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blogging for group learning

jrf's picture

In her "Blogs," Sarah Boxer seems to love the 'foul mouths and tough hides' of the bloggers she reads, citing sarcastic apologies and new Internet words as reasons blogs are superior to print media. To me, these traits embody the worst of blogging-- surely a refusal to admit other points of view is exactly the failing of print media that the Internet is most prepared to rectify? The discussion we started in class on Thursday about writing academically in public seemed to me to suggest that the open conversation and expanded audience that the Internet makes possible would push authors to write for a response, and to open their ideas up to comment from readers.

But Boxer notes that many blogs (at I Blame the Patriarchy, which I follow and which Boxer cites, disagreement with the author's views in the comments is strictly forbidden) do the opposite, shrugging off any disagreement or criticism. Boxer apparently approves of this form of communication because it is honest-- bloggers "are who they are," and that is all the Internet needs.

It doesn't seem to me that this approach-- the blogosphere as 15 million public diaries rather than public discussion forums-- moves communication forward that much. My experience with blogs is pretty limited to the social-commentary genre, but as an example, I Blame the Patriarchy's abrasive style and refusal of discussion is much less conducive to the kind of public academic discussion that the Internet/blogs make possible. I prefer blogs such as Sociological Images, which, like IBTP, analyzes/complains about various pop images and what they say about our culture, but actively encourages discussion and occasionally publishes points made by commenters. Are the kinds of single-person, no-criticism-allowed blogs that Boxer highlights useful in their own right? Are they a step towards the Internet-idealistic idea of greatly expanded and widely useful discussion, or in the wrong direction?

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