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BELLTONES: Celebrating Communicating--To Blog or Not to Blog?

By Mary Ann Bell - Posted Jan 1, 2008
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Did I show up for the party too late? I am hearing that country song in my head, "Turn out the lights, the party’s overrrrrr …" I started my own blog recently and since then I have seen some comments that suggest the blogosphere may be imploding, exploding, or otherwise meeting its demise. I got worried when I heard this opinion being voiced by someone I greatly admire, Dr. Carol Simpson, Library Media Connections editor, prolific writer, and University of North Texas professor. In a recent LM_NET posting, she stated, "Frankly, blogs are going to go the way of newsgroups, to which they are related. Newsgroups died because email software got better at filtering and organizing."

Dr. Simpson’s assessment is partly based on the fact that blogs are difficult to search. Tagging is said by some to be the solution to this, but so far it has not lived up to the promise, or so say blog critics. Further, she points out a blog is something you have to go to, and many ask who has time for that, even with RSS?

I went looking for people who agree with Dr. Simpson and find them I did, as Yoda would say. Lots of librarians and teachers report that their days are already too full without making time to follow blogs. Many other blog critics are from the business world and, efficient types that such folks are, they also bemoan the difficulty of searching and then finding time to read. Consulting periodical databases turned up several articles promoting these views.

But wait! Next I came across a quotation from someone else I admire, The Landmark Project’s David Warlick! He is quoted in Steve Hargadon’s blog as saying that, of all the technologies, blogging is the one that still most excites him, because it is all about "conversation." Teachers keep telling him how excited students get about writing. Assignments stop being "assignments," but become engaged conversations. And it’s so simple, allowing students to get to the conversation quickly without a lot of preparation by giving them opportunities to blog.


This article is available in its entirety in a variety of formats — Preview (free), Full Text, Text+Graphics, and Page Image PDF — on a pay-per-view basis, courtesy of ITI's InfoCentral. CLICK HERE.

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