Kicks Condor

Reply: Against Blogging

Chris Aldrich

What he’s getting at here, but isn’t quite saying is “Why can’t we expand the Domain beyond the restrained idea of “just a blog.” And isn’t that just the whole point of the IndieWeb movement? Your website can literally be anything you want it to be! Just go do it. Invent. Iterate. Have fun!

While it grates on me to seeing ‘blogging’ derided, I think it’s a good step if it moved away from being homework. One of the ‘generalizations’ in the slides is: “Most students don’t read blogs unless required/forced to.” I think you would agree that reading is actually the foremost activity when blogging—you and I do a ton of reading, all of my favorite hypertexters do. And possibly the biggest problem with social media today is how much writing is done without sufficient reading. (The term ‘the shallows’ returns to mind—which isn’t a good adjective for any of the blogs I really get into.)

To me, it is the method of reading that needs to be questioned—not the method of writing. Express yourself however you want. But now we’ve got mixed media everywhere and it’s been very hard for people to adapt to consuming a variety of it. (Certain people have adapted to listening to podcasts, others to YouTube, very few to blogs—possibly as a result of the complexity of hypertext.)

However, Ton’s recent stuff on reading by social distance seems to show how early we are in fathoming how to read the world of dynamic, criss-crossing text.

It kills me how many in the edtech/Domains space seem to love memes. It’s always cute and fun, but they feel so vapid and ineffectual. It’s like copying someone else’s work and trying to pass it off as our own. English teachers used to say, “Don’t be cliché,” but now through the use of digital memes they’re almost encouraging it.

It seems similar to clip art of previous generations—it prevents the paralysis of a blank canvas for many people. It also seems to be part of the movement to make text more visual—as seen in Twitter embeds or using screenshot images of text—people seem to be getting more averse to just straight text. (This could get even worse if VR ever takes off.)

But I really agree with your point. Even in this video, many poor reasons are given for dropping ‘blogging’: it’s not “disruptive” enough, students don’t intuitively understand it (lacking a historical context for it), it’s not trending any more… But text still has real power. If anyone doubts me on this point, go read Nadia Eghbal’s essay “The Tyranny of Ideas”—I thought this was tremendous. Sure, she could have done this as a video—but it would have likely taken longer, required more equipment, and I think it would be more difficult to review again and again. Does text need a performance?

I think h0p3 is spot on with the term pleonasmic (pleonastic?). Which could also be rephrased: “the dogged attempt to resist cliché.”

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