In all of the readings I consumed for the first part of this assignment, I have come to the conclusion that connections are what makes a blog a blog. There are many different types of connections to speak of, but connections are the key to any type of blog.
Blogs originally started out as a place to put links to connect a person to more information about a certain subject. Filter-style blogs are the best example of a link connection blog. Today, even personal blogs still connect readers to other like sites through links in menus or sidebars.
While reading the chapter from Jill Walker Rettberg on blogging, I made a number of connections with what I read. First, I looked up Justin Hall’s site Justin’s Links curious to see what would be on the page of one of the first pioneers of blogging as we know it today. There is a You Tube video called “pee shy” on his blog. I laughed as I watched it because:
1.) It is hilarious to hear the reality of a guy’s true feelings about public urination. I have always wondered about it. Girls, how many of you have walked into a small bathroom with only one or two stalls and turned on the water in the faucet so if someone else was in the bathroom she wouldn’t hear you tinkle? The struggle is real!
2.) This video directly connected me to the speech my daughter wrote this year for competition titled “Failure to Launch.” It is about a female flight cadet’s inability to pee in a cup in front of the guard. She has passed all other exams with flying colors, but has to overcome her fear of public urination in order to graduate. It is quite entertaining!
The second connection I had was when I read the section about a blog being an open diary. Rettberg writes:
“Carolyn Burke, who started her online diary in January 1995, wrote at the Online Diary History Project, ‘I wanted everyone in the world to expose their inner lives to everyone else. Complete open honest people. What a great and ideal world would result’ (Burke, n.d.). The early years of the web were characterized by utopianism and optimism: finally, everybody would be able to communicate freely.
This, along with reading about keeping open diary posts completely anonymous, somehow connected my thinking to those that want to have a blog, like myself, want to share with the world via the Web, but want or need to keep identities anonymous for protection purposes. I began to think about changing a few things on my blog to make it more difficult to connect my blog specifically to me, yet allow my colleagues, and possibly future students, recognize me. I learned that blogging is open, unlike Twitter or Facebook, which are types of closed blogging. Although you can’t close everything on Facebook and Twitter, you have much more control over who sees what. As I am reading blogs of others in #en3177, I find myself frustrated that I can’t post to their blog like I can on Facebook. I am only able to comment on their posts. I can’t start a new conversation with Melissa about how she got her blogroll and blogs I follow links to work. So I guess I find it interesting that blogs are categorized as open. I’ll have to dig deeper into that, too, because each have unique ways in which they are open and closed.
The blog post by Rebecca Blood got me wondering why all of the free sites started popping up for making blogs. In the money-hungry world we live in, I was surprised that people were willing to create sites where interested future bloggers can make a new weblog for free. I am very grateful that we can. So, Thank You, to those that create and continue to better free sites!
A recurring theme in the readings was also about the personal aspect of a blog and how much sarcasm and wit and humor play into making blogs interesting. A majority of the content on the web is controlled by government. This connected me to thoughts from a conversation last semester in lit crit and theory about Marxism and how government uses entertainment to keep people from revolting. Blogs are very personal in nature. And whether they fall into a category of personal-, filter-, or topic-style blogs, all are meant for social interaction. As Rettberg mentions in her writing, they show a slice of life, episodes and anecdotes. These are meant to entertain us. We choose which blogs to follow based on what our interests are.
The connections I made while reading Efimova’s essay are way too numerous to list. She packed in a ton of helpful information which I need more time to consider. I like her fourth section best 4. WEBLOG AS A PERSONAL INFORMATION MANAGEMENT TOOL. I have never thought of using my blog as a means of retrieving past thoughts or memories. This could open up endless possibilities for me… I have a horrible memory, so if I were to start blogging about certain things I want to remember I could go back and look at memorable posts. Or in terms of teaching, I could have lots of my teaching ideas/comments on my blog to refer back to. I think I have seen options to keeping some things private, so this may be a great start to helping me out with my memory issues! My husband will be so thrilled to not have to remind me of everything, I could just look back on archived posts! Ha!Ha!
Ok, I think I have made my point about blogs being made from connections. There is so much more I could say, but I will leave it at this for now. After reading others’ views of what makes a blog a blog by Sunday, I will see if my initial thought still stands.
Rebecca Blood. A blog post on blogging by one of the first bloggers. Weblog History, 2000
Lilia Efimova, Weblog as a Personal Thinking Space. 2009
Jill Walker Rettberg, Blogging, 2nd ed., chap 1. 2014.