My blog history is best compared to a telenovela. Passionate beginnings followed by drawn out break-ups. Promises of commitment interrupted by threats of abandonment. Short-lived reunions interspersed with long spells of neglect.
Starting with my first blog in my sophomore year of college, I spent five years switching from one blog service to another, hoping that a change in applications would lead to a change in habit – I was the bad craftsman blaming my tools.
This is my opportunity, not only to have a structured environment and a sense of responsibility to write regularly, but to rethink the role of blogs in my academic life.
Because, of course, the problem couldn’t be me. For one, while the lack of readership was both a deterrent and a relief – sure, no one was reading, but at least no one was judging – it didn’t help my motivation. Additionally, while the subjects I was addressing felt important to me in the moment, merely recording them without a link to something more enduring seemed inconsequential. Finally, there always seemed to be something better to do. Even while researching and filming a documentary film in Ecuador this summer – prime material for a blog – I ended up quitting after three posts. Living the experiences felt more important than reflecting on them. I resigned myself to this promiscuous blog style, but remained with a feeling of guilt about my lack of consistency.
When I sat down with Brad to discuss this gnovis New Media position, I knew my weakness would be blogging. But after a year at CCT and several months of daily interaction with my Google Reader, I had also come to value blogs in a different way. This is an experiment with this new value system and its potential effect on my blog productivity. This is my opportunity, not only to have a structured environment and a sense of responsibility to write regularly, but to rethink the role of blogs in my academic life. So, I’ve been rethinking.
Here are three reasons why it will be different this time.
1. Instead of treating blogging as a narcissistic indulgence, I now consider it a social responsibility.
I don’t mean to make it sound like a burden; it’s actually the opposite. As a gnovis staff member, I feel a much greater motivation to engage with the community the journal serves rather than simply indulge myself in transcribing my life events.
2. Instead of treating blogging as a space to recount my experiences, I now consider it a space where I can link my experiences with intellectual frameworks.
As I see it, the act of abstracting anecdotes creates a discursive space where those that have not had the experience can participate in its analysis. Additionally, the connection with a theory disassociates the experience from its specific context and, as Brad suggests, "narrow[s] the gap between pure critical theory and contemporary ‘real world’ issues."
In my case as a CCT student, there isn’t anything better I can be doing: the most important experience I can be having is one of reflection and critical consideration. It remains a question for me whether the blog serves as an escape from or a complement to academic work; in either case, I now see it as a crucial component.
Reframing my concept of blogs has helped ease my anxiety about my spotted history. It is my hope that it might do the same for some of you who are hesitating to post. Of course, all of these remain questions. What is the role of the blog in an academic setting? What is the nature of bloggers’ responsibility to the greater community? What is the value in treating experience as analytical work?
We all love a good soap opera, but this time I want to make sure it has a happy ending. I look forward to your comments and to serving as a member of the New Media team.