the novelty of blogs is wearing off?

I took one of Jill’s classes two years ago and got addicted to blogging. I still keep it up although I don’t write as much anymore, partly because of what Elin said I think: it’s too separated. Facebook, flickr etc. connects, and are more “chill out” places where it’s ok to simply goof around and say “hey what’s up.” You’re more free when it comes to how much you want to read and write, and you don’t have to bring in anything new and fresh. I still like to write, but don’t have the time and facebook is such a brilliant way to keep in touch with friends from all over the world. I hardly ever e-mail these people anymore. Simply post on their walls and comment on their pictures. It’s an easier, simpler and faster way of keeping track of everyone. Maybe it’s like– fastfood online socializing? —Inathe novelty of blogs is wearing off? (jill/txt)

The quote is from one of Jill Walker’s students.

I have noticed much the same thing. My freshmen are coming into school with an intense, well-developed online social network, so blogging doesn’t feel attractive and innovative. It’s just another kind of homework for them.

I have carefully kept the blogging homework associated with responses to assigned readings, as part of a long-term strategy to get students to write focused responses to specific passages in the assigned readings, rather than simply restating the main point in their own words or writing, “There is a lot of symbolism in this story. [List of symbols and what they mean.] Discussion question: Do you agree that there is a lot of symbolism in this story?”

Something new I’ve done this year is have students in an upper-level course blog once a week on a literary term that they had to look up while doing their other reading. I also have students blog their notes for oral presentations.

I’m very pleased with the academic quality of the blogging (most students in that class have blogged for me at least two or three times already). But there is definitely less online socializing, less of students posting their extra-curricular poetry and inviting peer feedback, etc.

I don’t think that’s a bad thing — its a sign that the SHU blogs were ahead of their time, and what was experimental for us is now increasingly mainstream.