For centuries, celebrity focused magazines otherwise known as ‘tabloids’ lining grocery stores stands and newsstand racks all over the country, have been used as the source of celebrity gossip since Americans seemed to be so much invested in such topics (Davies,2005). The 21st century saw the growth of many of these tabloids that they crowded the industry, but they still had so many sales giving so much profit. In the beginning of the year 2005, there was a sudden change in this genre with the sales taking a downward spiral. Economic woes are major contribution to the decrease in sales that this genre experienced. This reduction in sales did not mean that the major public in celebrity gossip had declined, but the conveniently available online sources on celebrity gossip played a major role in this reduction since, people prefer to just turn on their internet connection and get all the gossip there is on a certain celebrity instead of, having to go to the newspaper stand for this information. Online sources have incredibly challenged the conventional way in which celebrity consuming audience take up celebrity gossip, how it is produced and circulated. Gossip blogs are the new breed of online content on the lives of celebrities that has completely taken advantage of the social and technological possibilities that new media has offered. These blogs are not just online gossip sites since they offer the latest on what is happening in celebrity’s lives thickly coated with the bloggers commentary and also an interactive platform that enables the audience to participate actively. These celebrity gossip blogs have vastly established themselves as the new media sensation transforming the existing celebrity culture .This work looks at the impact of the technological and textual shifts engendered by new media on the use of gossip as a platform of everyday cultural production.
The vastly spread availability of the weblog software that is very user friendly and also available online for free simply means that any individual in the worlds who feels they have something to say can just start a blog as long as there is an internet connection available. A further distinction is however created in that the fact that someone has an online presence doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a blog. Creator of one of the first blogs Cameron Barrett says that “48home pages are places where you put pictures of your family and your cats. It‘s a place to distribute information to a close circle of family and friends. Weblogs, however, are designed for an audience. They have a voice. They have a personality. Simply put, they are an interactive extension of who you are (Barrett, 2002).meaning that the blog should be a representation of the persons interest, thoughts and ideas with the constant assumption that there is a form of relationship that exists between the blogger and the audience.it is not just an informative platform but it’s a place where the blogger gets to interact with the audience and the audience interact with each other based on the fact that they share a common interest. This therefore makes it important to carefully discern one’s type of content that leads to the many blogs subgenres. Celebrity gossip blog therefore have come to term with this new media and have focused on only one particular content and that is majorly focusing on celebrity culture.
Most of gossip blogs are individually owned and more often than not, it resembles the authors personality. This is a very important element is gossip blogs since it a representation of the bloggers sardonic thoughts and commentaries plays a crucial role in the in drawing the audience to read that piece of work regarding celebrity’s culture. This just means the audience do not usually just want the latest news on their favorite celebrity, because they can get it anywhere else in the internet,( Baym, 2006) they want to enjoy how the blogger frames the story so as to be able to picture that celebrity through the blogger’s commentary.
For the case of multi authored blogs, gossip blogs tend to maintain this individual voice when it comes to framing the celebrity culture, but at the end of the day it is in line with the blog and not necessarily the individual blogger. A very good example is exhibited in popsugar.com blog. These blogs are seen to be written by to different authors and the name of the author who did that post is normally outlined and kept in the first-person voice at all times (Davies,2005). This therefore brings out a more individualized kind of blog that is in textual address. There are other blogs such as asocialitelife.com that usually lists their editors separately and give individual blogger credit on the different post they authored ( Baym, 2006). Even though there are multiple authors in these group blogs, they all maintain an individual opinion in each of their work but they still get to maintain a certain form of coherence in their celebrity gossip culture which is the main definitive feature.
New media has blurred the distinction that there is between the production and the consumption of texts, making a challenge for the world of celebrity culture that is structured and often controlled (Chayko,2002). This has made it relevant in the contemporary celebrity culture. Most of the celebrity watching audience tend to be active and want to participate in the making and remaking process of the celebrity through the constant consumption of the extra-textual and textual content.in the real-world gossip talk is seen to be an interpretive activity working to reshape a celebrity’s image mainly in the positive ways. Online form of gossiping blog is however, different in that it makes an emphasis on the audience participation and interaction in the most unprecedented ways. The large number of existing gossip blogs are not entirely limited to celebrity, (Chayko,2002) there are quite a number of unofficial fan sites that are mainly grounded on gossip talk through the technological capabilities making them be able to connect with each other through the celebrity’s image.
From revealing breaking news on well known actors as well as outing celebrity’s mental breakdown or pregnancies, gossip blogs are a major component in the celebrity culture. Perez Hilton is known as one of the most influential gossip bloggers and her posts attracts up to seven million hits on a daily basis. These gossip blogs are tasked with reporting the glamorous, scandalous, and normal daily activities carried out by celebrities at a fast pace that the conventional celebrity magazine is just struggling to level up. These bloggers usually have the power to undermine a celebrity image that had been well cultivated effortlessly over the years. Nowadays celebrities are not only seen as figures to offer inspiration to the society but they are seen as figures to be deconstructed through judgment (Fernback,2007). Gossip bloggers have become the producer and consumer of these celebrity gossip, offering guidance in which the audience can use in deriding the celebrity
Unlike celebrity gossip magazines, gossip blogs are not limited by thee journalistic standards and neither are then stories substantiated or the source verified the truth in the story. Most of these gossip bloggers prefer to keep their identity anonymous and mainly relies on members of the public to provide them with the content that they will just post without any form of attribution whatsoever. Some are however, some do not mind having to put their identity on their blog post, like Paris Hilton the self-proclaimed queen of new media.
Gossip blogs are seen to incorporate both visual and print elements from their print pioneers. They also engage in participation and interactive possibilities as a way of making the gossip blog to be a space that enables cultural production. The immediate and interactive nature of blogs bring producers and audiences together in a gossip-based community in previously unprecedented ways that necessarily shifts research on gossip reading and meaning making practices. Gossip bloggers and their audiences are still using celebrity images as a way of negotiating the social ideas that they have and identities through engaging in gossip talk (Elm,2009).
Confined in the historical form of gossip media offering its audiences supposedly unlimited access to all the authentic and private celebrity gossip blog. Most of the time these gossip blogs tend to challenge the consumption, production and circulation of these celebrity images in a widely contemporary culture. The technological aspects of gossip blogs especially in terms of participation and immediacy, they offer the best points of entry into this celebrity’s culture and thereby creating a foreground for most of the interests of their audience. Technological features, have made it possible for the social function of gossip blogs to be possible resulting in the buildup of a community based on the construction of a certain shared meaning that mainly takes center stage. As (Turner 2004), gossip about celebrities is “an important social process through which relationships, identity, and social and cultural norms are debated, evaluated, modified and shared,” thereby connecting gossipers in a really interpretive social community.
Most of the time gossip bloggers rely heavily on the availability of the internet to be able to create these blogs. They need to heavily surf the web for major content that can attract the audience attention, be able to comfortable use photoshop in conjunctions with other software programs to be able to manipulate the different images. These bloggers are also enjoying the benefit of being able to quickly and easily update their own sites (Bird, 2003). They are neither journalist nor do they work for any established outlet. Internet technology has also made it is capable thee fact that one can easily and quickly engage in the latest gossip put up on the blog without having to go to the newsstand after waiting for a whole week for the news to be officially published (Bird, 2003)
Female celebrities have now been accustomed to this type of policing by the bloggers and the audience have become used to it as part of the contemporary celebrity culture. The gossip blogs with its technological features has made it an important need in the production, consumption and circulation, of these celebrity images. This form of digital technology has made it possible for celebrity to be copied, replayed, circulated and downloaded at most parts. This new media technology is important because it has enabled the audience to see the real individual without having to hide behind the stardom mask through a series of regular surveillance of the celebrity in their unguarded form, making them be in there most natural environment portraying the real them.
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