Why blog? It allows for more and better thought, authors say

Nardi, et al (2004)  provide an overview of the web-blog, or blogging phenomenon of Web 2.0.  In general, it affords bloggers a platform for expressing views that are more subjective than the more transactional wiki article or bulletin board posting.  While the frequency, purpose, and tone of blogs vary widely, all blogs have certain key ingredients that make them effective for individual self-expression. “Blogs,” the authors write (2004) “combine the immediacy of u[-to-the-minute posts, latest first, with a strong sense of the author’s personality, passions, and point of view.”

Among the uses for blogs, the most popular are:
  • to ‘document my life’–or for personal expression–the blog as an online diary
  • to comment–or in order to express one’s personal opinions on public maters
  • to get catharsis–or in order to express one’s strong emotions
  • to find inspiration–or in order to inspire one’s “muse,” the inspiration to expression
  • to build community–or in order to provide a place for the lively discussion of engaging ideas

Nardi, et al contend that blogging is  a “flourishing phenomenon” that will be used  for the foreseeable future. They conclude (2004), “Blogging is an unusually versatile medium, employed for everything from spontaneous release of emotion to archivable support of group collaboration and community.”

Wang and Hsua (2008) present a case study of using blogs for a specific academic purpose–to “expand in-class discussion in a teacher-education program.” They find that users enjoy the immediacy and interactivity of the medium. They find that “learning may be more meanigful when students are able to exhange ideas and to negotiate meanings with their peers in a social learning environment.”And as our Concordia cohort experience so far has shown us, learning through posting allows a powerful learning experience since it “gives participants more time to reflect on and to better articulate their ideas.”

Wang and Hsua (2008) also mention the increased quality that results from students knowing that their writing has a real-world audience, something members of our cohort have pointed out. They cite Gary (2003) and Repman, Zinskie, & Carlson (2005), who find that “knowing that their writing is available to the public, students might have stronger motivation to write well so that the quality of their writing might shine.”
 
References:
Nardi, B.A. & Schiano, D.J., Gumbrecht, M. & Swartz, L. (2004). “Why we blog.” Communications
of the ACM
, 47(12), 41-46.

Wang, Shiang-Kwei and Hui-Yin Hsua (2008). “Reflections on Using Blogs to Expand In-class Discussion.” TechTrends, Vol. 52, N. 3. 81- 85.

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