New blogs/Old blogs

Now that I have returned from the internet cafes of South America to my quiet computing space of home and office, it is much easier to reflect and consider and ponder and let ideas percolate according to Slow Food”-esque principles. Blogging out there on the fly, dashing off the street and into the internet cafe made posting both easier and harder–easier, because I just let the words write themselves. Time pressed, and I wasn’t willing to sit there digging into other blogs, or to interrupt a post by walking around and doing something else for a while. Nope. I just sat down and let that baby spin itself out in no time. I didn’t feel as though I needed to link carefully or reach out too far to see what others were thinking about the topic. I just wrote what I was experiencing and thinking right then.

Now that I’m back and have the leisure to come and go from my computer at will, I feel not the pressure of time, but of depth, of substance, of needing to have something worthwhile to offer the blog (and its readers). It means I’m thinking about how I might link to the interesting bits I’ve been reading (such as Bryan’s Dracula Blogged or Seb Pacquet’s link to a terrific post by Lee Bryant from back in January or <a href=”http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/mtarchive/004153.html”Dave Weinberger’s NECC keynote, notes to which on his blog include:

So, how do we teach our kids? Do we cram their heads full of content and then test them on it? As individuals? Do we imply ambiguity is a failure? Do we insist on being right? Or do we say that knowledge is an unending conversation? Do we teach children to seek ambiguity and love difference?”

or Jyrie Engstrom’s talk on social networks or Mary Ellen’s reflection on the backchanneling at SSAW), or how I might allude to the fledgling conversation my students have just started over on the creative writing blog (yes, the students are really starting to step back onto the blog even though school is out, the course is over and our community dispersed to the four corners of the earth) or to the new blogging-the-world project for the fall that is starting to take shape (the operative word being “starting”–it will be some weeks before the blog is really chugging along). In other words, I am thinking about the bigger conversation more than about my own experience. And of course, it’s impossible to keep up or even to catch up, but pulling in just this smattering of thinking swirling about blogs I read is incredibly thought-provoking and stimulating.

What’s the upshot? Well, for this fall’s blogging-in-the-world group, it means (or I think it means) that it will be easy to write the experience (the journal kind of post) but hard to engage in the discussion that asks for more than a simple rat-a-tat-tat of off-the-cuff responses. The student bloggers will have to figure out how to find the time to do more than report. Piya was lucky to have so many people (professors, peers, family, readers from the Indian diaspora) reading along, commenting, and even questioning her responses and conclusions (people are still leaving comments although her latest entry was posted in February). Will the students want to pull out of living in another language enough to converse in English about the ways in which their experiences across cultures and continents can be enhanced through this kind of collaboration, this dialogue? Will they have the patience? Or like much of the travel blogging I see out there, will the blogs turn into diary entries for the readers at home with little deep exploration?

And then there’s the whole question of my involvement in the group blog–do I stay largely silent the way I do on my course blogs once the conversation gets rolling, or do I have a role to play by throwing questions to them from the home space?

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One Response

  1. What’s Going on Now

    It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a blog journal entry on this site, and I’ve been meaning to for awhile. I think that what’s prompting me is critical mass. At a certain point, there’s just too much going…

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