I’ve had five nights in a guest house with FIVE OU students/academics: 3 PhD students and one 2 years post doctoral, while I come in a long way behind as I’m yet to complete my MA (though in theory it is my second MA, and I have done TWO post-graduate courses the equivalent of MAs that were not accredited). So I am another natural for life-long learning.
Conversations – who we are, defined by what we do, what we know, what we don’t know and what we think.
Key components missing from online experience are: rapport, facial expressions as we listen or talk, the reciprocal nature of dialogue there is, or should be a natural see-saw of give and receive, of request and response which asynchronous threads struggle to provide.
I have had thought that as someone who kept a diary before blogging came along that this makes me a natural blogger – it helps.
There is another habit or trait that is equally important and may help others get started – the tradition in school of ‘taking notes’ and even ‘call reports’ or ‘minutes’ of meetings. These are starting points for a blog, the trick is to type it all up in real time, as you go along, then edit/censor before you post. Even post into a private page to exploit the affordances of the blog, the date, the place, the tags and categories and how much easier it is to find tagged information than it is to file it, whether on a desktop harddrive or printed out and put into a filing cabinet.
At its simplest level these notes are an aide memoire – they could be an audio record (Tony Benn) and Captain T Kirk – or they coule be a video log (surely you have seen Avatar – ‘this is science’ he says, dismissive of the importance of reflection, and right to be so given what trouble his personal record made public causes). It may even be the case that someone else takes down your every thought (Churchill’s secretaries).
A writer’s journal – excerpts and ntoes, can only be of practical value to their author – and if they become a successful author, authority or powerful/influential person – then to academics once archived (we love to study the creative process).
A ‘Secret’ Dairy is just that (or in the case of H.G.Wells locked down for 50 years, or Mark Twain 100 years). I hope the genre hasn’t died just because of the compulsion to blog it, and the volume of traffic and interest that such candor, exposure or disclosure can bring. Is that it, bloggers just crave an audience? THey are in fact wannabe lead singers or actors? They’ll say anything if they get an audience, the problem being with a blog to know if that audience is there.
Which is why good stats are vital. Forget comments asa guide to ‘readers,’ and a universal ‘page views’ means little. We need stats on the pages viewed, to know which are or become the hot topics. We need personalised lay-outs and we need to DROP the idea of reverse chronology which by dating an entry also ages it, and by stages gives it a sell by date.
Just because a blog puts you on a soapbox and lets you artificially put up the volume. People get around this in simple ways, they keep their blog locked, or off-line, write under a psuedonym and disguise the main character/location (but risk exposure/scandal) or they buy a hard back notebook/diary and do it that way.
Note to self:
5:3:1 used to be the north American ratio of promotion, maintaining and creating a website.
1:3:5 was the mistake we said us Brits always made, putting everything into development/creation and little into getting an audience (and therefore customers).
I wonder if the desirable ratio for web 2.0 is more like 3:5:1, whereby the effort to maintain, to be active online, to be engaged in social media networking/social influence marketing is both a form of advertising AND part of the creation process?