Weblog Credibility at G.O.R. Conference

This is my summary post on the G.O.R. conference, which took place in the beautiful town of Duisburg. I proudly proclaimed to a local taxi driver, “this is my first visit to Duisburg, “you haven’t missed much pal,” was his response.

At the final presentation, most inspiring, because of my own research relevance, Odag and Schreier from the  International University Bremen conducted a study on the credibility of media reports during the Iraqi War 2003.

It was a receptive study of media diaries and weblogs. In the diaries, users recorded credibility of their media readings. The weblog analysis has yet to be finalized in their evaluation.

Studies conclusion: Weblogs are viewed as less credible than Big Media. Media diaries were more ambivalent. Media knowledge is important in determining credibility of source. Bloggers comment more frequently on perceived censorship in the media.

With regard to the weblog credibility issue, it’s still a new website format and users with little experience will quickly jump to conclusions on whether they are credible or not. And credibility takes time. Major news organizations had to establish their credibility over time. CNN broke the ice during the Gulf War. Not to mention, high quality weblogs are in the minority, then again it may depend on your information need.

Conference conclusion: I think this conference is here to stay. The university setting reflects the academic content. I think the bi-lingual format is key to further internationalization. Probably the best price/performance conference I have been at: €53,40 incl. workshop, 4 meals, free coffee, and cake.

One aspect needs improvement: some moderators could have engaged the audience in more discussion. Maybe that’s the format of the conference, but a little more bite could have spiced things up.

Overall, from the studies I saw, none seemed to have an inspirational vision for the future – the discourse was limited. Could be a general lack in German culture for progressive visions that challenge the status quo.

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