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To Blog or Not To? A Conversation with Paul Grobstein

Day 26 of Emerging Genres

To Blog or Not To?
A Conversation with Paul Grobstein

Having met with Tim Burke, "citizen intellectual,"
Kate Thomas, "diarist" and "food columnist," and
Laura Blankenship, "social networker," we welcome
Paul Grobstein, "story sharer and reviser"

On Open-Ended Public Conversation

The Reading

Getting Acquainted:
"I do a lot of my most current thinking in response to
things that others have posted on Serendip."

To Blog...Or Not to Blog:
"Yeah, I have reservations about 'blogs' as they are currently understood...Without a shared commitment to continual revision based on the sharing of diverse perspectives, the potential inherent in giving everyone a voice in the public arena can't be realized....The potential for return makes it different from a journal...its an invitation to exchange...That one might get a the whole point of writing....what others don't find interesting...can be enjoyed as a celebration of individaul differences."

The "How" of Story-Sharing I:
"the most important the documentation of the reality that different people think differently....there isn't anything wrong with a little 'enlightened form of socializing'...One SHOULD drop by, overhear a bit of conversation, tell a little story...encourage a few additional friends to stop by as well...each of us is the center for ourselves and none of us the center for what we make together...."

The "How" of Story-Sharing II:
"the social context should be one that invites ALL stories...independent of how the story fits into conversations...this maximizes the diversity of stories....there is not hidden motive in the story sharing...other than the 'rubbing against' which is its fundamental dynamic....story-sharing is NOT an effort to get to a place of 'consensus'....There's no rush to closure...."

Serendip's Evolving Web Principles:
"The disorder of the Web is one of its greatest virtues...
The interactivity of the Web is perhaps its most important characteristics..."

And the Talking...?
About Open-Ended Public Conversation
...aka "Lazy Democracy"?

"I am not a blogger"

"the web really potentiaily changes the world in subtle ways"

"Serendip promotes the idea that everybody is involved in interactively creating intellectual exchange"

"student papers are in a niche 'beween fluff and tehcnical'"

"commentary is not dialogue"

"Serendip needs a better notification system"

"it is not a simple information resource, but away to find things to further one's own inquiries and those of others"

"Serendip is primarily not reports on empirical findings, but openings into conversation"

"if the goal is interactivity, there is a problem of readership relative to commentary"

"for Serendip to be non-authoritarian and not persuasive,

it is useful to have multiple voices speaking on multiple topics,

in terms significant for a variety of other interests,

in widely accessible language,

seeking to learn from responses,

promoting further conversations rather than ending them"

"students need to believe in their own capability to bring useful perspectives to the table;

it's an ongoing process-->have patience!"

"these are challenges to overcome/directions in which to go, both for creators and readers"

"Serendip is an emergent story"

"rather than focusing on idiosyncratic,individual stories, it looks for those that are collectiely significant;

this is work that the writer has to do"

"there is an absence of commitment to the 'completed written word'" (which, per Derrida,

is distinctly derivative, 2nd best, even dangerous)"

"Serendip works in accord with Derrida's critique of writing as the highest virtue:

written words acquire foundational meaning which can stop a conversation"

"here, conversation is more meaningful than publication"

"written conversation is closer to the ideal"

"the Web creates a new kind of literature, perhaps a return to a previous, more oral form of communication"

"The goal here is NOT to build community; it is NOT intended that writers will recognize one another;

the intention is to promote conversation"

'"we are mutually constructing an on-line reservoir of ways of looking @ things"

"it's a compendium, like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"

"the aim is not to get people to be loyal, or to do everything on Serendip;

perhaps we seed conversations that take place elsewhere?

Coursekeeping Notes

Laura's afterthoughts re
Meta-blogging: One of the things that I think blogging gets us to think about, and here some theoretical apparatus might help, is the relationship between self and authorship, public and private as well as what a blog is as a genre or form of writing.

By 5 p.m. Monday, April 28: 4 more pp. of blogging due, about the
emergence of the genre of the blog (diary? autobiography? The Scarlet Letter?)

Calderon, "Blogs"...
and the new "cut and past from Word" button (5th from left, above....)

For next Tuesday, read my Stranger in a Strange Land: Grokking in the Americas
come ready for a summative conversation both about blogging and the course (evals, etc.)

Also! sign up for your final presentations, next Thursday!

Claire's "just looking back....":

a small community has popped up on this one post [about ataxia]
that I didn't think anyone else would ever read.

Student contributions to public conversations about science

Science Education as Interactive Conversation

BMC Students, faculty present present their work to
science educators and legislators in D.C.