Good Intentions, But Needs a Spark

We all have family, people that we can rely on and love. Even if we do not have an actually blood family, we are parts of communities. As we grow, these communities become our family. And what wouldn’t we do to save our families in their time of need? Everyone has their own unique way of helping their families. It depends on your recourses and talents. Some have muscle to fight, some have money to spend, and some have brains to educate! However, many of the people coming from struggling counties are often not healthy, not wealthy, and not educated. The few that are, use it well, like Cleophas Chesoli. Cleophas is a blogger from Kenya. In his blog he explores and presents the issues of struggling countries in Africa. His blog also reaches out to the audience and provides them with ideas on what they can do in order to do their part. This blog is full of good intentions and does a great job to provide facts and information for the audience; however, the way it is presented makes this blog absolutely horrid and more of an academic journal!

Looking at this man you would think this is an educated and credible man. Just looking at him, you would most likely believe him when he speaks about his country and their struggles. Having his photograph is the only positive aspect of this blog, other than the intentions of the blog, and by adding this he evokes immediate ethos within his blog. Before even starting to read the blog, the audience sees that the author is an educated man that is culturally connected to the countries that he refers to in his blogs. This automatically, accredits him to the audience making them believe that he knows exactly what he is talking about because he has had first-hand experience on this subject. Authors often fear providing their picture within their blogs, this basically makes them hidden and not connected to their audience. By putting themselves out there, the authors become an un-hidden member of the network of blogging. Some provide an “avatar” rather then their true identity, which makes gives them a façade that doesn’t show who they really are. Anyone can make an avatar to whatever he or she want to appear like.  However, this makes the blog more like one of those gaming networks that provide a virtual reality where people can be whoever they want to be. This authentic image however, makes this virtual blogging world more connected to the people of true reality thus making it more believable! Just think about it, which of the two pictures below would make a blog more credible?

   

Now that I have discussed the one good aspect presented in this blog it is time to discuss the aspects that take away from its credibility and rhetoric. There is much lacking from this blog that can make it more rhetorically appealing to its audience; which is the reason this blog did not extend out to reach a larger audience. Even though, the content within the blog is worth of being part of a larger network of readers because it includes many great ideas on ways we can improve the lives of those living in these struggling countries. Now, if only the author makes this blog more appealing in the ways other successful bloggers do.

The first important component lacking from this blog is the use of multi-modality. Multi-modality within a blog include images, videos, hyperlinks, charts and graphs that give a further understanding to the audience of the matters at hand. In this blog however, the author does not seem to think this an important part of a successful blog. The content of this blog may be important; but unfortunately, it is presented as a journal rather than a blog. Making it less appealing to those of a younger age whom really are the future and should be the main audience of a blogger who is attempting to reach out to people to make a difference. This youth that he should be reaching out to is not attracted to pieces of writing with just long monotonous exerts, but would like to see imagery that will serve as appealing and evidential.  Adding these images or videos also evoke the rhetorical device of pathos. Authors often evoke sympathy from the readers simply by telling a sob story, or explaining the conditions of the characters that they are discussing. However, it will never have the same affect as a visual before the reader’s eye to evoke sympathy. Just think about it, what would bring forth more pity from the reader when seeing it within a blog: “After Kenya’s disputed post-election results, about 1, 000 people were killed and more than 300,000 others were displaced in the violence that ensued” or the picture below?

Charts are also part of multimodality that is extremely important within one’s blog. However, this author does not seem to think so. He just states facts with numbers such as the amount of people dying each day. However, that would have a much greater affect if only this was supported by a trusted graph that people can trust. That would add both credibility and visuals to help the reader better understand the facts being presented. This would also strengthen the rhetorical device of logos within the blog; it would give it concrete examples and show trends over a long period of time rather than just numbers. Thus, if this author was to use charts and graphs within this blog, he would have added to its effectiveness by giving a visual rather than a bunch of numbers that the readers probably won’t remember.

Another thing that could have made this blog a stronger and more credible one is having it within a network or community. In his book, Blogging America, Aaron Barlow stresses the importance of being involved within a community. An online community where we are all electronically connected, being part of a network both provides you with an audience and credibility. This unfortunately, is something Cleophas never discovered. As you read through his posts, you will not find one single link or reference to another blog. If he had done so, he might have had a larger audience with would have extended his ideas out to others who are interested and look at communities about struggling countries. This would have required him going out and searching for blogs that relate to his, and if he did, he might have learned how to making his blog more rhetorically appealing. By doing so, he might have been post more than four blogs.

Which leads to the next important part missing, about the amount of posting. Barlow also states in his book the idea that under blogging is always worse than over blogging. Which basically means it is better to have a blogger that does not stop posting, than one that rarely posts. Although many might find this overwhelming amount of posts to be overwhelming, most will find it useful in receiving information. On the other hand, when one barley posts blogs he becomes like an endangered species at the risk of being extinct. Eventually losing all his audience and all his credibility. Which was the case for Cleophas. This truly is a shame because if you closely read within his blogs you see the importance of us helping out these countries and how the smallest things we can do would go a long way. Sadly, as you see in the screenshot, his blog died only after four blog posts.

As seen, Cleophas’ blog was a great one with great intentions, but lacked the important components to make it a successful one. He did succeed at developing ethos through his authentic photograph and background information; however, failed to evoke strong pathos and logs. If only he would have read Barlow’s book, he would of known the importance of including multimodality, being connected to a network, and always posting up-to-date new blogs. Maybe if he would have done so, he would have had a more successful blog that would have extended out to thousands of others seeking ways to improve the lives of those less fortunate. He does have an effect on his audience, an effect that could have been stronger if only carried out in a better manner. Moreover, he could have had more than only 9 comments through out his whole blogging career!

Barlow, Aaron. Blogging America: the New Public Sphere. Westpart, Ct: praeger, 2008. Print.

Chesoli, Cleophas. Preventing HIV and Ensuring ARV Continuity. Eldis Communities. Web. 30 June. 2008.                                                <http://community.eldis.org/Cleophas/.59b807fb/.59b8084c>


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