Lovink (2008, p23) argues that bloggers are creative nihilists who celebrate the death of centralized meaning structures and ignore the accusation that they would only produce noise”.
Blog is defined as the digitized voice of a person that has become massively distrusted to the non-marginal sphere of internet, which emerged the illusion about the death of the centralized meaning structure (Lovink cited on Dave Winer, 2007, p4; Lovink, 2008, p23). However, it could be argued that the centralized structure that is generated by the mainstream media is not gone with the birth of blog. Instead, it is gradually absorbing the format of blog to promote its accessibility towards the increased online audiences, and still playing a significant role as the major information creator. As a result, more professional journalists have actively participated in the blogsphere and have become creative nihilists, producing the “noise” which is established in the mainstream media that can be heard for the public. This short blog will use one of the lifestyle blog in The Age as an example to illustrate the shift of central meaning structure on its adaptation of blog format.
Mainstream media has gradually changed its distribution by establishing online newspapers. Meanwhile, it has also created blocks of blogs to attract more audiences and advertisement readers. The Age is one of Australian’s major newspaper companies that sets up its online newspaper, which has similar contents from its print newspaper but contains more connectivity through its multiple link such as the tweeter, Facebook and other article links and the links of other cooperative newspapers (Flew, 2008, p148).
Besides the print newspaper, online Age is more focused on its cooperation with new digital technology and the new gross-rooted blogging phenomenon to increase the accessibility for the audiences. The new created blog blocks contain various blog entries that are categorised into different themes such as lifestyle & leisure, entertainment, and technology. Moreover, all the blogs allow discussions and comments. Besides centual meaning structure that is reflected on its news section, the adaptation of blog has provided a mainstream media like The Age with more connections and communications with the audiences.
However, not all the ordinary bloggers can write blogs for the mainstream newspaper. The writers for the blogs of The Age are mostly professional writers. For instance, Paula Goodyer is one of the writer under The Age who is the blogger of Chew on this, a lifestyle blog of the online Age. As a freelance journalist, Goodyer also writes a lifestyle book. With a profession in both newspaper and blog, she becomes an excellent hybrid beneficiary from the hybridization of mainstream media and blog. Thus, her blog could cross between the fluid boundary between mainstream media sphere and blog sphere to attract both newspaper and blog readers.
The blog Chew on this is about healthy food and lifestyles. Considerable food lovers visit her blog and leave comments which Goodyer will reply to encourage more active interactivities with her readers. In addition, various links of other blog entries, twitter and Facebook pages are also featured in her blog to enhance the connectivity of her blog, which will eventually contributed to increase the reader group of The Age. Chew on this is an ordinary blog that settled within a mainstream newspaper website. It is not renowned but it demonstrates an excellent example of the transformation of centralized media conglomerates and the rise of the blog sphere in contemporary mediascape. The Age as a content-based newspaper has dismissed the central meaning from its news by the increased connectiveness through the blog practice. Hence, mainstream newspapers have created their own blogs and bloggers. The boundaries between mediasphere and blogsphere becomes fluid (Lovin, 2007, p3) and changed the format of centralized meaning structure to access more audience (improve the connectivity). Its privilege is still exclusive as ordinary bloggers are unable to employ this tool but the boundaries between the professional blogger and amateur blogger, the media sphere and blogger sphere are blurred.
Furthermore, Gianni Vattimo argues that nihilism (Lovin cited on Vattim, 2007, p3) is not the absence of meaning but a recognition of the plurality of meaning. The blog is not noise that is produced by the creative nihilists nor is it meaningless. Instead, it is utilized by the mainstream media to attract more readers. By separating blogs into different themes, the attraction is diversified and maximized. In the case of Chew on this, readers who have similar hobbies or interests as the bloggers, for instance baking and exercising, will visit the blog frequently. The blog has created and purified meanings about how to make a better life and it is delivered from blogs to its readers. There is an incredible interactivity being promoted through the article links, tweeter links and Facebook sharing links. Thus, the “Noise” makes sense and are spread far and wide which started the new paradigm of meaning distribution (Lovin, 2008, p22).
In conclusion, the format of blog that is adapted by the mainstream media has generated more news readers to read and observe the central meanings distributed by the newspaper. The blogger employed by the mainstream media has features of both professional and citizen journalism and becomes the successor who benefit from the convergence and blurring between both the major mediashere and blogsphere. The content created from the online mainstream media with its adaptation of blog format has reached a higher volume that can be heard by the public.
Geert Lovink (2007))’Blogging, The Nihilist Impulse’, in Eurozine, accessed in April 20th form http://eurozine.com/pdf/2007-01-02-lovink-en.pdf
Geert Lovink (2008) ‘Blogging, The Nihilist Impulse’, in Zero Comments: Blogging and Critical Internet Culture (pp. 1-38), London: Rout
Terry Flew (2008) New Media: An Introduction. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
The Age.com (2011) accessed from in 22nd April from http://www.theage.com.au/
Life & style (2011) accessed in 22nd April from http://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle
Paula Goodyer (2011)Chew on this in The Age.com accessed in 22nd from