Publishing on the Web

On Blogging: The use, necessity and style thereof

Blogging is a skill and medium that has been gaining vast audiences in the past few years, but it is not something widely taught on a professional level. Everyone is left to find their own way in the world, figuring how to best transcribe their ideas from their brains to their audience. This takes on interesting forms in the modern world, full of social media and short attention spans. 

This has led to blogging, a new form of writing, creating conversations across the internet in a collection of paragraphs collected around a singular idea or topic. They are created in a more informal manner, using first person and addressing the readers, using bullet points and lists to get their ideas across, organizing their writing as they see fit and the theme allows, rather than as conventions demand. This is a great shift from more formal styles of writing, like articles and essays which require a great deal of text and citations. This creates very slow and long feedback loops, which generally appear in the form of another essay or article ripping apart the proceeding arguments. 

Blogging is not meant to be so slow, or as in depth. It works quicker, more in real time, expanding and growing in a multitude of ways. It can spread a great deal of information out into the internet, contained in smaller portions than an essay, and on a much more informal basis. This allows for a greater deal of input and response from readers and writers, communicating their ideas, understandings and opinions as quickly as they can form them and put them to word, with some editing of course.

This can, however, become a double edged sword. As blogs move so quickly, it can be difficult to keep up with and be able to form the best responses. Waiting too long will cause readers to lose interest. Too short will mean it would be read and forgotten. Too long, and the blogpost is not even read in its entirety, leaving the reader bored with a wall of text they skip through to the end, if the even gather the courage to continue reading. The lack of sources can mean that everything written is of questionable validity, held up by the writer’s reputation and the lack of outrage from the readers. 

No matter their strengths and weaknesses, blogs are here to stay and hold a very valuable place in media, spreading the words of the masses on various topics of interest. People need to learn how to take this tool and use it to the best of their abilities, in order to keep up the stream of information as the times change. 

Emily Ball

4 replies on “On Blogging: The use, necessity and style thereof”

Interesting post! I agree with your observations and am curious to see if and how blogging changes as children who grew up in the digital age become teenagers and adults. The only aspect of this post that I might disagree with is the assertion that long posts will not be fully read. The author of “How to Write a Blog Post: 22 Actionable Tips” noted that longer content is often shared and commented on more frequently than shorter posts. Otherwise, wonderful job and thank you for writing this post.

I really agree with your summarization that “Blogging is not meant to be so slow, or as in depth. It works quicker, more in real time, expanding and growing in a multitude of ways.” In this way, blogging offers all the things that normal academic publishing does not – real time feedback and effective communication.
One thing that I would add to your observations is how Daniel J. Cohen remarked that blogs are “perfect outlets for obsession.” I find that while reading articles and books can spark my interest, some of the most and engaging moments with my historical interest has been talking with historians in the field. Therefore, I think blogging is the closest way we can continue this engaging and fruitful discussion of “obsession” with people across the world, rather than individual reading books and articles.

You make an interesting point that blogging is not taught in schools. Do you believe it should be taught in schools? If so what grade, elementary, middle, high school, or college? What subject area class would include blogging? I did freewriting exercises in English class in high school. Is this close enough to blogging that a specific lesson on blogging would not be necessary? You also mention that there is no way to confirm a bloggers credibility. Should there be system that watches blogs to make sure that they post credible information? Or is it the readers responsibility to investigate the authors credentials?

Some of your other points could be used to illuminate why there is push back against blogging and other digital history as respected projects. There could be concern that there is not enough time for a fully fleshed out discussion of the content, or the lack of the ability for the reader to check the author’s credibility. Are there ways we can fight these arguments, or solve these issues so that digital history is more widely respected?

At least to me, the teaching of English in schools should really orient more towards writing, especially in high school. So I would put teaching how to blog at a 9th or 10th grade level, which is late enough that students should likely have some level of online literacy, but not late enough that there are too many bad habits to break.

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