Now don’t get me wrong, I reeaaalllyyy appreciate the mention of Weblogg-ed as a “smart site” in the “Blog On” story in Edutopia’s new July issue. Really. But can anyone tell me why, in a magazine that is all about education, is the act of blogging represented by this picture:
And this definition of blogs:
Blogs, short for Weblogs, are online journals filled with personal thoughts and Web links. “Free thinking and linking” is what prominent education blogger (and former Knight-Ridder columnist) calls the increasingly popular mode of mass communication.
I give up.
I really do.
If the people in our own space don’t start getting this pretty soon, I think I’m just gonna get barefoot on the couch and work on my Xanga site all day.
John Pederson says
In stark contrast…
It’s 10:14pm on a Monday evening in June. Kids and wife are finally asleep. Half can of (still cold) Diet Mountain Dew alongside. Headphones on listening to the sweet accent of David Warlick. Dropping a few comments throughout the blogosphere. Refreshing NetNewsWire every 10 minutes. “Self…what would it take to move from Furl to Jots?” “Who’s changing more, Apple or Intel?” “Is it about time to change my WordPress theme?”
Tom Hoffman says
I strongly encourage you to drop the blogging vs. journaling jihad. It has brought you only grief. That horse has been out of the barn for a long, long time.
Will R. says
C’mon Tom. I know where the horse is. The grieving period is over. There is only the battle… Onward! Socks be damned!
David Warlick says
I understand your frustration. To be honest, I can’t think of any single picture that might portray blogging, except, perhaps, a diagram. What challenges journalists, is that they may only be able to devote one sentence to a definition of weblogs, and journaling is, at its basis, what we are doing. What is missed, in my opinion, is all of the interconnectedness that has evolved out of the process, and its changing nature as conversation that has given weblogs so much value in education.
Will, how would you define weblogs, if you only had one sentence?
Will R. says
Hey David. Thanks for posting. In most cases, I’d agree with you. But this is an education magazine that highlights technology that should, I think, squeeze in some type of description that at least acknowledges that blog communication in an educational context is conversation rather than dairy type monologue, can be much more than journaling, can be an intellectual exchange of ideas, can be a place for reflection and synthesis, etc. And as for the picture, at minimum how about students working on a computer? If I’m this editor and I want to portray blogs in a learning context (whether, as in this instance, the focus is on teachers or, in other cases, on students) I couldn’t imagine using a stock photo of a pretty, barefoot woman on lounging on a couch with her computer. I wouldn’t subtitle the article “Online, off the cuff, and in your face.” (Oy.) I also wouldn’t point people to EBN, which, although a great idea, has been dormant for two years. Not great work, I think.
When AOL connects the alluring face of an 18-year old girl to their blogging product, I get it. When Edutopia doesn’t do it much differently, I don’t get it.
Believe me, I’m not losing sleep over this…
Scott Young says
Will, I completely agree with you. The Edutopia folks seem to think that blogging barefoot on the couch is what is happening with the technology. Laughable ignorance in the face of an obvious reality. I can guarantee that what you are doing in the classroom and what Motorola, Wells Fargo, The Hartford and countless academic institutions from Harvard to the Denver Public School System are doing with blogs at this very minute has nothing to do with the inane “online journals” obfuscation of the 2nd generation web technology that is changing the basic paradigm for how we create and consume content. An intellect produces content and this is where the content is going. The library of human thought is growing larger by the millisecond. You just have to listen. Its still early, maybe someday they will understand.
Alan Levine says
It’s even worse. When I got a print version of Edutopia, I can see very clearly that the laptop computer used by the Woman On The Couch is a Apple G3 Lombard (http://www.apple-history.com/frames/pg3sbronze.html) circa 1999-2000. If so, wow, this blogger chick was ahead of her time, Will, so do not sell her short;-)
Kidding aside, there is alot to be side by some of the assumptions created and perhaps not transmitted by the use of photos/pictures as metaphors. I have seen tons of ads and promo materials for educational technology that continue to foster the teacher as lecturer modality, the library as a place of books, and computer learning as rows of students behind rows of computers.
Editors need a better sense of what is being jargon-ed around as “visual literacy”.
Raj Boora says
The first time you posted that pic, I was thinking the same way that you are thing – WT Heck?? But this time, something changed. It seems that this picture suggests the easy and comfort with which blogging can be done (granted, much of it is not barefoot on the couch, but it is possible).
The current boom in blogging may have just as much to do with people becoming comfortable with the technology as it has to do with them having something important to say.