Ever thought of writing reviews of weblogs as a class assignment? Scott Rettberg‘s New Media Studies class (which I visited a week or two ago, lovely bunch of students) have written a collection of reviews of weblogs as their final class project, all neatly put together and published with screenshots and room for reader comments. The selection is neatly categorised, so you can read about “Classic Bloggers”, “Digital Culture Blogs” like Steven Johnson, Laurence Lessig, Mamamusings, Frank Schaap and Jason Rhody‘s, or you can browse the students’ reviews of writer’s blogs, persona blogs, group blogs, political blogs and so on.
I only know of one other project where people have tried to collect reviews of blogs: the Peer-to-Peer Review Project, which ran last year, coordinating bloggers reviewing each other’s weblogs.
Rob Wittig’s review of Justin Hall’s links.net is the best review I’ve ever read of a weblog. It was published in American Book Review, in a special issue on new media edited by, yes, again, Scott Rettberg, as well as electronically in EBR. Rob’s review is of course wonderfully written but it also demonstrates the reason why a good weblog review is hard to find: Rob has been following links.net since the mid-90s. He has experienced the weblog in time, the way it’s meant to be experienced, as a serial, persistent, constantly changing site you read now and then, sometimes daily, sometimes almost forgetting it completely. Someone who has a week or two to read and review a weblog is going to struggle to approach this deep reading. I suppose you could say, then, that Rob’s review goes beyond reviewing.
However that may be, my web design and web aesthetics students will be reviewing weblogs next semester.