Thursday, February 01, 2007

Let's define blogging - again

There has been a lot of discussion the past couple days about anonymity in blogging. There was the infamous Houston Chronicle article that referred to Bud Hunt and Vicki Davis as anonymous bloggers. Then there were posts on Bud's blog and a number of others. (I know you have seen them all!)

Then there is the post over at Assorted Stuff about blogging being a personality disorder. (If you haven't read the post, I should tell you that this isn't Tim's belief but rather that of someone who wrote a book about blogging.)

To me the issues are connected. What is blogging, really? I go back to old "definitions" by Will Richardson and Anne Davis. I believe blogging is more than writing online. It involves reflection and, usually at least, reading, as well as writing. Blogging is not journaling or venting. As Will says,
Blogging is not just writing in a blog. I don't think journaling is blogging because it's, well, journaling. Blogging is much more than that. To me the process starts with reading what other people have written and editing that content for depth and relevance and accuracy. It's making connections about that content to other ideas to clarify what's important about it. It's adding personal reflection to give it context because only in knowing how the blogger experiences what she is writing about can I as a reader decide whether her ideas are worth my time. And, finally, it's linking back to that content so that the ideas can be traced to their genesis.

If we take Will's definition of blogging, then there seems to be no reason to blog anonymously. If I am writing about things that I don't want my name associated with, then I shouldn't be writing about them in a public forum. And I am probably not really blogging.

I know I am preaching to the choir here (assuming anyone is listening), but I needed to clarify this for myself again. And I needed to look at my blogs again to make sure I would not appear to be blogging anonymously. Because I am proud of most of what I have written over these last two years. I am not hiding from the real world in my blog but am trying to make sense of it in my own way. That, to me, is blogging.


Miguel Guhlin (@mGuhlin) said...

Being a blogger is about being open and transparent as one grapples with life. It involves reflection, and spurs one to honor the ethic.

Without that ethic of transparency, absent that commitment--even though it is mean--then blogging is a series of lies,conveying one idea--I'm employable, I'm smart, I'm perfect.

And, while that may be true in some rare cases, it's never true 100% of the time because of who we are--people.

Give me a fallible being, wrestling with daily temptations. Someone who rather than fear their temptation, accepts and shares the experience..what a blogger she would be.

Fallible, tempted, and an edu-blogger,

Miguel Guhlin
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John said...

When I started blogging, I felt very uncomfortable sharing information about myself. I have begun to see the importance of being transparent if I want to have an authentic voice. When I read your blog, I have a strong sense that you are a very real person sharing your thoughts and experiences. From your blog and other educators blogs, I feel more comfortable sharing my own thoughts and experiences. Thank you for this thoughtful post.

Anonymous said...

Another aspect of blogging that makes it so powerful for me are the connections embedded within the text... links that take me to a resource, another blogger's perspective, a news article, etc. All of these connections help build upon a wonderful collection of knowledge. Reflection, meta-cognition, connections, reading, writing... it can't get much better than this. :)