An Experiment in Blogging

Archinect–Making Architecture More Connected–(Ah, now there’s a novel idea) has launched an ambitious project in cross-architecture-schools blogging with their school blog project. Their description:

The Archinect School Blog Project – We have recruited representatives from a collection of architecture programs around the world to maintain blogs documenting their experiences and discoveries from each institution during the fall 2004 semester. The goal of this unprecedented endeavor is to provide a voyeuristic view into the environments of some of the most intriguing academic institutions for architecture.

It looks as though they have 34 schools from North America, Europe and the Middle East participating–I will read along with interest especially to see if the students read one another’s blogs and comment or trackback, truly creating connections or if it will remain up to the viewer of the Archinect home site to read across the blogs. The voyeuristic relationship of reader to writer makes me think that connectivity isn’t the point at all.

But I can’t help wanting more: what if the site homepage could itself run as a blog with the participants taking turns at synthesizing commentary on some of the blogs or pointing to particularly interesting posts?

In other words, blogging seems to work here on the individual level, but is it being used to create any sort of virtual community among these blogging students? Will they find one another naturally, build off one another’s experiences and ideas to grow some sort of living resource, collective intelligence that will evolve into something greater than the sum of its parts? That is, I believe, the true potential of blogging–the opportunity for one blogger to reflect openly on her discoveries in the world and then to relate them directly to the thinking of others around her. Of course, that’s also the tough part–

Hats off, though, to Archinect for venturing into student blogging across institutions; it’s an important first step.

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