Urge people to blog?

Here is yet another teacher’s account describing his efforts to involve people in blog discussions, to balance participation, “to activate the long tail”. I think, when people are urged or even mandated to blog, the novel phenomenon is thoroughly misrecognized.

Blogging is a great new something in between:

  • between boring oral class discussions, and boring lonely creation of homework artefacts,
  • between boring corporate manual writing/reading, and boring meeting discussions,
  • between monopolized mass broadcasting of popular web content, and atomized, contextless, poorly linked information bits,
  • between push and pull media,
  • and even (in a way) between literacy and “orality” extremes.

This serendipituous blend has the potential to accommodate people with certain cognitive styles preferences who had not been comfortable with both of the respective extremes. If, however, urging and mandating becomes necessary to cause people to blog, then something is obviously wrong. Blogging’s middle position should not be misunderstood as a one-size-fits-all solution to be (ab-)used as a prescribed general communication vehicle. Instead, it could be seen as a welcomed gap-filler and as a chance to let people individually choose their favorite cognitive techniques from the thus enhanced palette, and facilitators could concentrate on finding new ways to connect the varying styles.

If a blog discussion emerges, that’s great. But if discussions are the primary goal and this goal is superimposed on the new, differently focussed blog usage, e. g. emulating legacy listserv-like behaviour within the new medium, then the success is questionable. Similarly, if blogging is discovered as a great vehicle to capture corporate knowledge and therefore becomes an obligation, it won’t thrive and will soon be misunderstood as a failed hype.

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