Screen -v- Print Document Design

The multimodality of language articulates meaning exclusive to every reader (Kress & van Leeuwen, 1998). Technology elucidates this multimodality by incorporating sound effects and movement in documents. To prevent misinterpretation and enforce the message intended, designers need to dichotomize between print documents and screen  when designing.

For a printed newspaper article, content can be typographically arranged and elaborated. Verbal imagery – metaphor, simile – is permitted to enhance a message. For online news articles, however, the content must be summarized in order to counter the depleting attention span of a technology mediated generation (Greengard, 2009).  In order to seize and sustain attention, visual imagery – photographs, video recordings – must be inserted because online users generally expect communication through visual, textual, and kinaesthetics (Pravettoni, Leotta & Luchiarri, 2008). Related links must be available to provide context.


As opposed to the linear reading paths of print documents (Walsh, 2006), screen documents require distinct frames to connect related elements together (Kress & van Leeuwen, 1998). The framing devices should provide an elucidated reading path to counter the multiple reading paths available in an online document through interactivity (Walsh, 2006). This complements a reader with short attention span to make sense of the document.


In terms of layout, information value is important for both print and screen documents. However, the infinite distractions online (Greengard, 2009) necessitates a more graphical layout as opposed to print documents. More pictures are required to rank information value through the salience of elements. Elements must be ranked in such a way as to dictate the short attention spanned which and where to read first. Simplification is vital to communicate and sustain attention, particularly online.






1.  Greengard, S., 2009, ‘Are we losing our ability to think critically?’ Society, vol. 52, iss. 7, pp. 18 – 19, viewed 26 August 2011, <>


2.  Kress, G. & van Leeuwen, T., 1998, ‘Front pages: (the critical) analysis of newspaper layout’, in Approaches to Media Discourse, eds. Bell, A. & Garrett, P., Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 186 – 219, viewed 26 August 2011.

3.  Pravettoni, G., Leotta, S. N., & Luchiarri, C., 2008, ‘The eye caught on the net: A study on attention and motivation in virtual environment exploration’, European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, vol. 25, no. 9, pp. 955 – 966, viewed 26 August 2011, <>

4.  Walsh, M., 2006, ‘The textual shift: Examining the reading process with print, visual, and multimodal text’, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 24 – 37, viewed 26 August 2011.


New Forms of Media Publishing

Social networking sites have transformed communication between us and the mainstream media into a conversation (Drezner & Farrell, 2004) by allowing us to become both producers and consumers of information. With 100 million videos uploaded daily by users 15 months after its launch (Haridakis & Hanson, 2009), Youtube echoes the voices of an active audience discussing topics ranging from politics to emotions. Through its comments function, Youtube utilizes the uncertainty reduction theory (Dawkins, 2009) to bridge relationships between information producers and information consumers, further promoting an active media ecosystem. Strangers are empowered to deepen their relationships with one another (Dawkins, 2009) by posting comments and receiving feedbacks.  Vocabulary variety and grammatical errors in such communication also engender authenticity (Tolson, 2010), and hence, trust among strangers and information producers. This trust forges unity among the users, empowering them to challenge mainstream media for the role of agenda setting.

Cooperating with the uncertainty reduction theory in forming a new media eco-system, is the disintegration of the spiral of silence – fear of a minority group to voice opinions due to fear of ostracism (Matthes & Morrison, 2010). The globalized user-ship and the absence of content restriction allow anyone to say anything on Youtube, making it the modern public sphere. The 2008 American elections saw thousands of Americans articulating political opinions on Youtube that engendered democratic arguments online (Holbert & Geidner, 2009). This decentralizes power from mainstream media, corporations, and government. Eventually, this altered media landscape will give rise to absolute democracy and liberate the world from hegemonic oppression.






1.  Dawkins, M. A., 2009, ‘How it’s done: Using hitch as a guide to uncertainty reduction theory’, Communication Teacher, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 136 – 141, viewed 25 August 2011, <>

2.  Drezner, D. W. & Farrell, H., 2004, ‘Web of influence’, Foreign Policy, no. 145, pp. 32 – 40, viewed 20 August 2011, <>

3.  Haridakis, P. & Hanson, G., 2009, ‘Social interaction and co-viewing with Youtube: Blending mass communication and social connection’, Journal of Broadcasting and Mass Media, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 317 – 335, viewed 24 August 2011, <>

4.  Holbert, R. L. & Geidner, N., 2009, ‘The 2008 election: highlighting the need to explore additional communication subfields to advance political communication’, Communication Studies, vol. 60, no. 4, pp. 344 – 358, viewed 24 August 2011, <>

5.  Matthes, J. & Morrison, K. R.,2010, ‘A spiral of silence for some: Attitude of certainty and the expression of political minority’, Communication Research, vol. 37, no. 774, pp. 774 – 799, viewed 25 August 2011, <>

6.  Tolson, A., 2010, ‘A new authenticity? Communicative practices on Youtube’, Critical Discourse Studies, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 277 – 289, viewed 24 August 2011, <>

Types of Blogging Communities and Methods to Build Blogging Communities: Illustrating Lim Kit Siang’s Blog

Organizing without organization is now possible with the advent of blogging communities. The Bersih 2.0 rally (Savaranamuttu, 2011), and the prejudicial imprisonment of Shaquanda Cotton (Witt, 2009) are evidential of the uprisings of blogging communities.  Blog readers, commentors, and bloggers assemble to discuss common interests, building relationships and enforcing a community structure (Tan, Na & Theng, 2011).

The first form of blogging community is the ‘blogger-centric’ community (White, 2006), usually the ‘A-list blogs’. Power is centralized in the blogger, who determines the discussion topics within the blog. The blogging community’s existence clings on the blogger’s will to keep it operating. The second blogging community – ‘central connecting topic community’ – are formed through several blogs linked by a common topic interest (White, 2006). Features such as tagging, RSS feeds, and trackbacks link these blogs together. Power and identity is distributed across this community as the determinants of the conversation topics are decentralized. ‘Boundaried communities’, the final community, are such the bloggers and blog readers co-exist on a single hosted site. One must own a blog to become part of the community. The site owner exercises power by determining restrictions in the site. Bloggers exercise power by directing the discussion topic and aggregating popularity. is an example of a blogger-centric community. Although commentors share similar topical interest as the blogger, the discussion topics are wholly determined by the blogger, Lim Kit Siang. His political position reinforces the credibility necessary for him to be the initiator of such a community. Blog readers solely read and comment without initiating discussion topics, hence excluding this blogging community as a ‘central connecting topic community’. 





1.  Savaranamuttu, J., 2011, ‘The political impact of Bersih 2.0’, Free Malaysia Today July 20, viewed 26 August 2011, <>

2.  Tan, L. K. W., Na, J. C. & Theng, Y. L., 2011, ‘Influence detection between blog posts, through blog features, content analysis, and community identity’, Online Information Review, vol. 35, no. 3, viewed 26 August 2011, <>

3.  Witt, L., 2009, ‘Blogging communities spurred to action’, Nieman Reports, vol. 63, no. 3, pp. 49 – 51, viewed 26 August 2011, <>

4.  White, N., 2006, ‘Blogs and community: Launching a  new paradigm for online community’, The Learning Tree, edn. 11, pp. 1 – 16, viewed 26 August 2011, <>

Classification of Blogs and Opinions about the Most Appropriate Classification Approach

An explosion of free weblog building tools has significantly enlarged the Blogosphere (Du & Wagner, 2006) by enabling anyone to weblog about anything. Although a breakthrough in democratic communication, the vast topical range and varied forms of blogs has considerably complicated classification.














In ‘A Taxonomy of Blogs’ (The Media Report, 2008), Simons proposed classifying blogs according to the author’s intention. Blogs whose authors purpose to argue opinions –political issues – are termed ‘pamphleteering blogs’; ‘exhibition blogs’ are manned by authors who purpose to exhibit creativity (The Media Report, 2008). Simons categorize nine types of blog authors, each driven by a separate purpose. Although this system immunizes itself from nuances that are present in a system that classifies according to media form – linklog and tumblelog, it is vulnerable to genre obscurity in blogs which discusses multiple topics. Classifying according to a blogger’s purpose is unfeasible overtime as the purpose of a blog may change overtime (Lomborg, 2009).

Lomborg (2009) proposes categorizing blogs according to content, directionality, and style. Content addresses topic, directionality addresses the nature of communication between the blog and its audience – to inform or to facilitate discussion. Style dictates whether the tone is professional or personal. Illustrated in Figure 1,

the genre of a blog is plotted on the graph, instead of being classified into distinct sections. For example, is topically political, opinionatedly styled, and constitute a one-to-many communication. Compared to Simons’ classification system, Lomborg’s is less likely to encounter nuances. However, topical specification should be added to Lomborg’s classification system to further distinguish one category of blog from another. It is also proposed that expert attempts should be undertaken to divide Lomborg’s graphical classification system into distinct groups in order to unify categorization.



1.  Du, H. S. & Wagner, C., 2006, ‘Weblog success: Exploring the role of technology’, International Journal of Human-computer Studies, vol. 64, iss. 9, pp. 789 – 798, viewed 24 August 2011, <>

2.  Lomborg, S., 2009, ‘Navigating the blogosphere: Towards a genre-based typology of weblogs’, First Monday, vol. 14, no. 5, viewed 24 August 2011, <>

3.  The Media Report, 2008, A Taxonomy of Blogs, viewed 22 August 2011,

Blogs as Current Phenomenon and Benefits to the Community

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake did not cost Japan its ranking as the10th most populous country worldwide in 2010 (Infoplease, n. d.). Blogosphere, with an estimated population of 133 million as of 2008 (Blogging hits Mainstream, Integral to Media Ecosystem 2008, 2008), is the blame. A kingdom of people which discusses every aspect of life, Blogosphere has altered the landscape of communication by bestowing the powers of production to us – the once passive information consumers (Gillmor, 2003). In democratic countries like America, this power means millions of blogs on daily philosophical life tales (Franklin, 2011).













Contrary to popular assumption, countries with restricted freedom of expression see minimal political blogging. Of the 30,000 Malaysian blogs in 2008, only hundreds are politically inclined (Smeltzer, 2008). This is similar in United Arab Emirates (Beckerman, 2007). Bloggers who challenge authorities directly are usually arrested in such countries. Prominent examples are Raja Petra from Malaysia (Walker, 2008), Abdel Karim Sulaiman Amer (Beckerman, 2007) and Maikel Nabil (BBC, 2011) from the Middle East, and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiao Bao (Reuters, 2011) from China.

While political bloggers are important in revolutionizing against restricted freedom of speech, blogs on ‘candid observations of life’ – prevalent in such regions – are the ones that transform the world (Drezner & Farrell, 2004). Bloggers in wartime Iraq expose unreported perspectives of war (Franklin, 2011), often contradicting those of mainstream media, and hence exposing hegemony in mainstream media. During political upheavals, it is the bloggers whom the reporters refer to (Farrell & Drezner, 2005) because of the bloggers’ direct involvement in such upheavals. Through mere reflection of daily events, these bloggers reconstruct an unbiased journalism which tells the world that the fundamental human right – freedom of expression – is far from a settled fact. This is hence, the most important blogging trend.



1. BBC 2011, ‘Egypt blogger Maikel Nabil jailed by military court’, April 11, viewed 19 August 2011,            <>

2.  Beckerman, G., 2007, ‘The new Arab conversation’, Columbia Journalism Review, vol. 45, no. 5, pp. 16 – 23, viewed 20 August 2011, <>

3. Blogging hits Mainstream, Integral to Media Ecosystem 2008, Technorati, viewed 20 August 2011, <>

4. Drezner, D. W. & Farrell, H., 2004, ‘Web of influence’, Foreign Policy, no. 145, pp. 32 – 40, viewed 20 August 2011, <>

5. Farrell, H. & Drezner, D. W., 2005, ‘The power and politics of blogs’, Public Choice, vol. 134, iss. ½, pp. 15 – 30, viewed 21 August 2011, <>

6. Franklin, S., 2011, ‘Sunrise on the Nile’, Columbia Journalism Review, vol. 49, no. 6, pp. 17, viewed 20 August 2011, <>

7.  Gillmor, D., 2003, ‘Moving towards participatory journalism’, Nieman Reports, vol. 57, iss. 3, pp. 79 – 80, viewed 20 August 2011, <>

8.  Reuters, 2011, ‘China arrests blogger Ran Yunfei’, Guardian March 28, viewed 20 August 2011, <>

 9. Smeltzer, S. C., 2008, ‘Blogging in Malaysia: hope for a new democratic technology?’ Journal of International Communication, vol. 14, pp. 28 – 45, viewed 21 August 2011, <>

10. Walker, R., 2008, “Malaysia blogger arrested after posting anti-government comments’, Guardian September 12, viewed 20 august 2011, <

11. World’s 50 Most Populous Countries 2010, n. d., Infoplease, viewed 20 August 2011,     <>

Purpose of this Blog

Robin Morgan once said, ‘information is power’.  As both producers and consumers of this power, we – users of Social networking sites and weblogs – should be aware of all the issues in publication design and communication. These issues are, after all, determinants of whether political hegemony, or the people, will control the world.


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