Blog vs. forum preferences

Jenny’s, John’s, and Roy’s survey closed last night, so I can finally post my opinion which was heavily influenced by intensive discussions with them.

I won’t talk about learning styles, personal connections/ emotional comfort, and technical choices, because I trust that their results will present interesting findings here (although I do not have any access to any of their results). Rather, I will speculate about a difference which is probably too vague to show in such an early research as theirs: About preferences regarding conceptual connections.

While both bloggers and forum lovers on CCK08 value diverse, non-linear, “big picture” style conversations, there might be subtle differences in the type of conceptual connections that both camps feel most comfortable with. This differences affect the “closeness” or “nearness” of the concepts, ideas, and aspects under discussion, both

  • “spatially” (integrated on the same thread page or close-by discussion thread on the central platform?),
  • and temporally (diverse but related ideas being discussed in quick succession, with the previous ones still lively in mind when turning to new ones?).

The contrasting pattern of less “nearness” manifests itself as links between blogs, by which the bloggers cited the ideas of their peers on their own local blogs, commented them on the peer’s remote blog, or/and used pingbacks to refer to from the remote peer’s ideas back to their own ideas on their local blog. This connection type made for considerably distant, selected, initially weak links, which could, however develop into strong links by repeatedly citing and linking back and forth. The delay of such links was typically 1-3 days.

I guess that moodlers have more preference for quick, “rapid-fire” discussion style than bloggers, in contrast to the bloggers’ preference for slow blogging. Similarly, more moodlers than bloggers feel distracted by dispersed, distributed links.

I am waiting with great eagerness for Jenny’s, John’s, and Roy’s results on personal connections, because the personal and the conceptual levels of connections are the heart of connectivism. If there should be a similarity or congruency of the respective differences in personal and conceptual connections, this would give reason to further research investigating if there is a cause for similarities beyond the shared metaphor. A first conjecture might point into the direction of early childhood conceptualization of inanimate objects (concepts) as animate ones (i. e. persons).

I am also curious about their findings on the technical layer and the learning styles, in addition to the personal and conceptual connection layers, because ideally, these four areas (initially identified by Jenny) might be linked together to a nice round picture.

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5 Responses to Blog vs. forum preferences

  1. Hello Matthias – it’s good to ‘hear’ your voice again. What a coincidence that the antispam word required for this comment is ‘socialization’!

    I would love to hear a little more about your first conjecture of early childhood conceptualization of inanimate objects (concepts) as animate ones (i. e. persons). What do you have in mind here?


  2. x28 says:

    Jenny, I thought of small children seeing things as living beings which can be, for example, talked to and interacted with in the same way as animate persons. So their preferences regarding the relationships among concepts and among persons might develop together, and develop in a similar way.

  3. Hi Matthias,
    I have responded to your post via an email with mindmaps. Enjoy.

  4. roy says:

    Matthias, I love your analysis of conceptual closeness. I read it as “weak/slow/days” links, deepening and consolidating(blogs), versus “strong/ fast/ hours” links, dissipating or resolving. This might be an oversimplification of your metaphor.

    It raises interesting issues and metaphors about the resonance between the cognitive and personal. It also raises very interesting issues about ‘thoughts in progress’ and different modes or even genres of conceptual exploration and articulation – the question is, are blogs or forums more or less thoughtful, superficial, ‘cognitive’ (as in ‘cognitivist’), wholistic, efficient (in terms of ‘cognitive outcomes’ etc.

    In a draft article on affordances (see the links to Reed’s paper at: I use Reed’s distinction between ‘indicational’ interaction between pre-linguistic infant and parent, on the one hand and ‘propositional’ interaction (later on) on the other hand, to define ‘affordances’ in a way that rejects the dualism between the cognitive and the material. You might find this of interest.

  5. x28 says:

    Roy, thank you very much for the encouraging and stimulating comment. While i would not completely agree with your weak vs. strong distinction, I definitely find of interest your thoughts about pre-linguistic non-propositional concepts and I thank you for the pointer to Reed.

    Thank you all three, and I wish you all the best for your survey evaluation.

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