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.

Blog.limkitsiang.com 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, <http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/2011/07/20/the-political-impact-of-bersih-2-0/>

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, <http://www.emeraldinsight.com.ezlibproxy.unisa.edu.au/journals.htm?articleid=1937296&show=html>

3.  Witt, L., 2009, ‘Blogging communities spurred to action’, Nieman Reports, vol. 63, no. 3, pp. 49 – 51, viewed 26 August 2011, < http://content.ebscohost.com.ezlibproxy.unisa.edu.au>

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, <http://kt.flexiblelearning.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/white.pdf>


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, jeffooi.com 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, <http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezlibproxy.unisa.edu.au/science/article/pii/S1071581906000590>

2.  Lomborg, S., 2009, ‘Navigating the blogosphere: Towards a genre-based typology of weblogs’, First Monday, vol. 14, no. 5, viewed 24 August 2011, <http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2329/2178>

3.  The Media Report, 2008, A Taxonomy of Blogs, viewed 22 August 2011, http://www.abc.net.au/rn/mediareport/stories/2008/2372882.html

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,            <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13038937>

2.  Beckerman, G., 2007, ‘The new Arab conversation’, Columbia Journalism Review, vol. 45, no. 5, pp. 16 – 23, viewed 20 August 2011, <http://web.ebscohost.com.ezlibproxy.unisa.edu.au>

3. Blogging hits Mainstream, Integral to Media Ecosystem 2008, Technorati, viewed 20 August 2011, <http://www.marketingcharts.com/interactive/blogging-hits-mainstream-integral-to-media-ecosystem-6256/>

4. Drezner, D. W. & Farrell, H., 2004, ‘Web of influence’, Foreign Policy, no. 145, pp. 32 – 40, viewed 20 August 2011, <http://www.jstor.org.ezproxy.taylors.edu.my/stable/pdfplus/4152942.pdf>

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, <http://web.ebscohost.com.ezlibproxy.unisa.edu.au>

6. Franklin, S., 2011, ‘Sunrise on the Nile’, Columbia Journalism Review, vol. 49, no. 6, pp. 17, viewed 20 August 2011, <http://web.ebscohost.com.ezlibproxy.unisa.edu.au>

7.  Gillmor, D., 2003, ‘Moving towards participatory journalism’, Nieman Reports, vol. 57, iss. 3, pp. 79 – 80, viewed 20 August 2011, <http://content.ebscohost.com.ezlibproxy.unisa.edu.au>

8.  Reuters, 2011, ‘China arrests blogger Ran Yunfei’, Guardian March 28, viewed 20 August 2011, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/28/china-arrests-blogger-ran-yunfei>

 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, <http://www.cprsouth.org/wp-content/uploads/drupal/Sandra_Smeltzer.pdf>

10. Walker, R., 2008, “Malaysia blogger arrested after posting anti-government comments’, Guardian September 12, viewed 20 august 2011, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/12/malaysia.pressandpublishing

11. World’s 50 Most Populous Countries 2010, n. d., Infoplease, viewed 20 August 2011,     <http://www.infoplease.com/world/statistics/most-populous-countries.html>

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.


It's JUST War! n. d., <http://www.itsjustwar.com/&gt;

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