Multimodal analysis of Food Blogs

Authors: Myrrh Domingo, Gunther Kress


Food blogs and their widespread use across different social and cultural contexts offer two kinds of information: most obviously, potentially useful for policy making in public health and, less obviously, about the principles of communication of specific groups in this medium. Yet no established frameworks for analysis have been developed for understanding how bloggers and their meanings shape and are shaped by the digital ephemeral characteristics of this combination of medium, genre and topic. In this post, we introduce a collaborative study focused on the two aspects: stories about parenting in food blogs, and forms of composition. The project aims are methodological: multimodal and narrative approaches for harnessing the content of blogs and analysing data in these digital environments. For the purposes of the work done in MODE, we are focusing on the multimodal analysis of the food blogs.

Methodological Considerations

Currently, within the MODE team, we are engaged in producing a corpus of blogs to provide data for the two aims:  to establish criteria for data collection, analysis and storage, and to determine design principles evident in the data. Given our particular interests, the following methodological considerations are currently central to that process:

  • What kinds of multimodal features do we want to capture in our sample?
  • How do we sample and represent blogs across space and time?
  • How might blogs be archived to account for their multimodal features?

Among the immediate and obvious answers to these is the use of screen shots to capture various blog entries. However, this approach poses a possible concern for our project, as one further thought at this stage is to display the ‘flow’ of information across a variety of digital platforms. Further, that approach might distort ‘reading path potentials’ and impose set, linear patterns for engaging with the materials.

In our next stage of research, we will be looking to establish a multimodal framework for collecting and archiving digital data in blogs that includes and moves beyond screen capture of blogs posts.


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