Friday, October 19, 2007

Group G: alessia f. (e-tivity two)

“Desperate Housewives” is one of the most enjoyable and brilliant US shows I regularly follow, so that’s the reason why I chose to analyse this blog. First of all, I definitely like knowing all the news relating to the serial, and here I can find succulent news and spoilers about the 4th season, new to the Italian audience. Then, I love the photos published, which show Teri Hatcher and Eva Longoria (two of the most fascinating actresses of the soap), the former in the throes of taking off her shirt in a park, and the latter in a commercial. There’s also some gossip about one male character; moreover, I could watch the videos of the new episodes: just fantastic! In short, this blog helps the reader get to know his/her favourite stars, and I’d recommend it to anyone who loves the show.

After each post there are some tags (clickable words) referring to some relevant topics just mentioned in the post itself: I found them useful, especially if you wish to further investigate a particular subject you are interested in.

The language is informal, sometimes very colloquial and idiomatic. The personal pronoun I is written i, the form she’s is replaced with the simpler shes, going to becomes gonna, etc. Punctuation is neglected and sometimes reading becomes awkward and difficult to understand (e.g. “[…] unknown wrote an interesting post today on Here’s a quick excerpt Shouldn’t there be some law that prevents Marc Cherry from telling Eva Longoria she can’t get pregnant?”). There’s a frequent use of acronyms, e.g. OMG, standing for oh my God, STD, meaning sexually transmitted diseases (referring to a character in the show), IDK, that is I don’t know, etc. One person in a post wrote the symbol $ rather than money: the tendency to lighten and simplify the writing is clear throughout the whole blog. While the blog’s owner tries to integrate the link into the text, using a clickable word, the bloggers don’t use this device: they write the link at the end of the post, putting down the url.

The 2nd blog I decided to take into account is far more thoughtful: it deals with father’s rights, child support and custody. The blog publicizes a new book, “Taken into custody”, exposing the injustices of American Family Courts. It’s interesting to focus on this matter: it’s not very popular here to talk about that and it seems as if it were a taboo.

The first thing which struck me was that the links are integrated into the text and have the aspect of one or more clickable words (sometimes a whole sentence), so the reader immediately knows what topic is hidden behind the link. Sometimes, the clickable words are in a different colour (red or blue) and bigger than the rest of the text in order to catch the reader’s attention. What is important to remark is that language choices change as opposed to the previous blog: here they’re much more specific (the semantic field is different and relates to child rights, custody and support) and the language is formal; some posts have a journalistic approach (the documents answer the questions who?, what?, where?, when? and how?) because they report what has happened. The bloggers’ posts respect grammar rules and punctuation: in this sentence I even noticed a semicolon, rather odd in a blog! (e.g. “[…] The Author has the rare talent of being able to see the problem for what it truly is; being able to describe it pointblank, pulling no punches, and telling it exactly the way it is.”) As opposed to the other blog, here the bloggers use inverted commas to cite reference books.

The two blogs I analysed are totally different in style and approach: the first one is about TV, a frivolous matter which shows a careless style, and a very informal and colloquial language; the second one is a reference guide to all the people who want to know more about child custody and support: the language tends to be formal and the bloggers suit their way of writing according to the blog in which they write. There’s a sort of “hidden convention” which links all the participants in a blog.

Have good surfing!



Eleonora said...

Hi Alessia! It was nice to read your long and detailed post…. :-)
I think that the blogs you chose are very original; they caught my attention at once since they are both about topics I am not familiar with.
I took a look at the first one and I agree with you when you say that it is written in a colloquial style…and this is something I like very much…this second e-tivity made me understand that I definitely prefer reading informal blogs than formal ones :-) The blog you recommended looks really cool, but unfortunately I cannot give you my opinion about the content as I have never seen this TV-series :-(
Your second blog is about a much more serious matter…of course I had already heard something about it but your suggestion gave me the opportunity to learn more. This blog is far more formal than the previous one and often it is not easy to follow the logical thread since the language is very specific (lots of terms used in court). What I liked the most is the way in which the quotation “Some are more equal than other” taken from Orwell’s Animal Farm was adapted to the context.

Thanks for your contribution!

elena s said...

Hi Alessia,
how are you?
Your post is quite long... maybe I'm tired and it seems a hard challenge for me...
Done! I read it. I have never seen DH, but 2 of my flatemates love it; They downloaded the episodes of the soap because they didn't want to wait and I often heard them speaking about "La Longoria" or the red-haired actress, (they call her "la rossa").I listened to them gossiping but I didn't know anytihing about the matter and they chatted again and again and told me the curiosities and their impressions. I had a lot of fun listening to them! I visited the blog but I just read something and looked at the photos because I don't follow this soap and the stories of its acctresses.
The other blog deals with a totally different topic. I heard about this; near the town where I live there is a group of men that are facing this problem and try to fight for their rights as fathers.
While the language of DH is informal and easy-going, in reading the second blog I sometimes had to stop and reflect upon the construction of the sentences, the specific legal terms that are used and the meaning of some words.I read some articles about the decisions of the different courts in judging the cases... I'm not very informed on the topic but some stories seem unbelievable!!

Thanks for your choice,


Selena said...

Hi Alessia!

I’ve really appreciated your work because you accurately analysed the blogs you chose.

I’ve just heard about DH, but I’ve never watched it. Nevertheless, I know that, when you are passionately fond of a serial, you are very curious about what might happen in the following episodes, and you would like also to know anything not only about the characters but also about the actresses and, above all, the actors! I believe this blog is something really exciting for those who love DH and, since this serial seems to be very famous and therefore have a lot of fans, I’m sure the number of its contributors will rapidly and continuously increase! I think people interested in DH are amused and relaxed taking part in the community.

The second blog you chose is something completely different from the first for content as well as for style. I find it interesting because it is particularly thoughtful, but I think it isn’t very easy to read and understand as it uses many specialized words. Looking at this blog I’ve been aware of the power informal language on blogs has to catch the reader’s attention, as it absorbs the reader like in a conversation. Instead, in this blog the reader collects much information, but she/he remains a little bit detached.

Thanks for your suggestions!

See you soon,

Elisa Snaidero said...

Hi Alessia,

I'm not a big fan like you are, but I used to watch "Desperate Housewives" as well. I don't know if you agree with me but I think Teri Hatcher is a great actress! Thanks for giving us an elucidation of all those acronyms, which I believe are quite difficult to understand, especially for foreign readers. Despite that I like the way information is presented in this blog because as english students we don't have so often the possibility to get in contact with "everyday language".

This is pointedly not the case with the second blog you have choosen. As the other members of our group pointed out, the language there is much more complicated. The blog deals with a very delicate issue and there's no room for ambiguity.

You showed us how various the style can be, thanks!

See you in class,