A new year, a new semester, and a new blog space. I didn’t actually think I’d ever enter into the blogging world, but here I am composing my first post for my Computers and Writing course at EMU. I suppose some of my hesitance to start my own blog stems from the idea that I’ve always considered my writing to be somewhat of a private activity. I typically avoid having others read my written work until I believe it to be of “share-worthy” quality, whatever that may mean based on the particular piece. Even if it does meet my “share-worthy” standards, I still rarely offer to let people other than an instructor (the audience for whom I most often write these days) or perhaps a close and trustworthy (trusted not to judge my work too harshly) relative or two read my writing. I can see that this class will encourage me to question my aversion to widespread dissemination of my work, and indeed I have already begun to do some self-reflection and analysis of my public writing reluctance. Why is it that I have deemed writing as a private and uncollaborative task? I have not engaged in much creative or reflective writing thus far in my life, and much of my work has been for academic audiences; might this have an effect on my feelings about public writing? These are questions I intend to explore throughout the semester, and likely beyond.
While I may not have necessarily delved into blogging of my own volition, I am glad for the opportunity to at least familiarize myself with the process. And who knows? It may just become my newest addiction. After listening to several of my classmates discuss their affinity for blogging during our introductory speeches on the first day of class, I am intrigued to discover more about this realm of public writing. A couple of my Computers and Writing peers suggested that keeping a blog can be a cathartic and mind-clearing endeavor, and despite my novice status as a blogger, I can already begin to understand these feelings. Also, after reading Kennedy and Mueller’s piece, “Every Mad Scientist…”., I now understand there are various reasons for keeping a blog, including for professional and academic development. I had originally only considered blogging a kind of public journal keeping, a place where one’s personal thoughts are publicly accessible by anyone at anytime. But I’ve learned that blogging is also an audience-dependent writing endeavor, and that bloggers can actively choose to engage a particular group of individuals through specific content, links, references, quotations, etc. Blogging appears to offer networking opportunities on both the personal and professional levels that I had not previously recognized in my rather limited view of the blogosphere.
So I say, with a bit of newbie trepidation, let the blogging journey begin! I’m intrigued to see where it may lead…
I, very thoroughly, share your apprehensiveness for public blogging; my perspective is that my material is only my material when it remains that way, until I open it up to public reading. I didn’t always see it this way though. As an undergrad, the audience I considered was the one I knew was assessing my paper, and in discovering this about myself, I realized how simple it was to write to your professor, instead of in your paper. My professor helped me see I actually did this in a paper, and it cost me points, but I learned how not to do it again. The way I did that was subject my thoughts to a giant list of friends, who some shared my perspective and some didn’t, and they comment to many posts to let me know this. You start to develop a thicker skin. Most people do not realize the process in writing. I know this because I only discovered there was a process most recently myself, so I can give leeway for that in commentary from others, now. My words are thoughts aloud for a whole host of networks to see (dependent on how your profile is managed) and many times, people may not understand that you can add to that phrase tomorrow and say, altogether something else. Writers write with the idea that they can always revisit a thought, no matter what the latest relic may look like.
However, not everyone is a writer, so social medias can be tricky for some. I discovered Facebook and my viewpoint of my writing material changed, forever. I’m not marketing for the site, but as a writer, it really changed how I see the word “audience” Our audience will always have someone or some listeners wanting/needing further exploration of what we think and say and write, but this is also what helps us further explore. So, with that said, a public audience can be intimidating, but sometimes a limited one can give you the same experience needed when speaking to an audience. After all, it is the thought that we look at, read about, and discover meaning, how we communicate it, is the part that is changing most, at least I think….welcome to the world of blogging, I’m fairly new myself. I find it fast-paced and fascinating…. 🙂
I think you’ll really enjoy it. I know I was very apprehensive about the whole blogging idea when I first started. I wasn’t sure I wanted other people reading and commenting on my writing! But now, there is nothing more thrilling than getting a comment from a complete stranger. It was always nice to get family comments, but when people you don’t know start commenting, it’s the best feeling.
Best wishes as you enter the blogging realm!