Blog analysis: Jenkins versus Bordwell

On: September 23, 2007
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About Qilan Zhao
I'm currently enrolled in the research master's program Media Studies. Prior to this program, I graduated with a MA in Film and Television Studies in 2005. My field of interest includes gender relations, youth culture, transnational media, and Japanese animation.

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http://qilan.wordpress.com    

Blogs are increasingly used by not only students, but academics as well. Here, I will analyze the blogs by two academics in the field of media studies; Henry Jenkins and David Bordwell.

Analytical framework

My analytical framework consists of three sections; content, interface, and functionality/tools
For the analysis of the content, I have drawn upon William Kraska’s blogpost, ‘What makes a good blog?’. According to Kraska; focus, personality and reader comments are key to building a successful blog.

Content: focus/personality/reader comments
Starting with Jenkins

Jenkins’blog has a clear focus, and I think that most of the academics intend to stay within their field of knowledge. The focus of the blog is the use of media in popular culture, yet it amounts to a diversified range of topics, from fan culture, gender relations, to analyzing television series.

This gives the reader already an impression of the interests of the blogger. In this case, the personal introduction of the blogger accumulates to this effect (see about Jenkins). The about section seems very strong; it’s divided into the formal qualifications of the blogger e.g. work experience, education, profession; personal interest/hobby; work (published books); and related projects.

Any comments? Yes, at the end of every post, there’s a link to the page where the reader can post a comment. Cons: Most of the blog posts on Jenkins’ site do not have reader’s comments.

Bordwell

David Bordwell’s blog is actually a collaborative one with Kirstin Thompson. I’m even getting the impression that Thompson is the one posting the majority of the blogs. But anyhow, Bordwell and Thompson are film academics. Their focus is on film analysis, which covers film theory as well as film production.

Where is the about section on Bordwell? There isn’t. Like Jenkins, Thompson has introduced herself by highlighting her profession, the titles of books she has published, her range of interest in film and her admiration to Tolkien’s work. But when it comes to Bordwell, this personal section takes on a more formal character. All the reader can see is Bordwell’s long and elaborate, yet impressive curriculum vitae. The downside of this is that as a reader, you don’t get to connect with the blogger on a more personal level. Academics like Jenkins and Thompson use the blog for a more personalized form of communication to share knowledge and expertise. Jenkins’ and Thompson’s use of language is rather informal and they try to build an interactive communication with the reader, as Jenkins posted: “The first thing you will notice”.

Another con about Bordwell’s blog is that the section of comments are usually closed, so the reader cannot post a comment or respond to the blog posts.

Interface & functionality

Jenkins

The main page presents the user with the most relevant information. It is not overloaded with too much information or visuals.
The posts are rather long. It might be better to show only the first two paragraphs and then direct them to a page where the entire article is presented. It is also hard to find the link to the readers’ comment.

The archive:

I think having the archive on the subpage and consisting of three sections (by title, by category, by date) provides a concise and clear overview of the articles. The category list is rather confusing. There does not seem to be a consistency or criteria to select the subjects under the category list. (comic culture, outtakes, bookshelf?)

The site has the basic functionalities, such as search engine, RSS feed, and the use of bookmark. It doesn’t have a tag cloud, or tags. Links to other site, or video, are rarely posted.

Bordwell

Bordwell’s blog contains more information. On the main page, there are categorized lists on the left and right side of the blog post. But I think these lists are well organized. Compared to Bordwell’s page, the category list is consistent in terms of selecting general subjects that are related to film or film studies. For the reader, this makes it is easier to find an article under these categories.

Again, the basic functionalities are available e.g. RSS feed, bookmark, search engine. No tag cloud, or tags, a few reference (links) on a blog post to other sites.

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