The Power of the Comments Section & Finally Pulling the Trigger on My Re-Purposing Topic

Re-reading Andrew Sullivan’s piece, “Why I Blog”, after blogging for the last month certainly reaffirmed some of his main points. Though I have “blogged” in the past (some various struggling tech websites that saw very few page views), I had never had the immediate feedback offered in the Gateway Blog. Specifically, there was a night where the members of my group, Sarah, Katherine, and I were all responding to each other’s blog posts at the same time. The result was far more conversational than I had anticipated, more back-and-forth. Sullivan’s point of how blogging offers feedback that doesn’t have to travel through a hierarchy of people, editors and such, before reaching the writer really hit home. Even in my English 398 course, when we write a paper, we can expect at least a week before we get any feedback. Sullivan points out that this sort of lag time doesn’t exist in blogging, and it really hold writers accountable.

That is another thing I have realized. Usually when blogging, I have music on. The mood is far less stressful compared to when writing a paper, and the words just seem to flow from my fingers to the keyboard to the screen. By the way, for anyone really serious about writing, I would seriously recommend a mechanical keyboard, I just got one, and though they are really loud and “clicky”, the feel is incredible. You receive tactile feedback for each keystroke, so it makes typing fast and furious really easy/satisfying/less error prone. Just a random side note. But back to the topic at hand, my writing doesn’t go through as many “filters” when I blog, and this can end up with lots of errors. For example, in my first paragraph of this very post, I found myself making plural words into their possessive form. I blame the insane amount of caffeine coursing through my veins. But Sullivan points out that although blogging is so “now” that it needs this brutal, fast, feedback. I have noticed in the numerous blogs I followed that silly typos are fairly prevalent  and in the comments sections there is always someone who has pointed it out before I could. Sometimes the author will make a quick edit and it’s done. Authors who make a trend of this are roundly ridiculed in the comment sections, with posts such as, “Wow, Gizmodo’s writing staff has really fallen through the cracks, can we get some bloggers who aren’t straight out of high school?”

Quickly toughing on the re-purposing project, I finally pulled the trigger on my topic. I chose a research paper for an informatics class sophomore year here at UofM, where I touched on the negative effects of students spending their free time freshmen year on facebook and generally holed up in their dorm rooms. Instead of being forced to leave their rooms for interaction or to keep up on current school events, they can stay seated. I love technology, but I have always thought back to what it would be like to attend UofM the same year as my parents did, in the 1970’s, and how different it would be. I think that we will start seeing a more socially awkward cohort of college students this generation, as real-time interactions are viewed as far more out of the ordinary than a text message or wall post on Facebook. I plan on re-purposing the project as a cautionary pamphlet for freshmen at UofM, targeting new incoming freshmen. We’ll see how this goes.

3 thoughts to “The Power of the Comments Section & Finally Pulling the Trigger on My Re-Purposing Topic”

  1. The most interesting thing about your situation is that everything is directly connected to your repurposing topic – the rise in technological communication for college students. Yet, look at what we are doing here…responding to your thoughts on this topic via blog comments. Also, you mentioned here that one main difference for you between blogging and academic writing is that you usually need silence to write an academic essay, but can write a blog post while listening to music. Also something interesting to consider. You can definitely use all of this information in your re-purposing essay! I can’t wait to see what you come up with

  2. “Specifically, there was a night where the members of my group, Sarah, Katherine, and I were all responding to each other’s blog posts at the same time. The result was far more conversational than I had anticipated, more back-and-forth.” YES! That was terrific.

    Also, maybe a link to “mechanical keyboard” you’re talking about, and/or a pic of one? 🙂 On that topic, I think the structure of this post, including the aside about the keyboard, is lovely.

    1. I would relate it, kinda, to typing on a typewriter, except 5000% more accurate. Waaay more accurate and precise than typical keyboards, the audible ‘click’ trains you to not always press the keys down all the way, only until you hear the click. The ‘tactile’ aspect of typing completely changes. Here’s my the keyboard I’m using/my writing utopia: http://i.imgur.com/ALyCS.jpg?1
      Also, here’s a post that goes through what a mechanical keyboard is:http://www.pcworld.com/article/240939/mechanical_keyboards_should_you_switch_.html

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