Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 1-31-2005

Degree Name

Master of Science in Professional and Technical Communication - (M.S.)


Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Christopher T. Funkhouser

Second Advisor

Burt Kimmelman

Third Advisor

Robert S. Friedman


Weblogs, or blogs, are Web sites maintained by one person or a few select people, are usually about one distinct subject, are constantly updated, and attract repeat visitors. This form has become a popular means of self-expression because it empowers both the writer and the audience. Blogs empower writers by providing them with an easy way to self-publish their points-of-view to a wide audience. Blogs empower the audience when the writer either provides informative hyperlinks and references that the audience can use to verify the writer's claims or allows the audience to append their own text to the blog that could refute the writer's claims. When the blogger provides links to her sources and encourages her readers to challenge her arguments in much the same way as academic or scientific authors do, her blog feels more authentic. To understand how blogs empower people, a useful comparison can be made between blogs and traditional autobiographical writing, as well as the collaborative environment of the open source movement.