How Does Blog.no Want You to Look? A Social Semiotic Technology Analysis of the Multimodal Styles of a Blog Platform

Gunhild Kvåle, Agder University, Norway

Most ubiquitous software comes with collections of templates which offer users prefabricated multimodal designs. Neither software nor templates are neutral constructs, as the technology is imbued with social values, including templatized styles. Based on perspectives from social semiotic technology studies, this paper investigates the available styles in the design templates of a blog platform called blog.no, which is the most used blog software in Norway, in particular amongst teenagers. The analysis shows that this blog tool offers six main styles: The nostalgic-feminine, the sporty, the season celebrator, the straight, the pink, and the cosmopolitan style. Based on the style analysis, I discuss what social values that underpins blog.no as semiotic technology. By doing so, the paper aims at showing and critiquing an important part of the socio-technological basis for blogging, and thereby contributing to increased reflexivity on the role of software and templates in contemporary communication.

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