As we search and sift while reading online we’re confronted by an endless torrent of text, hypertext, and multimodal content. As technology progresses, this information source ebbs and flows, but for the most part we’re witnessing the evolution of what will become a steady stream of content that we use to read, write, and communicate. One type of this source of information is the weblog, or as we’ve come to know and love it…the “Blog”.
Blog is a shortened form of “weblog” and it is usually a discussion or informational website that consists of discrete, diary style text entries called “posts.” Blogs are online (usually) multimodal journals that are (somewhat) regularly updated. People have a multitude of reasons for blogging. This post from Rebecca Blood shares an early history of weblogs, while this post shares information about the integration of video into blogging.
Why I blog
In my profession in academia, I need to document and archive my work over time. My success or failure in academia is valued based on a system of research, teaching, and service. Research is boiled down to one thing, publications. Publication in this sense is further distilled into publication (usually) of research in traditional, peer reviewed, “top tier” journals. Given the current state of publishing, the end result is a slow review and publishing process delaying our work from reaching an audience. I also have a problem with paywalls effectively locking up my work so no one sees it. I’ve documented much of my thinking about these challenges in this piece in Hybrid Pedagogy.
The key takeaway is that I’m often asked by colleagues WHY do I blog (or at least try to). It does not factor into how I’m reviewed in my profession. In fact, many peers see this as a negative, or “mindless” activity of venting online.
My purpose for blogging is to document my thinking and research over time. Blogging for me usually is a reflective process that allows me to think through problems or questions I have in my work or research. Many of these blog posts build on one another, and often grow into other publications…even those traditional ones that I’m expected to produce.
I also use my blog as a space for sharing teaching and learning materials for classes or keynotes. Just like many educators, I produce copious amounts of powerpoints, worksheets, tutorials, lectures, and activities. Many years ago I decided to start sharing this work openly online. My website provided me with an opportunity to link all of these materials together in one online hub. Because I’m sharing these materials openly online, they serve as an open educational resource for others that may want to use them in their practice. I also open my work up to review and critique by others. For me…that’s a good thing. 🙂
It also is an opportunity to create and curate an online brand for me…which is important in my field of work. My research focuses on the literacy habits and practices of individuals in open, online, and hybrid spaces. As such, I need to actually build and break things online so I can figure out what the possibilities of these digital texts and tools in practices.
Through the use of my blog (this website) and the links that I share on social networks (Google+, Facebook, Twitter), I’m actively creating and curating my digital identity as a digital educator and researcher.
I am a blogger
This digital space is a domain of my own that has documented a history of my thoughts and growth over time. I believe it is important to maintain one hub, or one home online that you active maintain. Blogging allows me to write myself into being.
Blogging allows me to reflect on these questions, and get them all out in one place. It is an archive of my thinking on a particular topic and allows me to revisit it later. I have people read, comment, and share…but the act of writing allows me to get my thoughts out. It doesn’t matter if it’s in print or pixel. As a reflective tool, it serves its purpose as an open, online journal in the deluge of online informational text.
Also published on Medium.