Response to Sullivan & Brandt

One of the reason why I’ve always thought blogging has become a dominant form of writing is because of the increased connection and decreased distance between writers and their readers. It’s plain to see that the home of the blog, the internet, is the major factor in this coalescence. Brandt expounded upon the phenomena of writers overtaking readers in terms of prevalence, and it’s the blog that’s to thank (or blame) for this fact. Her assertion begs the question, “What will happen when everybody starts to write their own words before they’ve read those of others?” Blogging makes writing so easy and appealing that anyone online can do it, but will writers actually improve or just become more plentiful?

Sullivan points out that a major reason why he blogs is because of the constant connection between bloggers and their readers and their lightning insight, comments, and critique. I think this gives way to a healthy process of discourse, but, as made clear by every comment section ever, it quickly can get messy. So is heavy moderation the key, or are should commenters just duke it out? I think ultimately it comes down to a case-by-case basis, but it should be the people’s say. Sites like Reddit that use a system of upvotes and downvotes have adapted well to this issue, and I think blogs can do it too. This can also be a solution to filter out fluff, and keep writers informed when they go to post their work. By embracing the blog as a form of collaborative writing, authors and readers can abide by the majority, and ultimately continue a practice that is both educational and progressive.

Bloggin’ Girl.

Moment of honesty: blogging is still a process for this girl. While I blogged for my study abroad experience this past spring (separately for my program requirements and for my job), I still am not an effortless blogger. Sometimes I feel Andrew Sullivan must just spit rhymes in the form of blogs with such ease. After perusing some of your blog posts for this week, Joe’s three-prong blog characterization really struck me. His first prong reads, “Blogging is instant.” Yes and no, Joe. Yes and no.

In “Why I Blog,” Sullivan goes to great lengths to explain the immediacy of the blog form – that words can be disseminated across the world in the span of seconds. But it is seconds… not a second. It’s an almost-instant… not an instant. I feel like my evolution of blogging is like jumping from rock to rock in a fast-moving creek. (Hold on to your seats because this may get deep.) It’s like the water is opinion, judgement and, ultimately, the eyes that skim my work. The rocks are moments of writing clarity, where I feel like I’m expressing what I want to say in the way I want to say it, and at the moment I want to make it known. Isn’t that what all this is about? Making your thoughts known, yourself heard?

Blogging is not an instant act for me. It involves vocally organizing my words, forming a unique thread or theme to weave through each post, using sentences to communicate that theme and tying up loose ends or underdeveloped ideas to finally post it in cyberspace. This is far from instantaneous. My creative juices need to stretch and get warmed up before the World Wide Web is going to have the freedom (and right, quite frankly) to judge my words.

Moving forward with the re-purposing and re-mediating projects, I know this will still be a process. I know that I need to allow for time to rip my apart work and put it back together.

I know I have to give myself the opportunity to land on as many rocks as I possibly can.

Garnet Canyon – Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

One of the purest places on Earth.

 

Why I Blog

Of the three articles we read, Andrew Sullivan’s “Why I Blog” definitely resonated with me the most.  As I was reading it my mind immediately began overflowing with ideas and questions about how this generation of bloggers with “online presences” is changing the meaning of writing.

I have never really taken the time to think about how different blogging is from traditional writing.  In our cyber world of constant Facebook status updates and Tweets using less than 160 characters, most of the writing we encounter is written extremely concisely and in real-time.  Sullivan says, “But a blog, unlike a diary, is instantly public. It transforms this most personal and retrospective of forms into a painfully public and immediate one. It combines the confessional genre with the log form and exposes the author in a manner no author has ever been exposed before.” The world has never been exposed to writing that is so blatantly public.  Anyone with access to the Internet now has the ability to immediately broadcast their feelings to the entire world with just the click of one button. “The simple experience of being able to directly broadcast my own words to readers was an exhilarating literary liberation.”  This medium fosters an entirely new genre of writing in which the possibilities are endless.  As Sullivan mentions, “Every writer since the printing press has longed for a means to publish himself and reach—instantly—any reader on Earth.”  This is truly a revolutionary phenomenon.

Not only does blogging allow writers to instantly reach any reader on earth, but it allows them to engage them.  Blogging is directly intertwined with the central underlying theme of the social media generation that we live in today: sharing.  The culture of social media online is all about people being able to share their ideas and express themselves.  Just as people engage in conversations and groups on Facebook and Twitter, readers can engage in lively and passionate discussions on blogs.  “To blog is therefore to let go of your writing in a way, to hold it at arm’s length, open it to scrutiny, allow it to float in the ether for a while, and to let others, as Montaigne did, pivot you toward relative truth.”  The purpose of blogging is therefore radically different from traditional writing.  It’s immediate purpose is to propose new and interesting ideas in real time, and hope to spark conversation of new ideas.  As Sullivan notes, “The role of a blogger is not to defend against this but to embrace it. He is similar in this way to the host of a dinner party. He can provoke discussion or take a position, even passionately, but he also must create an atmosphere in which others want to participate.”

Reading this article made me unbelievably excited to get started on my own blog and begin to spark exciting conversations!

 

 

 

Why I Write (response)

I started by reading Orwell’s piece and immediately identified with his comment on how he initially produced “made-to-order stuff” for people when he wrote. I feel like that is the majority of what I end up writing, especially in the hectic college scene where I am required to churn out dozens of papers in a certain format. However, Orwell goes on to break down the reasons writers have the impulse to write when they are not being forced to. I thought his four reasons were very insightful. One of the only times I currently find myself not writing for class is when I jot down a sentence or two about my day in order to preserve my memories for later reflection. I feel like this tendency is similar to the “historical impulse” Orwell describes – I want to keep these facts/moments about my day for later use.

I found Didion’s piece to be humorous, yet a little hard to follow or relate to. Although I did not really identify with her comment that she writes to answer questions that she does not know the answers to, I found it intriguing and a great look into the mind of a published author.

Sullivan’s piece on why he blogs was refreshing because, until now, I have never blogged. It was fascinating to read his description and interpretation of what blogging is. I think I will try to remember his comment that blogging is “writing out loud” whenever I have to blog over the course of the writing minor. I appreciated the reasons he described for why he blogs and can see why this can be an appealing way to write and garner many readers and instant feedback. However, I sometimes find it hard to hear other’s criticisms, so I think that this could be a rude shock to me if I ever start blogging more religiously!

Blogging Evolved

Blogging has never appealed to me. My writing experience and style is rooted in more traditional journalism and other research-based writing. Naively, I thought that since the tenets of blogging were antithetical to more traditional writing, there was no place for it. Yet Andrew Sullivan makes a great case that the “free-form, accident-prone, less formal and more alive” aspects of blogging are to be embraced rather than be frowned upon. Sullivan admits that blogging cannot “provide permanent perspective” like more traditional forms of writing do, but this new form still has carved out an important niche.

Sullivan hails blogging as being “rich in personality.” Sure, arms of traditional writing such as reflective pieces, personal narratives and poetry could be personal, but a blog’s presence on the web and the bond a blogger has with readers is certainly unique; this writer-reader connection is unprecedented. After reading Sullivan’s piece, I have a restored appreciation for blogging and its presence as a form of writing.

Moreover, Sullivan’s piece seems to be a fitting evolution of what George Orwell and Joan Didion wrote in their respective pieces. Orwell’s relationship with readers is rooted in his own motives to write: “sheer egoism,” “aesthetic enthusiasm,” “historical impulse,” and “political purpose.” All of these motives deal with either the writer’s self-satisfaction or making an impact on the reader. Joan Didion also wrote about the personal stake in her writing, saying that it is “the act of saying ‘I.’ What motivated Orwell and Didion to write was their own gratification and the gratification of influencing others. In Sullivan’s world of blogging, those two spheres of motivation come together in a more direct relationship.

 

Twitter: The Mini Blog

When I finished my first Intro to Writing class yesterday I thought to myself, “I’m in trouble.” What do I know about blogging? The answer that rang certain in my head was absolutely nothing. I tried to make a blog once… It was called “Sarah Out Loud” and I updated it maybe once. I didn’t understand it and I knew that nobody would ever look at it besides me so what the point, anyways?

So that’s it. Thats the only time I have ever blogged.

Or so I thought. (Yes, this is a piece of self-realization.)

While reading Andrew Sullivans, “Why I Blog”, I found myself in a sync with the author. He started off right off the bat by saying something that I never thought about before: The word blog is a conflation of two words: Web and log. HMM! Right then and there I knew this was going to be an interesting piece that got my gears moving.

One of the major ideas of the piece was that blogging allows for the most truthful instant reaction/thought/feeling in response to a situation. According to Sullivan, “It is the spontaneous expression of instant thought–impermanent beyond even the ephemera of daily journalism” and “the deadline is always now”. And then you know what he said? “It is, in many ways, writing out loud”.

I was hooked. Remember my blog that I tried to write one time? Sarah Out Loud. “Maybe I should give this blogging thing another try,” I thought to myself.

THEN IT HIT ME. I do blog! Probably 8-10 times a day. On Twitter! It’s just like blogging isn’t it? Just shortened. When something makes me mad, happy, excited, sad, silly, hopeful, or intrigued I tweet about it. The more I read the more I confirmed that tweeting is a form of blogging.

Tweeting requires a person to say something personal in a public manner. In the heat of the moment, say when you are mad at a friend, boyfriend, coworker, teacher or other companion, it is so easy to tweet right on your phone about why you’re so pissed! Hey, it’s probably good for you to let it out a little bit. But then a few minutes later when you’ve calmed down… There tends to be that “oh crap” feeling when you kinda wanna go delete that tweet before many people see it. But you know what? I never do. I think a true tweeter doesnt go through and filter their tweets after its all said and done. The point of twitter is instant thoughts, feelings, opinions and reactions, so by going through and filtering your tweets afterwords just ruins the whole idea of it. And as I read this article, I started to understand that many bloggers also feel the same way.

“To blog is therefore to let go of your writing in a way, to hold it at arm’s length, open it to scrutiny, allow it to float in the ether for a while, and to let others, as Montaigne did, pivot you toward relative truth.”

Needless to say, I was a large fan of this piece. Like a huge fan.

Both of the other articles were interesting and unique in their own ways, but it was Andrew Sullivans piece that really struck a cord for me.

Guys, I think I just became a blogger.

Or have I always been?

Information Changes, Blogging is Stationary

Spinning top from Inception... what what! 😀

As opposed to when I first read Andrew Sullivan’s article on “Why I Blog” I have recently started to see blogging as a more of a legitimate writing form. I’ve never been much of a diary-keeper, much less of a blogger. It always seemed rather irrational to me to keep written thoughts when I already had memories  in my mind. What seemed even more illogical was the idea of putting my personal opinions on a webpage, for people to read at their leisure and comment on. Don’t get me wrong, I love receiving feedback on my writing. However, what puzzles me more is the reasons behind blogging. During the beginning of the class, I questioned the effectiveness of requiring all Writing 200 students to blog regularly for class. However, what I’ve come to realized from the past month of blogging is that what I originally perceived to be ever-changing and fickle (blogging, that is), is quite the opposite.

When I heard the word “blog” before, I more or less imagined a righteous crusader ranting about some cause or another. True story. What I imagined it to be was that blogging came naturally to some people, and not so much to others. (Guess which category I believed I fit in?) Being blatant and clear about your opinions was one thing, but what happens when your feeling about a subject change? As it turns out, I have come to agree with Andrew Sullivan about one thing: “You end up writing about yourself, since you are a relatively fixed point in this constant interaction with the ideas and facts of the exterior world.” And that’s how I’ve come to see blogging as stationary, as opposed to the changing world around the blogger itself.

I’ve found that I really enjoy blogging now, and it comes almost naturally to blog every week and respond other classmates’ blogs. While I’m more used to writing under a strict academic format of drafting, editing, re-writing and finalizing thoughts before ever turning them in for homework, I think that a blog itself has its own merits in academia.

Yep.

As I’m beginning to repurpose my essay, I’m thinking about how I want to construct my ethos around my topic of interest. I wanted to re-purpose my essay around the idea of how language acquisition may change the perception and style of a person’s writing. I also thought about how immigration may affect education on writing, as well as my own experiences with ESL classes in grade school. I’m a little lost as to where I should start, but I know one thing: To get some inspiration, I’m rereading my blog posts.

Why I Don’t Blog

Andrew Sullivan purports an interesting perspective on blogging.  Some statements seemed to resonate with me as someone who is trying to become a blogger instead of just a traditional academic argumentation author.  He concludes that blogs are

“more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive.  It is, in many ways, writing out loud.”

This seems initially liberating.  What a treat to escape the harsh criticism of an editor or a professor and to just write what you pleased instantaneously… and then you can say whatever you want and it doesn’t really have to be all that correct because there is an apparent symbiotic relationship between the blogger and the reader.  Say whatever you want! It’s liberating!  Except… it is on the internet.  Forever.  And ever, and ever, and ever, and you cannot delete what you said in your moment of a lack of emotional control.

Whoa, whoa, whoa there Andrew Sullivan.  I was just thinking about how great it would be to shake the traditional format of writing for a liberating form like blogging.  No thanks.  As a political science student heading out into the field of law and eventually politics, nothing seems more unappealing than posting a political rant on the internet that can be pulled up on my campaign trail.  The argument that blogging is a free open space of chaos does not entice me from leaving the safe, patient research of a traditional argument.  I need to be able to hold to my commitment of my argument, and nothing about an in-the-moment tirade sounds like a good idea.  Blogging to me seems like posting a drunken picture of yourself on Facebook at a party with a red Solo cup in one hand and a fifth of Southern Comfort in the other while dancing on a table.  Sounds like fun at the time… until your job application gets denied.