Alan Levine observes that some significant voices in the edublogging sphere seem to be going quiet. He cites David Carter-Todd and David Davies, and I would have to add Sebastian Feidler, Pam Pritchard and Sarah Lohnes as three other voices I’ve been missing lately. Alan says:
It appears, with some rough guestimation, that it takes about a year before a regular eduBlogger reaches the burn-out point…. which means I have about 3 months left in the gas gauge before I start to f-a-d-e away. Seriously, it calls into question how the practice of blogging will sustain, or is the norm that there will be waves of new passionate bloggers on the speed curve, and the waning decline of the seasoned writers? What will become of this litter of un-maintained blogs, proliferating Google-dom? Does it mean we get more echo blogging (direct regurgitation of news from elsewhere) and less original writing? What can it mean for educators who have high hopes of students keeping up a regular blog pace?
These are great questions, no doubt, and relevant in many ways to my recent attempts to get a clearer grip on what we really have here. Notice that all the names mentioned above are writers who for the most part did more than just post links to interesting finds. They were “bloggers” in the sense that I defined it before. And in that sense, blogging requires effort and commitment, something that is in this screwed up, overwhelming time is certainly easy to lose. Fading away is not surprising. Original writing is work.
Which is precisely why “blogging” is valuable. If it didn’t take effort, it wouldn’t be worth doing, worth learning from, and worth teaching. Linking is valuable, but it’s not hard. I don’t learn much from pointing to an interesting find. I do learn a lot, however, when I have to synthesize what I find and make it my own, and then spit it back out for an audience (real or perceived) that I hope will continue the process. I guess to me blogging is more the linking of thoughts than the links of, um, links.
For educators, I’m not sure this has any huge implications. More and more I see this being accepted primarily as just (!) a tool. It’s going to take a very long time for enough people to recognize it as a valuable genre or form to teach writing and information literacy and analysis. And who knows, maybe no one ever will. I see Anne is trying to work her way through this with her “Wrinkles” group:
We’re going to talk about all this and work on our new weblogs. Can’t wait! We may try to “tweak” Mr. Richardson’s writing a bit and have a model for elementary kids! Maybe we can create our own dynamic little community and who knows what all could evolve from such a good learning journey. Many say that it may not be possible and elementary students can’t do this. What do you think?
It the “this” part that we’re all trying to define. What is it, in fact, that we’re trying to do? Maybe Web logs as tool (read: portal, online filing cabinet, collaborative space) is enough. I think once we work out some of the kinks, we’ll see a lot of people adopt the tool. But sustaining a Web log or teaching blogging as a valuable way to write…I just dunno.
Mike Arnzen says
Thoughtful post! Thanks for this. I have similar musings from time to time about the nature of blogging. The serial nature of blogging does indeed take a level of commitment, especially to the writing itself. I suspect any other agenda is simply not sustainable without blowing a gasket, eventually.