Saturday, April 10, 2010

Personal Style Blog Research

Well, Tania of What Would a Nerd Wear asked to hear more about my project. So here we go.

Last semester I looked at Identity and Outfit of the Day Blogs. I interviewed seven OOTD bloggers to hear the story told through the voices of participants, and I followed approximately twenty blogs to watch how the community worked. My research question was: how is identity as an OOTD blogger shaped and influenced by the community of OOTD bloggers? I am a sociologist, so I am drawn to questions about the interplay between self and society.

This semester I am returning to the project and looking at it from a new angle. First, I have changed the terminology to personal style blogger, as that appears to be a cultural trend that has surfaced. Now I have two questions: what influences the personal style blogger's choice to, or not to monetize, and is personal style blogging a feminist enterprise?

A second big difference between last semester and this semester is that my current project is a research proposal for my thesis. My thesis will be due in April, 2011, so I have one year to read tons more books and articles, do more data collection, and do data analysis. This summer I will do a second round of interviews, and I would like to get as many as 40 interviews completed (if you're a personal style blogger and you're reading this, I would definitely like to talk with you). I will also be creating a database about PSBs, like posts per month, ads or no ads, links or no links, blogroll, number of pictures, cross posting, all that good stuff. From what I can tell, there is no centralized data collection of this kind, except probably Blogger and WordPress have use numbers. I suspect that blog companies would be unwilling to share that data, and also, since personal style blogs are not always distinct from personal blogs, mommy blogs, beauty blogs, etc., the info probably doesn't exist for just the type that I'm investigating.

So, what do you think? I have lately seen tons of reflective posts on these exact topics. Those are really cool and helpful, and I want to strike while the iron is hot, before people get tired of talking about why they do what they do. On the other hand, there is no money to do this research; I'm just working on my M.A., so it pretty much happens when I have time for it to happen. Same issues that most grad students face.

OK, so there you have it. Let's talk!
Emily K.