Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Wish in One Forum, Blog in the Other

The mighty-meta tug-o-war on techrhet last week whipped up quite a storm.  It's lain quiet again, for now, pending reloads and recalculations I suppose.  I didn't jump in because I was busy in N.M.; it was all I could do to keep up with reading the threads, and as much as it stimulated in my own thinking about why blogs enable something different than I've seen before, I kept cool, not knowing the antagonizers and button-pushers from the from the trumpsters or the trumpeters from the analogs or the analogues from the bots--no disrespect intended.  Single-channel lists: wash cycle hot bleach and mixed colors swirling. 

I started blogging because the lists often fall dead silent or explode in a frenzy of over-action cum clog.  It's not an either-or dilemma between lists and blogs, of course, and I still lurk on a few lists in an attempt to keep up with what all the brilliant, well-established folks, the makers of list culture have to say.  A blog, however, is a different kind of home.  Plus, I wanted to give it a try, write more often--whatever I wanted, in a space where I could tap into what others were saying and where they could tap into what I was saying.  Tap!

I sipped a few beers last night--going away beers--with a blogger and two non-blogging academic folks.  Four of us.  We talked a lot about the futures of blogs as legitimate scholarship, tech-enabled publishing alternatives, the connections enabled in spite of distance and time and (even more monumental) disciplinary partitions.  Although I won't go to great lengths to parade statistically-based or empirically sound proofs of the value (rounded to the nearest decibels) of blogs in composition, I will give a nod to these inferences (as in, take what you will):

  • Let's not forget the importance of interchanges between bloggers and blog skeptics (Pyrrhonist bloggers; I think, but don't blog)--folks who dismiss it as a waste of time, a distraction, a plight of infoglut, an unruly diary, and so on.  Among doubters are technophobes, neo-Luddites, old guards and other well-intentioned folks who might give blogging a try with just the right nudge.
  • Proving a medium takes time.  Assessment models haven't kept up with front-edge media, hybrid pedagogies, experimentation, error.  Oh, and proving the medium deadens it, renders it hegemonic, pledges it to the regulative rain-cloud.  All rubrics can go to hail.  Well of course this is free-float and naive.  But assessment regimens condition us to systematized drone.  The models fall flat.  The coursework is a bore.  Disengagement begets cheating, and cheating inspires outcry.  I'm not ready to say assessment is the enemy, but just frontload a call for writing with a four-column rubric and see what kind of tamped out stuff unfolds.  Ore into molds, mechanically poured.
  • Blogs chip away at segregations between journalists and academics, between the public sphere and the academy, between old and young, between Michigan City, Indiana and Fulton, New York, between 1:00 p.m. and 1:45 a.m., between you and me.  We're apart, no we're together.  Apart.  But here. And there. Yes, and blogging does that.  I suppose MUD's and MOO's do that, too.  Or wiki's.  Or house parties. Or flagship conferences.  But blogging doesn't require us to share a project as much as to share a curiosity; it doesn't need us to gather, but it enables us to disperse, to distribute, to connect, and to recoil.  Invitations to all.

Well, I tried.  That's all I have to say about weblogs for now.  I was noticing--disturbing as it is--that my "On Weblogs, On" category was crusting and falling behind the other categories.  So I needed to carry on about blogs. 

My infrequent posting are explained by a new pile of work at work.  Since my official letter of resignation didn't get circulated far and wide, it's taken word of mouth to spread the news that I'm leaving the U. in less than a month.  With that, I'm in on a whole docket of meetings--including another pair of search committees tomorrow.  Mission:  replace myself.  Tackboard: Sell the house that hasn't sold, scrap through online stuff, scratch that itch to see F 9/11 [link via IA] this weekend, plunk out notes on Glenn's Aspasia, mow the front grass.  Well, yeah, and see which forum gets full fastest.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at June 23, 2004 10:30 PM to On Weblogs

Got tickets for F 9/11 tomorrow (Saturday) at 11:20 AM. I can't wait to see it. Have seen all the other documentaries which Moore has prodeced and they are great. Yes, I know it is not objective journalism, but I love Bush bashing (have already seen some of the videoclips from the movie) - have I mentioned that I can't wait to see it??? Hope you get to see it too. Have a good weekend.

Posted by: Lin at June 25, 2004 7:41 PM

I hope you liked the film, Lin. We haven't seen it yet. There's been an incredible buzz about it, both online and in local media play--lots of stuff about its unscrupulous scenes, misassignment of the flick as a documentary, its undeniable popularity, and the good problem it presents of floating hard questions into the public sphere for more debate on the Bush legacy-in-progress.

We might head over to the movie house later today; just returned from a night of camping at Weston Bend State Park. I intend to report on that later today or tomorrow.

Posted by: Derek at June 27, 2004 10:11 AM