Why Blog?

So, the truth is, I’ve kept this blog thing fairly quiet since I started, and I’m not sure why. I thought “oh well let me check out the technology, make sure I got it right,” but as you can see this is incredibly low tech so far. I type. I hit save. Done. So that’s not it. I also thought that maybe I wanted to get my blogging legs running before I spread the wealth. But that doesn’t quite do it either. How hard is it? I mean my last post was a paragraph about thinking about an upcoming visit with my friends. Come on, how tough is that? I’m a writer. It’s what I do. It doesn’t make sense for me to say I need to figure out how to write in this medium before I really let people know.

What I realize is that I’ve been trying to figure out why I want to write in this medium. Confession of the day: it was not that long ago that I looked down on blogging. I thought, “Oh great, just what the world needs, another blog…” But lately I’ve been reading quite a few blogs and I guess I’m starting to get it. The problem is that I was thinking large scale when I thought about the impact of the blog. No, maybe the world doesn’t need another blog (on the other hand, what does the world care?), but communities do. As I write, I find that I’m also reading differently. I am accustomed to reading articles which certainly offer important ideas and techniques for my teaching and other pursuits, but the blog offers people thinking through their content. It’s not necessarily polished (what one might call a rough draft? I do see this as a valuable space in which I might generate and play around with ideas that will develop as I go) but it’s in process. It’s thinking in the moment, it’s sometimes a testing out of ideas which seems incredibly valuable for writer and reader. So the blog seems not just some forum for expression (a term I generally despise in relation to writing) but, because this seems more in context of other blogs, I find I’m thinking more, often about things I wouldn’t necessarily think about (and sometimes things I think about all the time, like what good beer to hunt for next). And as I write I start to have particular people and conversations in mind. In other words, all the things that writing is supposed to do and–here’s the catch for me–all those things that I talk to my writing students about. I know all you new media, network bloggers and teachers already get this. OK, so I’m slow. But yes this has been an ah-ha kind of realization for me. I’m seeing not only the intersection of network and community the blog offers–both as practical and metaphorical–but I’m also seeing the potential pedagogical uses of the blog. I remember my first undergraduate writing class. I was asked to do such mundane things as write a “definition” paper or the classic “comparison” paper but nobody ever told me why. Who cares if I can define something? Why am I doing it? Ever since, I have worked very hard not to fall into that old trap. But I haven’t come up with a truly engaging pedagogy that lets students engage in the actual act of writing–as in an act of communication with other writers, readers, thinkers, people. I see the blog as a potential medium for such engagement and, so, I have gone fairly quickly from a blogging skeptic to someone who will use this as a tool in my next composition class (which starts soon so I have to really be on my toes here).

So, step two: time to try to give myself a bit more of a blog presence.

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2 Responses to “Why Blog?”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Welcome to the world of blogging!

  2. GJF Says:

    Thanks Jeff.
    By the way, I tried the Green Flash last night. Wow! Fantastic beer.

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