The Blogging Experience for Whatever It’s Worth
You would think that something as high-tech as blogging would be an easy feat to overcome. With such smart minds in our university, you would think that thirty or so college students would get it right. You would think something James Kotecki can do in his bathtub (Kotecki, James) that we would be able to do it with full concentration. However, there were definitely some differing views on the blog. Why couldn’t we all just get it to work? Whatever the case may be, if it did or didn’t work, I’ve gained more of an understanding of the blogging and online culture. There is always a lesson to be learned with every experience you go through.
Most people would say that this was an utter failure. They would say that the blog was just a mess, a cluster of random posts smashed together about an array of topics that really didn’t have any relevance to each other whatsoever. I would have to agree with the observations made, and that there was no actual dialogue between any of our classmates. Just because people get their opinions out there doesn’t mean that anyone is reading them.
The fact that there is no dialogue between the bloggers and the bloggers with the outside world makes this blog not really a blog. Jeff Jarvis, a popular blogger with BuzzMachine, says in an interview with ponyter.org that “news is a conversation, not just a lecture. The story doesn’t end when it’s published, but rather just gets started as the public begins to do its part – discussing the story, adding to it, and correcting it” (Outing, Steve).
However, the same thing that diminishes the whole idea of a blog also gives it strength to the argument that it actually worked. There has always been talk of a “marketplace of ideas,” and blogging just enhances that reality. It’s so easy nowadays to just sit at your computer and post something you feel passionate about on a webpage. Getting an idea out there is more accessible to everyone. Since more and more blogs are being made, the word about certain issues can reach the officials in government and actually make a difference.
But, I digress; most of the blogging experience was thwarted by the apathy of the class as a whole. Most students saw this as more of a grade then as a way to propel social change. If you want an online revolution, there needs to be a passion to want to change it. Also, half of the class was apathetic about politics since the beginning (myself included). If we don’t have anything constructive to write about an issue (if we don’t know much about it, if we think it’s boring, etc.), then the blog crashing and burning was inevitable.
The blogging that counts is always by someone who has shown an interest in politics (or whatever they’re blogging about) their whole lives. We saw this with Josh Wolf, who got arrested for his actions as a blogger. In an interview with his mother, she said that “even in high school, he was standing up for things that weren’t considered popular” (Kurtz, Howard). In high school, what most people would consider the normal behavior of a student was not what Josh Wolf exemplified. He was not a “normal” kid when growing up.
If the more vocal members of the class would have spoken up and sparked a little fire in the hearts of the rest of the class, the blog project may have worked better. If there was a reason deeper than a grade for people to post new and exciting things, then the buzz of our blog would have been larger. As we have seen with many of the dissident presses in our nation’s history, getting together an army of people who think the same thing and the same way is the only way that any change will occur.
Even though much of my blog experience was pretty crappy, there was a lot that I learned about the power of the online word. With mainstream news stories, they feel so rehearsed and cookie-cutter. With blogging, the writing is very raw and people are allowed to say whatever they want. There’s no editing by a higher power. It’s just you and the words. There is so much editing in mainstream news companies that the voice of the reporter could be censored by their bosses. Blogging allows the blogger to be their own boss on how things should be done.
Since blogs are so easy to find online, the audience that reads these blogs may not have read it if it wasn’t for accessibility. The less popular ideas are given the spotlight they deserve through the invention of the blogosphere. The “marketplace of ideas” is in full effect with the online world. The structure of a blog is so much less intimidating for the audience as well, so this is another reason why these unheard of ideas are being pushed the forefront, and the people with the small voices can finally be heard by the big dogs.
All was definitely not lost; I can’t stress this enough. Our words and thoughts are permanently etched onto a webpage that everyone who has a computer can access. Although most of us are not experts in any fields, someone might stumble upon our small little blog and say, “Hey, this person has a point!” The point of a blog is to bring about social change, and with every set of eyes that lays their sight onto our blog, then the mission of the blog has been fulfilled. Changing one person’s opinion at a time may be a little long to bring about any sort of revolution, but it’s still one opinion that was changed because someone made a good argument on a blog. Taking baby steps is still moving forward.
Kotecki, James. “James Kotecki.” James Kotecki. 28 Nov. 2007. 30 Nov. 2007
Outing, Steve. “Poynter Online – What Journalists Can Learn From Bloggers.” Poynter.Org. 20
Dec. 2004. 30 Nov. 2007 .
Kurtz, Howard. “Jailed Man is a Videographer and a Blogger But is He a Journalist?…”
Washingtonpost.Com. 8 Mar. 2007. 30 Nov. 2007 .