kris hit on about the “over-hyped” nature of blog talk was emphasized today at the OII by Steve Woolgar, Professor of Marketing at University of Oxford’s Said Business School. Woolgar talked about the three stages of technology discourse: exaggerated claims by journalists, sense making, & academic empirical research. With blogs, I see that we are nearing the end of the first phase. Since the Trent Lott scandal, said to brought to the forefront of the media due to blog chatter, there have been other claims of importance of blogs. During the war, every journalist & major organization hosted their own rendition of a blog for reporters while citizens are learned to harness the power of reporting for themselves. Finally, scholars are finishing up exploratory blog investigations & getting them presented & published. I couldn’t agree more that these claims are quite exaggerated, but I am refreshed that most of the popular press claims (that I have heard) are positive.