Saturday, June 12, 2004

Blog Listings

Been busy submitting my blog to various indexes and listings, and adding their links to my blog. I worry that this will detract somewhat from my blog’s image, as I know I tend to view others who list their blog in every available index as a bit too desperate for an audience. But I am building a blog assignment for my fall classes, and I want my students to list their blog on at least one index outside of class, so that they can get the feel of “going public”. Consequently, I need to provide a fairly extensive list of available options, easy links to those sites, and I need to be familiar with these services myself. So, I figure I have to do it myself first.

I have found reading through the listings very enlightening, and I think my first informal (i.e., non-graded) homework assignment will be for my students to browse a few listings. One of the things I would like my students to do is decide what makes an interesting, arresting blog description (most under 300 words) and what causes them to skip immediately to the next entry, before they attempt to write one themselves. I know that for myself, 85% of the descriptions are an immediate turn off. “The daily musings of a frustrated teen”, for example, or “The boring diary of a boring average guy” pretty much tells me that these people have nothing original to say. We take people at their own assessment, at least initially, so a blog description is not the place to be self-deprecating. The last class in which I used a blog assignment often billed their blogs as “a class assignment for ED 3603” which is not only too self-referential for those outside the campus context, but an obvious kiss of death to any public readership. I shall insist on something more engaging this term.

I know my own description is probably too pompous to attract many readers (and the title strikes many people as either arrogant or self-deprecating, depending on how its read) so I am probably in no position to criticize, but I have to be a bit careful what I say in a course context. And the title is from my former FAPA zine (of which more later) so I like the continuity even if it is perhaps a bit off putting in a blog context. But probably not the best role modeling.

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