Posts Tagged ‘writing online’

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Technology, Genre, and the Alleged Death of Blogging

posted: 5.24.11 by Traci Gardner

I am a Blogger.I am a blogger. I’ve made myself an official badge. I publish on several sites, writing a minimum of four original blog posts and scores of microblog updates each week. When someone argues that blogs are dead, I take it personally.

Last weekend, some of my colleagues discussed the death of blogging in a roundtable at the 2011 Computers and Writing conference. Though I could not attend the conference, some of the presenters posted materials online before the convention. I first read Bradley Dilger’s Blogging isn’t dead, but blog commenting is, which links to the posts by other participants. His post brought to mind a piece I wrote last fall, 6 Reasons Blogrolls Are Dying.

I agree with Bradley’s exploration of why fewer people comment. It can be easier to comment on Facebook than it is to comment on a blog. In the case of Bradley’s piece, I saw his post on Facebook before it popped up in Google Reader, so I commented first on Facebook, and then later on his blog. Cross-posting, as Bradley did with his post, reaches more people, but it dilutes the opportunities for discussion. Part of the discussion takes place on Facebook, while some is left as comments on the blog; participants may talk about the post on Twitter, and still more may discuss the post in e-mail messages on discussion lists. I’m with Bradley. Blog comments are dying out. [read more]

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Categories: Professional Conferences
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Blogs vs. Social Networks: How Identity is Shaped

posted: 8.7.09 by Nick Carbone

So much of writing is about the author shaping how he or she is to be perceived; it’s about ethos, persona, and voice.

What’s fascinating in this early Internet age are the increasing number of places and ways writers can write. All the print forms persist — articles, papers, books, profiles, newsletters, and more. And added to these are new ways of being via writing: blogs, social networks, Twitter, wikis, discussion boards, and e-mail. All these forms require words to be written, but where and how those words are read change how writers create a person and how readers perceive the ethos of the writer.

In a Gawker post called “Was Blogging Just a Fad?,” Scott Rosenberg describes a key distinction between blogs and social networks:

A blog lets you define yourself, whereas on a social network you are more likely to be defined by others. Sure, blog readers can write comments — but the blogger can delete the comments, or disemvowel them, or turn them off entirely. Sure, a blog is dependent on the links you point outward and those that others point in; but it has its own independent existence in a way that no amount of messaging and chat and interaction on a social networking site can match. A blog is not necessarily better than a Facebook profile, nor is it worse; it is, simply, different.

All writing is part of a social network, of course. But Facebook and other online social networks accelerate the social. Researchers have found, for example, that what you say in your profile is not taken at face value by members of the network; how you are viewed is determined by the accumulation of your activities in the network. The wall posts you make, the status updates you write, the comments you make on the walls/updates of others; the images you share, and so on. Hundreds of discrete, relatively micro writing acts accumulate to create a pointillistic composition of your identity.

Whereas a blog, as relatively longer form done in a technological environment that the blogger can control more fully, is more about the writer as he or she attempts to define themselves in broader, often richer, strokes.

What’s really interesting to see are writers who work across several e- and print media delivery methods. Do you know them more or less depending upon which technology you read them in?

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Categories: Teaching with Technology
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Create What You Want To!

posted: 6.18.09 by Traci Gardner

Dozens and dozens of ideas float through my head every day. My thoughts are cluttered with them, but they go nowhere. I don’t post them on Twitter. I don’t write them down in my journal. I don’t even scribble them on a Post-It note so I can return to them later. I get so focused on trying to think of perfect ideas that I never write anything down.

I’ve been rethinking that process recently, thanks to photographer friend, Steve Mermelstein (@usrbingeek). Steve recommended Escaping Your Portfolio, from Chase Jarvis. In the entry, Jarvis explains that a photographer’s portfolio of work is typically thought of as a collection of outstanding shots. The problem with that way of thinking, he says, is that the “metaphysical weight alone of the word portfolio can crush the creative spirit rather than enhance it.”

As a writer, I quickly saw that Jarvis was describing the photographic equivalent of my problem. His solution is simple and liberating: “ditch the concept in your mind and wander aimlessly creating things that you want to create.”

Like Jarvis, I’ve been buying the belief that everything I post online has to be a perfect example of my work. Since anyone can read what I write online, everything I post has to be perfect. Why didn’t it ever occur to me to just label some of my writing as drafts or unpolished ideas?

I’m aiming to write more and think less for a while. Rough drafts of all those things I think about have to be better than no drafts at all, right? Don’t wait for the perfect words, the perfect shots, the perfect sounds! Just create your texts. The best ones can always be shifted into a polished collection later.

Beyond teaching me a lesson for my own writing, Jarvis’s blog entry is one that I want to share with students, especially students working on audio and visual compositions. Jarvis has the authority of a working professional who has published some great pictures. Students should easily see the connection to their own work.

After discussing the entry with the class, I’d challenge students to post at least 5–10 new things every day. Their posts might consist of words, photos, videos, or audio files. The important thing is that they don’t need to be perfect or polished. After a week or two, have students review the collections and choose some favorites. As they share their choices with you, ask them to reflect on the process of creating whatever they wanted to and how it might affect other projects that they work on.

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Categories: Assignment Idea, Drafting, Planning, Revising, Writing Process
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Are Traditional Writing Skills Viable Online?

posted: 5.10.09 by archived

At CMS Wire, Gerry McGovern asserts that traditional writing skills do not work on the web. Whether or not you agree, check out his argument. And if you are teaching composition in a computerized environment, this could provide some great material for discussion.

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Categories: Adjunct Advice, Gregory Zobel, Teaching with Technology, Writing Process
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