Black Americans and the blogesphere


A recent paper published by a Penn State IST researcher revealed that Black Americans are turning to the Internet to express their opinions about topics that aren’t discussed in the mainstream media. Basically Dr. Lynette Kvasny and doctoral degree recipient C. Frank Igwe (both from Penn State IST) were interested in what the black bloggers were saying and how they were saying it, so they analyzed opinions posted on a black blog from August 24-29, 2006 in response to a news story on ABC network about HIV/AIDS and the black community.

They then took what the black bloggers said and how they said it and turned it into a scholarly paper titled ‘An African-American Weblog Community’s Reading of AIDS in Black America,’ which was published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication in April. A few things that Dr. Kvasny feels the research shows:

  1. The anonymous nature of blog posting makes some people more comfortable talking about taboo issues over the Internet.
  2. She believes that every ethnic community has its own ways of speaking. For example, she mentions how they were using emoticons, ‘lol’ and slang in the midst of a very serious topic. (I concur 100%)
  3. Instead of churches or barbershops, the Internet has become a place were the black community can discuss our issues online (especially my generation, which is generation ‘Y’). Also, black bloggers are not only the consumer of content, but the creator of it as well for the black community.
  4. Some of the bloggers had an issue with some of the way in which HIV/AIDS is depicted in the media.

The researchers at Penn State IST did a great job and made good observations in terms of how we impress ourselves online. I would also add that not only are Black Americans creating their own blogs to discuss taboo issues in our community, but we’re also creating our own blogging conferences as well. An example of this is the Blogging While Brown Conference, which is a conference that brings bloggers of color together to network, learn, and exchange ideas about blogging, social media, Web 2.0, etc.

Mike Digital

2 Responses to “Black Americans and the blogesphere”

  1. great post. I’m especially happy to see the topic was a health science one.

  2. Hello there!

    Congratulations on being featured in the ELECTRONIC VILLAGE SAFARI!

    I’ll visit this blog again and feel free to drop by my place and share whenever you’d like!

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

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