Nancy Peralta has picked up on the student blogging thread and points to some of her own reasons for keeping a Weblog, the main one being audience. I love her enthusiasm:
To me, blogging is all about the audience – it’s about the fact that there IS an audience. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t get any response from readers. I know because I’ve tried journaling about a dozen times and never kept it up longer than a week or two. It’s the interaction between my readers and I, my reading other blogs, and my ideas being picked up on other blogs and commented about that keeps me blogging. It’s the audience and community, the reading/writing connection, that makes blogging so fantastic for me!
I’m sure most of us wouldn’t be doing this in any sustained fashion if we didn’t think anyone was reading. Just look at the voice that we use in our posts. We’re all definitely writing to someone, and that motivates us (most of us) to write clearly and thoughtfully and relevantly (is that a word?) Audience dictates our selection of topic (Is this too personal? Is it too silly? Will anyone else care?), it dictates our tone (Is this readable? Is it too pedantic?), and it begs us to revise (Are there mistakes? Is this confusing?) I know I’ve referred to this before, but that Donald Murray philosophy is always at the core: good writing is a conversation with the reader. Audience matters. (Yesterday, in fact, I decided to check the referrer logs for our library Weblog, and wouldn’t you know, as soon as I forwarded the results to our librarians, there were a bunch of new posts on the site.)
“I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t get any response from readers.”
Nancy also points out, as have others, that student blogging starts with little or no audience, and least none that is not constructed for a particular blogging environment. But Nancy talks about a simple yet potentially effective idea for solving that problem in creating what she calls “blog alliances.” Hook up with other teachers whose kids are blogging and have them read and respond back. She’s done this with her students and Anne‘s kids with good success. In fact, I’ve done it with Anne’s classes with great success. But I think Nancy wants to push this idea to a wider circle.
I think there is some potential for this as more and more teachers start using Weblogs. Maybe we need some type of clearinghouse for teachers looking for other teachers to work with. Another good idea to put into the mix.
And by the way, if you really want to see some GREAT fifth-grade blogging, check out Emily’s site from Anne’s group in Georgia. She was one of the students that my journalists worked with last year in an early blog alliance we set up, and she’s just doing amazing things. It’s really inspiring. Now the big question is, will Emily be blogging in high school???