I’m speaking at Stockton today about weblogs, the real talk that the audio conference a few weeks ago was leading up to. Here are the links I’ll be using.
Weblogs can be personal journals, learning journals, they’re searchable, etc – but most importantly: they’re networked. They cluster through links. Hundreds of different tools are developed for sorting the weblogs: Technorati, Blogdex, etc.
Weblogs as a tool for thinking and writing
Steven Johnson described blogging as a mental workout:
It’s public. Networked. You know people will read it. You get comments (review of Marie-Laure Ryan’s book on Grandtextauto where the author commented back; my post about SMSes in the States that raised lots of points I’d not have thought of myself)
Writing in the network
I’ll tell the story of Joel, who blogged a date, his date, who googled him, her friend the journalist, who wrote an article about it, how it hit the top of
Blogdex’s list, the bloggers at Metafilter who researched the background, Todd the journalist’s response.
–> power, traditional broadcast/print media vs distributed, networked media. Sim. Henry Jenkins.
Students – receiving comments from the people you write about (Line and the diarist). Distance collapses – or at least changes.
What blogs are like
Just about everyone at Stockton seems to have a readymade weblog. Have they seen how you start one if no one’s already made one for you? For instance, you go to Blogger.com, sign up, pick a template, click post and publish and bang, you’re on the web.
Weblogs are related to web diaries or web journals. There’s a continuum from very personal, confessional diary sites to topic-driven blogs where personal opinions and activities are never mentioned. Typically web journals have few links, while weblogs link a lot, but the genres overlap. Here’s a random Livejournal site; Umamitsunami, which is mostly personal (and has some great writing at times), but also includes links, and . Livejournal an example of a popular journal community. E.g. 37000 journals in New Jersey alone. Both web journals and weblogs have dated entries, reverse chronological order, often blogrolls, themes, status icons (current emotion, music being listened to, books being read)
Some blogs break with the standard list of half a dozen entries. Diveintomark is a mostly technical blog with some personal things. First post in full, rest just excerpted list. Surftrail has each entry on a separate page and uses different layout for different kinds of post: Vivaldi Weather; Hypertext Rhetoric; Typography.
Weblogs are probably the first truly native genre to have developed on the web. It takes writing in the medium to really understand it – realising that what you write is actually becoming part of the network.
(Previous talks on blogs and learning: for media teachers in Oslo, and at UiB. In Norwegian.)