When I told you, dear readers, that I would be blogging (blahg-ing) more often, I hope you were prepared.
In CO-301d, the class I have been (and will be) blahg-ing for, one of the things we are discussing is literacy. In particular, as it is an education class, we are looking at what literacy means in the face of new technology (like the internet) that makes things like blogs, text messages, and web-pages accessible to the masses. The argument is that the internet is here to stay, and that means those of us living and growing up in the 21st Century need to be able to navigate this World Wide Web.
If that argument holds true, it would be beneficial if our teachers (myself and my peers soon to be included) were also web-literate. So today’s post is an exercise in this new literacy. I will be taking a look at several different blogs and answering questions about what makes blahgs blahgs, what makes a blog effective, and the purpose of this blog. Let’s get started, shall we?
The first blog I want to look at is called The Radavist. Those of you who know me may know that I like bikes. Okay, I LOVE bikes. And The Radavist does too.
This blog is very clearly written to adults who just can’t help but be children. It’s in the name: Radavism, according to The Radavist, is rad-atavism. It is the primal urge in all creatures to play, or in this case, to get RAD! Because of this, the contributors keep the tone very casual. Swear words are not uncommon. Slang is frequent. Posts are usually more photo-centric than text-centric. The Radavist is not meant to cause readers to be uncomfortable, challenged in their thinking, or pushed in the way that they live their lives. Rather, it seeks only to enrich people’s lives by providing a terse exploration of what’s new and hip in the cycling world.
In a similar life-enriching vein, but with much more focus on pushing readers, redefining their purpose, and encouraging reader’s to “live the strenuous life,“is The Art of Manliness. Here, the tone is much more formal (though not even close to “academic”) and the posts are verb or text-centric. This blog shows much more attention to detail, and uses sources that would be considered credible outside of the intended audience. However, the writers and contributors still aren’t afraid to have some fun here and there, and will throw in fun posts like “How to Turn 12 Everyday Items Into Improvised Weapons.”
Finally, we get to a blog of a very common flavor: the personal blog. In contrast to the blogs above, the authors and contributors on personal blogs are usually unpaid, their ethos as a writer comes from their “about” page where usually provide a short “bio” of who they are, and why you, the reader, should care about what they have to say. Take, for example, huffenglish.com, a blog written by an English teacher for English teachers. Dana, the author, uses the space to reflect on her experiences in the world of education, and to share those experiences and reflections with others. The language of the blog is informal, the implication being that Dana sees her readers more as peers than students, and the style is very personal, writing to an audience that is almost certainly more interested in Dana’s experiences than audiences of The Radavist would be with John Prolly’s (one of the major contributors at The Radavist) personal life.
While each of these blogs certainly has a style all its own, the format of a blog is fairly consistent. It is, quite literally, a “web-log” that has constantly updating content (okay, in my case it certainly has been far from constant, but you know what I mean). Formatting usually has links to common categories of posts somewhere near the top (usually categorized by “tags”), there’s usually some sort of information page where readers can learn about what kind of content they can expect, who the contributors are, etc., and most blogs are multi-modal. Being an online resource, blogs are able to compile information in a way that engages their audience beyond the text. They might include images or links (both of which I’ve done here), music, video-posts, or any number of other media that allows their audience to really experience the text.
That being said, there are an infinite possibility for kinds of blogs and therefore audiences. There will be innumerable reasons why a blog contributor will sit down and write, and probably even more reasons why their audience will sit down and read!
So, that begs the question for me: What kind of content do I want to post, who will my audience be, and ultimately, how much do I care?
The purpose of this blog at the beginning was two-fold. First, it was an effort for me to put some words into the world, the hope being that maybe one day they might get noticed. Second, and similarly, this blog served as a place to share my photography (like the picture above) and maybe get noticed.
I guess those goals are still there.
However, in the four years (HOLY COW!!! FOUR YEARS?!) that I have had this blog, I have changed, and this little corner of the internet had to change with me. Sure, it would still be pretty cool to be “noticed,” but it’s become more important for me to write for the sake of writing. My photography will continue to be a mainstay, but that also means I’ll have to be photographing and developing film, which I just haven’t had time to do for the past few years.
But the biggest change, is reflective of my purpose here. Currently, I’m writing for a class. More importantly, that class is (hopefully) preparing me to be a teacher. Had you told me that would be the course I would take four years ago, I probably would have laughed. The idea of being a teacher just didn’t sound good to me. Now, I’m almost certain that this is what I’ve been preparing for since I was very young. That reality will likely be an unavoidable part of the content on here for the foreseeable future.
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Note: The following content is reflective in nature. If you’re bored already, stop now. Go read some fun stuff on the blogs listed above 😉
While I was looking for blogs to compare for this post, I stumbled upon this article. “How apropos,” I thought, “tips for blogging while I’m blogging about blogging!” On further inspection though, I learned just how variable blogs, their contributors, and their audiences can be. In Bill’s post, he lists a few tips to help novice bloggers out. Among his suggestions he says, “Quit calling it blogging. Start calling it reflection.” Apparently, this attitude has worked for him, for his audience and his blog’s purpose. But, can you imagine if writers for The Radavist just sat down and reflected on their writing? Nothing would get done and the blog would not fulfill its purpose.
Here at charlieich.wordpress.com I guess I’ll be doing some reflecting over the next few months. So that will be part of this blog’s purpose. I imagine it will serve me well by helping me to summarize my thoughts, and to think deeply about what it means and looks like for me to be a teacher.
But I hope that it will also be a space with content that engages the reader.
I want my pictures to inspire people to travel, I want my writing, whether fiction or non-fiction (and introspective), to inspire people to think, and I want people to leave this blog feeling like they didn’t waste their time.
That’s my manifesto.
With that, G-d bless ya if you’ve made it this far. I’m sure you’ll hear more from me tomorrow. As always, I’m always interested to hear your thoughts: what do you like on here, what don’t you like, what suggestions do you have, what questions, thoughts, or ramblings came up while you were reading? Let me know in the comments section.