Academic Blogging as New Literacy (ch.8)

In this time of multimodal, digital texts and new literacies, I am still a pencil and paper person and find that taking notes the “old-fashioned way” allows me to better integrate with the text as the arguments and ideas are re-represented into the dialogue I have personally created with the text. That being said, as I read chapter 8 “Academic Blogging as New Literacy” and began to take notes I thought it might be helpful (or more appropriate) to include my notes here in the blog forum so that maybe some deeper connection could be made between the work that we do privately and the work that we do publicly as discussed in this chapter.

  • blogging, as discussed in this ch., is a social practice capable of creating and changing/manipulating relationships while allowing its participants  to create/form/and integrate new ways of knowing and learning information.
  • blogs are interactive texts in which the creator beings a digital text and the audience/participants continue or comment in an ongoing reciprocating process
  • blogging allows for possibilities that cannot be afforded through regular paper-based texts. The use of links, hyperlinks, video, and music components make information sharing both endless and limit-less.
  • Blogs in their origination are a blend of the personal and a public or more accurately personal writing for the public.
  • The creators of blog posts typically write for an immediate audience and sometimes find difficulty once they discover a larger readership than first imagined (ex. teen girls writing for friends who become aware that the entire school district and beyond can view the information).
  • Academic blogging can be an extension of a person’s scholarly persona and afford them a place to explore ideas and concepts related/connected to the work they are pursing in their studies
  • blogging takes more than just the actual text into consideration to meaning, readers must also be aware of page layouts, pictures, colors and even advertisements. The “situatedness” of the text becomes extremely important
  • digital texts pose a problem in the discussion of contexts because of the varying approaches and choices that can be made from a single posting. Not everyone will follow all the available links, read the archives or respond in the same way to these complex configurations of texts.
  • There are multiple lens through which these digital-based texts can be researched, one example being “insider research” which is done by the same people who are using/interacting with the new media technologies.
  • These new digital texts need to be investigated for the way in which they create social events and relationships among broad social boundaries and how these relationships affect their audience/participants
  • Nixon (2003), as cited in the text, points out that we need more focus on how we research as well as what we research.

At this point in the text the authors begin to discuss their own research in which they practice “insider research” by posting to their own blogs, commenting, and participating in the online world of digital texts (including images as noted by Flickr.com) all while tracking their own activity using a web program designed as a note taking tool (another “blog” form?). They discuss their findings in relation to the following three categories which are best summarized through the authors own accounts (for more information review Ch.8):

1. Publishing the Self which includes specific issues about performing online

identities, our sensitivities as bloggers to impression formation and our deci-

sions about what to post and what not to post. In considering the content

of our blogs, we look at how postings can work on the boundaries between

private and public life. We also include the affective dimension of blogging

in this category (such as feelings of pride, embarrassment and so on) and

their relationship to respect and reputation in blogging communities.

2. The nature and fabric of the text as an interlinked and constantly evolving

work, that is fluid, visual and ,at least in part, created by readers, other blog-

gers and the comments that are added. The fabric of the text is concerned

with the tools used to construct meaning. Predominantly this is about the

use of multimodal text to signify group membership, reference to shared

understandings and humor. However, we are also keen to show how the

visual mode is used and, particularly focus on the use of photographic

images. This section talks about the way in which medium, modality and

semantics connect.

3. Social networks looks at how interactivity gives rise to the notion of blog-

ging as a shared endeavor, a network than can lead to the development

of a community of practice or an affinity space and how this relates to other

platforms for online interaction (email, Flickr, MSN, shared blogs, others’

blogs) as well as to offline interaction.

All of this information allows us to see the multitude of opportunities afforded to us through digital-based texts, as the authors point out it is a way for the individual to “author the self”. Developing and sustaining an online identity is a chance for virtually anyone to explore the possibilities of a completely new global medium. This medium warrants a significant amount of attention for the many (if not unlimited) possibilities this has to offer academia and at this point the research is merely a beginning.

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2 comments on “Academic Blogging as New Literacy (ch.8)

  1. Hi, April — thanks for this very helpful post!

    I guess I am still struggling with the notion of “multiple selves,” as Davies & Merchant point out in their essay. I see and acknowledge the many, many affordances that new media techologies offers, but I keep wondering time and time again about the individual self. What happens to the self as it writes itself in this collaborative, rhizomatic network? How can we access what is purely our individual subjective self (and intuition, imagination, etc.) when they are always connected and dispersed in the Interwebs?

  2. Pingback: These are a Few of My Favorite Posts (Part II) « Teaching Writing in a Digital Age

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