There are some things that become so ubiquitous and familiar to us – so seemingly obvious – that we forget that they actually had to be invented. Here’s a case in point – the weblog post’s permalink. I mean – let’s think about it. The problem was that a weblog’s front page is by far its most visited page. This is the page where everyone actually sees your content (or at least it was until the creation of RSS feeds). But it’s not possible for someone to effectively bookmark or link to that particular entry on that page, because shortly it will scroll off the bottom. Added to that, bookmarks operate at the level of pages, not posts. So how do you handle that? —Tom Coates —On Permalinks and Paradigms… (Plasticbag.org)
I’m saving this for the next time I teach “Writing for the Internet,” but also for the next time I introduce blogging to a class. Some students get the whole package right away, but others need to be brought along in stages.
This year, I asked students to get used to blogging their reactions to texts by having them post brief comments on the course website, then bring 200-word reflection papers to class. I then asked students to move their initial brief comment to their own blog, asked them to read and comment on peer blogs, and invited them to post the 200-word reflection on their own blog, if they wished.
I lost some students along the way, by which I mean that some students stopped posting regularly, which means that their first blogging portfolio was a frustrating exercise in writing furiously in order to catch up.
But I added an extra blog portfolio, and moved the first due date up, so that students would quickly get the chance to see just why it is more valuable to blog a little bit each day, rather than wait until the night before the portfolio. We’ll see how it turns out.
Coates credits Matt Haughey with the term “permalink” and Paul Barusch with the concept “permanent link”.