Blogging Practices

Barbara Ganley’s recent presentation at Faculty Academy about “slow blogging” has me thinking a lot about the practice of blogging.

It occurs to me that we all talk about blogging as though we’re all engaging in the same practice, but I suspect that’s not true.

Let me try to be clearer. I know people have analyzed the genres of blogs before: the link blog, the reflective blog, the cat diary.

But that’s not exacthy what I’m interested in. Maybe the easiest thing would be to pose some questions that get at what I’m trying to understand. If you’re interested in this topic, feel free to comment or pingback your answers.

Generally, are you an impetuous blogger? Or do you mull over an idea or post for hours, days, weeks before hand? Do you draft a post and then let it sit until you’ve had a chance to revise it multiple times, perfecting your language and point?

Do you “collect” the references in your posts before you write them (if so, describe your system)? Or do you blog with 15 windows open, copying and pasting quotes and URLs, as needed?

Do you blog in the admin panel of your blog? Or do you use some third-party tool? If you use a tool, what features does it have that hooked you?

Do you automatically consider placing images in your posts? Or does this not even occur to you, usually?

Do you write posts and then delete them before clicking “Publish?”

Or, by extension, do you have draft posts that have languished for days, weeks, months waiting for you to pull the trigger?

Do you feel compelled to blog on a schedule? Do you feel guilty when you don’t?

Do you “craft” the experience of your blog, adding sidebar widgets and custom graphics to lure readers into your space?

(I think there are more questions I wanted to ask, but I can’t think of them. I’ll update if they come to me later.)

What’s the point? Well, aside from the fact that I want to know everything about you, I actually think it might be revealing to pull apart our blogging practices. Not only does it make us potentially more thoughtful about our own blogging, I think it might change the way we talk about blogging to others — particularly students? How often do we talk about blogging in the context of a class but not talk about the practice. It’s easy to assume that blogging should come naturally — after all, it’s just “writing online.” But, I don’t think it’s that simple. Blogging often represents a presentation of oneself (sometimes personal, sometimes intellectual, sometimes both) that doesn’t come naturally to everyone. And it occurs within a networked context.

Eh. Maybe I’m over-analyzing all of this. . .tell me if you think so.

13 thoughts on “Blogging Practices”

  1. Yes, no, certainly not, often, sometimes, shortcuts & previews, yes, no, hardly ever, no, but yes, yes but not sure if that is the reason,

    I liked your premise of taking away the assumption that there is a single, or even small number of blogging practices, which may be on the order of sand grains on the beach in number.

    Most of my blogging is impulsive, in the moment (I am the anti Ganely, the fast blogger), more or less a draft, and yes, I am grabbing the resources to link as I write. On the other hand, I have had a number of posts that did brew in the back of my mind for hours, days even, and keep nudging me saying, “Gotta let this out, you gotta write it”. Others are meant solely in the form of being silly or a smart-ass, or poking fun at mostly myself or my friends who can take my sarcasm.

    More often than not I am revolving around or using images for metaphor. For quite a few of these, its enough to find a photo in flickr, mine or someone else’s, and blog it from flickr’s interface.

    Mostly it comes down to a question we may not always ask out loud, “why am I doing this?” is it for an audience we think is there, to get a reaction, to work out ideas like a scratch pad (the outboard brain idea), to have a record of what we are doing (more than twittermoments). I have to say I just have likely problematic compulsion to put down words, mainly for my own sake.

    Great set of questions! Your turn….

  2. So interesting…

    My slow-blogging practice is for me. I’m a writer who instead of writing short stories and personal narrative for print, uses her blog to satisfy that need to play with image (both visual and verbal), word and idea. It really helps me to think–I need to write to understand deeply what I know on the surface. I don’t, though, do multiple drafts–not at all–but the writing of the single draft takes time because all kinds of strands need weaving. I gather posts to think about, photos I’ve taken, and when they start screaming, I take to the blog. And most entries remain in draft mode, never to see the surface, the public face of the blog.

    But my dense style is tough on readers, and I’m getting more and more interested in the actual conversation, the letter-writing, and I’ve been told that my blog is intimidating, that I don’t give readers enough room to converse.

    I’m gonna spin this around a bit and conjure up a blogpost along these lines.

    I dunno–I’m thinking more and more that I’m just a slow thinker!

    Thanks for the questions–and I agree with Alan that it’s your turn to talk about your blogging!

  3. I guess I’m a blogger of convenience.

    The posts that I get out are usually from something that I have just seen or thought about, and have to get something down about it at that moment. This means for a post to see the light of day, I need to have some time right in the moment.

    While my posts might not seem like it, it generally takes me a while to put a post together – writing, changing, editing, adding pictures, adding links, rewriting, changing and finally publishing. I’m often thinking it out as I write – posting forces me think more deeply when I have to explain my thoughts in some coherent manner to someone else.

    So, if I don’t finish a post in one sitting, it probably won’t see the light of day. Right now I have about 5 posts that are in drafts, and I never seem to revisit them. Why? Not sure – maybe the thought has passed and doesn’t seem as important when I come back. Or, I’m just not able to get myself to re-engage the thoughts and get myself back mentally to the place I was when I started the post.

    So, most of my stuff ends up being “top of the mind.” The comments help me immensely in following up on those thoughts.

  4. I’ve kept up my blogging for a while now, for the longest I ever have. It’s all just impulsive for me, if I see something that strikes a particular chord with me, I’ll write something, even if it’s just a little snippet, about it.

    Sometimes, it’s just nice to share.

    Live fast, die fast, blog fast, that’s my motto (cool sunglasses).

  5. Martha,

    Wow, this is a cool post. So many pointed questions about such a particular practice depending upon who you talk to about it. Blogging for me is often an impetuous act. In fact, I sometimes think I’d be better off having a little warning screen after hitting the publish button asking me, “Are you sure you want to publish this craziness?” My process for blogging is pretty consistent, however: I think of something, write it out (as stupid as it may be), search for an image or video (which are usually a must for me), and then slam the publish button indiscriminately. Soon after I return to the blog post and edit it at least three or four times after having originally published it.

    I know this may be a forbidden love, but I am taken with the aesthetic of the space as much as the ideas that sometimes come out of it. Having a corner of the internet wall to graffiti upon is one of the most enjoyable parts of the process. I throw everything up there to experiment with all kinds of plugins, services, feeds, etc. to see if they work as well as if they might be useful it different contexts (particularly teaching and learning). My blog is more often than not an experimental space for all kinds of widgets, doo-dads and various other services I come across on the tubes.

    I also think the ability to create an online archive of your opinions, ideas and practices that can be personalized, categorized, tagged, and easily searched is nothing short of revolutionary. But maybe best of all, it has been an unbelievable opportunity to capture some fleeting ideas I, and others via comments, have had about all kinds of things. And this is not simply for purposes of navel-gazing, but with the understanding that somethings that someone has said in this space may resonate with others. The idea of others engaged in a similar process (and all the potential cross-over that comes with this) is extremely exciting and keeps me blogging. Blogging can never be understood as an isolated practice (i.e., my external hard-drive of ideas or a personal archive) because it is not a static diary or journal, but rather a dynamic, open, and collaborative public notebook filled with half-baked, but possibly generative, ideas.

  6. Picking up on something Alan mentioned, the question of audience is essential–though it makes it more confusing. (As an aside, I’ve often thought that ‘audience’ is the hardest of writing concepts to try to get or to try to teach–so much so that I’d much rather see it addressed in an upper-level writing class than in a first-year writing class. But I digress).

    My blog currently needs a complete overhaul, mostly because I’ve only recently started to get a handle on the audience I am hoping to talk to (and I’m hoping will talk to me). Up to now, I could barely answer any of your questions because I didn’t have a coherent sense of to whom I was blogging, and therefore why. So I’d throw into the question mix:

    What communities am I a part of, or aspiring to be a part of?

    What is my role/position/status in those communities, and what do I want them to be?

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