Monday, December 14, 2009

The goal of a blog

This blog, which was initially started to complete a requirement for a previous class, forgotten, and then reborn for another class has me thinking about what blogs are for, and how they can be used in a class.  You see, there is a word requirement for the entries in the blog aspect of this class.  It is not huge mind you, but I think it detracts from the blogginess of the blog.  A blog is for ideas and thoughts whether they are big or small.  Having a word count has actually stopped me or made me hesitate to post a blog entry on an idea I have.  I think to myself "why write something if it will not count?  Can I fluff up my idea into something longer?"

The problem with these thoughts is thus:  The value of a blog entry should not be measured by the length or even possibly depth of an entry.  What makes a compelling entry (and having a compelling blog is the goal because blogs are all about audience) is something that engages the reader.  Sometimes a simple question is enough to create a conversation in your comments section.  Sometimes a post briefly sharing a recent discovery is enough to make a reader think and check back later.  So a person should never hesitate as to whether or not they should post something if they think it is of value.  And if one were to bloat an entry to meet a word count they might run the risk of turning an engaging idea or question into something boring and unnecessarily long.  Brevity is the friend of both the blogger and the blog reader. 

Maybe there is an answer to how to work with blog requirements in classes.  I'm sure there are some people who are better at periodic longer entries, and I am sure there are some people who would do better with posting more frequently but with shorter entries.  I have new ideas that I like to run by my colleagues every day.  They may not be huge topics, but some people would find them interesting.  Maybe a class could have two models of a blog.  Maybe the requirement has multiple choices.  Maybe you must post ten 500 word entries OR post at least every other day with at least a paragraph in each entry (You don't want tweets).  How does this sound?

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