Blog Angst

Ok, I admit I still haven’t managed to wrap my head around this whole blog thing.

The idea of regularly posting to this place is a little daunting. I think this is partly because I’m not sure what I want to say. I think it’s also partly because I’m a little uncomfortable with “putting myself out there” in a raw, somewhat unedited form.

The narcissist in me likes the idea of being able to make my every whim and musing available for the whole world to see. But the perfectionist in me feels funny about making those whims and musings available in anything less than brilliant prose. Consequently, hitting the “Save!” button in my blog admin panel is often more an act of ambivalence than empowerment.

All of this makes me wonder about what kind of person really makes the best blogger. Is there a blogger in all of us? Is it realistic to think that there should be?

And since those of us that are gathering to take part in this little experiment at UMW are all interested in education and technology, I wonder how does the blog really work as a tool for teaching and learning?–particularly if some of us might be born blog-resistent?

In an effort to find answers to these pressing questions, I came across this blog research list which includes all kinds of articles on blogging. I’ve started making me way through this list (and other resources I’ve come across), and I have a few initial thoughts:

  • What is the relationship between blogs and online communities? Can a blog (which tends to be centered on an individual) foster a community spirit?
  • If a blog isn’t a natural vehicle for developing an online community, what kind of communication does it foster? If someone blogs and no one “listens,” does his/her blogging act mean anything?
  • A few online discussions I’ve seen about using blogs for education encourage them for extending classroom discussions. But I wonder how is a blog the best tool for this purpose? Aren’t well-managed, online discussion boards a much better way of promoting this kind of communication?
  • Are we trying to come up with a way to make blogs “fit” into the educational sphere because they are (somewhat) new and cool?
  • Another possible use of blogs that is discussed is for online, student journaling–a valid use. But, other than the possible convenience of providing student and teacher with an online location for reading and responding, does a blog journal offer anything different/better than the traditional, written journal?

I know there is lots more research out there that I should (and will gradually) read. (If anyone has suggestions, post them here.) But in the meantime, I’m left with some sense of doubt as to how blogging really fits into my world.