Elvira and the meta-logue

I was reading the Charles Tryon article, “Writing and Citizenship: Using Blogs to Teach First-Year Composition”, in which he states that he views blogging

“as a form of what Michael Renov (2004) describes as an “essayistic” mode conducive to engaging with the fragmentary or the ephemeral, precisely those aspects of everyday life that often escape careful analysis. The open-endedness of the essay form could also provide a way to talk about how blog writing, and the essayistic in general, is grounded in authors’ experiences”

I am very much interested in open-ended, essayistic writing, the type that Tryon describes here, in whatever form it takes. This set me about looking for more theory about blogging, to see if anyone else had anything to say about the open-ended inquiry style of blogging, but I didn’t find anything, really, except for one article, “Of a Divided Mind: Weblog Literacy”, by Torill Elvira Mortensen, in which she suggests that

“… the weblog may have its roots in the research journal, the ship’s log, the private diary, and the newspapers all at the same time…the weblog is nothing if not adaptive and unique…it is a bastard child of all personal writing, breeding wildly as it meets others of its ilk online…weblogs are, if anything, unfinished business…almost invariably, a blog will at some point contain metareflection. It often happens right at the beginning: ‘I want to write this weblog because…’ ”

Even though she is not the true “mistress of the dark”, I was still really excited that her middle name is Elvira. I was also excited to find someone else discussing the ontology, if you will, of the weblog, that is, if a weblog can even have an ontological condition. Is a weblog alive??? Anyhow, she seems to be in agreement with Tryon, even though they didn’t cite one another. They both agree that blogging is pretty personal, and begins with an attempt to work on something, without needing a definite destination. Like a true essay (before the academy got a hold of it) the blog allows its writer to circumambulate, and to be overtly conscious of his or her self, and the role that particular self plays in the writing of said blog (or essay). Mortensen also suggests that

“In the spirit of the metalogue, the most common way to read and learn about research on weblogs is by reading weblogs and, preferably, by keeping one yourself. The nature of weblogs invites metalogues, and the research community keeps this metalogue running through a network of links , exchanges, comments, and notes between the weblogs of participants. The weblog itself is the best tool for researching and learning about weblogs.”

Okay Elvira. Makes sense, really. I definitely dig meta-ness, the idea of researching in a way that embodies the thing I am researching. Learn about blogging by blogging. Duh. You don’t learn how to dance by reading about dancing, though it may help out some. So, I am attempting to use my blog as a blogging research forum, but I don’t really expect anyone to ever comment on anything I write in it, since I don’t really know what I’m doing, really, just fishing around for other meta-bloggers at this point. If other meta-bloggers somehow find my blog and give me feedback, all the better.


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