There has been a recent and important shift away from technological and/or informational determinism in theories regarding information and communication technologies (ICTs) to an examination of how ICTs are actually used by society and the value of the large volume of information that they make so readily accessible. Essentially, the focus has shifted away from how ICTs can deliver information and solve problems to how the amount of that information is so large that it changes how we understand, use and create it. As Scott Lash would assert in his Critique of Information, too much information has made previously useful information useless. The question has now become: "How can we make information understandable and useful" - or in other words, "How can it be made into knowledge?"
Paralleling the shift in theoretical focus has been the development and increasing prominence of new technologies that facilitate knowledge creation and sharing. One such technology that has become widely used by everyone from teenagers to professional journalists is online journaling services, or "blogs." Blogs combine personal journal keeping with community bulletin board systems. Furthermore, blogs are an example of how the new informational climate has created the need for new methods of knowledge creation and understanding the world.
The focus of this paper will be to examine the blogging service LiveJournal (LJ) as a new site of knowledge creation and sharing. I will conduct this epistemological study of LJ while using the traditional media as a point of comparison. I will also examine how uses of knowledge can alter its usefulness For example, the traditional media's profit orientation will mean that they create and use knowledge in a different way than users of LiveJournal. However, as the traditional media have been written about exhaustively, I will only use them as a counterpoint to my analysis of LJ, rather than providing a full examination of both.
My analysis will take on a number of parts: how LJ works; who uses it and why; a brief overview of the traditional media in relation to blogging and LJ; and how LJ functions as a site of knowledge creation and sharing as well as what kind of knowledge is produced.
Alphabetical list of papers, by author
Alphabetical list of panels