Huffington Post

On: October 14, 2008
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About Hannah Biemold
Artist and blogger who wrote a novel last year in the NaNoWriMo program (National November Writing Month). The book, called 'In het hooi', has been published by Uitgeverij Vuurpapier in june 2010. Hannah finished the master New Media program in 2009 at the University of Amsterdam. She wrote a master thesis on Twitter implications (twesis). Besides this, Hannah is trying to visualize ideas about the world through conceptual art, she is looking for confrontation with these borders and wants to know of they're stretchable.

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After more and more frequently visiting the website the Huffington post I’ve been wondering if this website is a social networking site (SNS), as multiple people blog here and are connected, or is this site just a news and commentary site to perform new journalism? Dana Boyd has some ideas on what would be considered as a SNS and what is not. With her ideas in my mind I could look again at the Huffington Post and analyse it. Both Danah Boyd and Arianna Huffington are two powerful women on the web, both have their ideas on social networking and it’s interesting to put these side by side to see what they have in common, and of course what their differences are in the matter.

Boyd studied social networks at UC Berkeley and is now a PhD candidate at the School of Information (iSchool) at the University of California (Berkeley) and a Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. She focuses on how American teens use and interact on SNSs like Facebook.

Huffington is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of multiple books. She is also co-host of “Left, Right & Center,” public radio’s popular political roundtable program. In 2006, she was named to the Time 100, Time Magazine’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Her website which features blogs and commentary from her and from a number of prominent journalists, public officials, and celebrities. It’s only ben there for three years and also highlights news stories from various sources and has a huge feed. The site offers both news commentary and coverage. It is ranked the most powerful blog in the world by The Observer.

What is the Huffington Post exactly?

The Huffington Post is more than just a personal or group blog and more than a community, it’s also not just an online newspaper or SNS. So I want to know how to categorize this site. Before I can actually exclude certain options I need to descibe them to have a reason to exclude them.

SNSs are opening up a lot of questions as the ways teens and older generations communicate here in a very different way then in the offline world. People create profiles with pictures and small blogs and can easily view the profiles of their friends. For example in the feed of Facebook users have an overview of most activities of their friends since the last time they logged on to the site. But most of these friends are known to the user on a personal base and on the Huffington Post the users are many well known personalities and celebrities contributing through blogs. The site is one big feed of these blogs and the news articles I mentioned before.

The problem with most SNSs and news sites is that it takes a lot of time to keep up with the information in the feed and being updated on what your friends are doing (see link in HP), it’s like a job in itself, and the same is happening with a communal blog like the Huffington Post, the feed is growing so fast that’s it’s almost impossible to read all articles. Especially with the elections happening now the feed is overflowing.

Inside SNSs

Through her research Danah Boyd comes up with a lot of reasons how younger generations use the SNSs and also on the Huffington Post bloggers write about the new phenomena. Boyd argues that participants of these sites are allowed by the feature of building a friends list they articulate an imagined audience and also Anastasia Goodstein feels a generation gap and repeats Boyds words that these young users have an invisible audience and are archiving their adolescence. They feel like some kind of celebrity and that’s exactly what the Huffington Post is about too. A lot of these bloggers there are already celebrities and don’t need more fame but they’re taking control through their writing and thus have some saying over their digital trail like the youth Boyd writes about. […]

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