Generally speaking, blog posts are written from expository or narrative perspectives. As opposed to a formal, assessment-worthy text, blog posts seem to be less technical, rigid, and more informal. At times, it seems as if these posts are written in a stream of consciousness. It almost feels as if you can hear the author’s thoughts and voice as you read. I felt that this provided more insight into the rationale and thought processes of the author. As a teacher, I can see this style of writing as being a powerful tool to gain perspective into a student’s perception. Blog writing is also considered “connective writing.” With this, blogs are written to not only communicate information but to connect people, other perspectives, and related resources. Another way that blog writing differs from other genres is in the audience. When writing a blog, the author must consider addressing a (very) public audience. In many genres of writing, there is a targeted and focused audience. In the world of blogging, anyone around the world can access your written thoughts, ideas, and reflections. While this large, global audience is often quite motivating to students, it is also an important factor to consider while writing. I found great perspective about classroom writing in digital spaces, and how teaching students about their “blog audience” could be used to enhance writing at this blog.
Reading a blog is also different than reading other types of literature. First, I think it is vital that you approach the reading of blog with the full understanding that it is, just that… a blog. The purpose may be to inform, to entertain, or to persuade, but the content presented in a blog is not always fully representative of the truth. Emotions, feelings, and experiences often influence the writing. This gives readers the opportunity to look at a situation or experience through the eyes of someone else. From an instructional perspective, this could be used to teach students about reading to evaluate content, author’s voice, and perspective. I think teaching students how to read a blog, what to look for, and how to use the information is vital. In a world where blogging is quickly expanding in the media, we must prepare students to access and gain meaning from this information.
When considering the reading and writing of blogs, the concept of “blogging literacy” comes to mind. Through my blogging exploration, I came across several discussion posts and perspectives about “blogging literacy” that provided valuable insight. Donald Leu said it best:
The new literacies include the skills, strategies, and insights necessary to successfully exploit the rapidly changing information and communication technologies that continuously emerge in our world. A more precise definition of the new literacies may never be possible to achieve since their most important characteristic is that they regularly change; as new technologies for information and communication continually appear, new literacies emerge (Bruce, 1997; Leu, in press a; Reinking).
As previously stated, I believe teaching students (and adults) about “blogging literacy” is vital. Gaining information from these resources is becoming more essential each day.
Without a doubt, I would say that the most dynamic aspect of blogging is the forum for communication and collaboration. The opportunity to provide comments and ask questions is powerful resource. It makes the reading more meaningful and relevant. With students, expanding the opportunity for communication through a blog exponentially expands their audience and network of peers. With feedback through comments, reflections, and questions, the author is offered additional perspectives and opinions on a topic. This information can then be used in a number of ways. An amazing look at the power of comments and interactivity on a blog can be found at this link. This student’s story and the feedback offered speaks volumes to this idea.
With blogs being at the center of the social-media revolution, I am excited to be venturing into this field!