A 4C's Session Preview: Ratliff on Blogging
Clancy Ratliff offers a preview of her 4C's presentation, and along the way, she writes maybe one of the most useful things --for me at least-- that I've read on blogs and how they differ from other forms of computer-mediated communication:
A weblog is a personal publishing platform in a way that discussion boards, MOOs, and the like are not, and bloggers gain readership and recognition in a way participants on discussion boards, listservs, and MOOs do not.This makes sense to me. Here's what the sentence is making me think now:
The nature of how a blogger gains recognition, which is tied to the technology and the ways it makes certain kinds of writing and linking to other writers easy, draws a different kind of attention to ones online persona. For many bloggers, as Clancy points out, recognition might be based on the pursuit (and attainment) media attention. Although news media attention by definition only casts its light on a few. And then for the most part the same few, since media types then begin to use the same stories and the same sources.
Linking to news stories and commenting on them helps build an audience as well. Technorati has a feature that shows blog entries linked to topics in the news; it's a way of seeing what citizen-pundits think.
For others, attention comes from building readership, often through a combination of serendipity, including a blog URL in email, passing the word on to friends, colleagues, family, and other bloggers.
Technologically, the blog privileges the most recent post. It's top center, in the most prominent position. What the blog owner writes assumes central position and comments are attenuated to that posting. In email, discussion boards, and other forms of communication, post and contributions are part of larger threads, mixed in among many others. When I visit Clancy's blog, I have a different experience of her as a writer and thinker than I do when I see an email from her on a discussion list. The blog presents a history of Clancy as a blogger. Her posts are there, and she's tagged and organized them in different ways.
What a blog technology offers in content management, then is really also tools for self-management, for creating and managing a self that one presents to readers.
The implications of this for the writing classroom are immense.