Going Out: Making a point
On Friday (MusicFest 2005), I paid a visit to Mr. Hoar down in the Community Service office, since it would be my last chance to before graduating. I pointed out Peter Rother’s weblog, which somewhat fascinated him.
Mr. Hoar related to me that the faculty committee that he’s a member of discusses addicting habits for students and ways to deal with them. Someone apparently brought up blogging as a highly addicting activity, and everyone immediately turned to Mr. Hoar for advice, since he’s the resident technology guru. He quickly dispelled the FUD, comparing it to journaling (the Religion Dept.’s favorite pasttime), and the committee dismissed the topic.
But I find it pretty funny that the faculty is worried about blogging, of all things, as being addictive. I mean, judging on the number of posts at pX that either promise to stop updating or apologize for doing so, I’d say that most students consider blogging a chore.
As I see it, the committee would better spend its time chasing after the multitude of MMORG players at St. X. Every time I walk into the first floor computer lab, I’m greeted by at least 20 screens filled to the brim with “Soldat and other pointless games.” (Yes, organizing the Writing Center computers was my idea.)
And wikis are all the more addicting. A few months ago, I registered an 87 on the Wikipediholic scale, and I’ve likely risen much higher than that by now. Yes, there is such a thing. (I happen to talk in wiki syntax – see number 23.
It just goes to show how out of touch many of our teachers can be with technology. The only reason why they use Edline is because the administration makes them attend Edline workshops by the IT Dept.. And even then, there are a few holdouts.
Of course, it’s not just the teachers who are criticizing a medium they’re not familiar with. I have many classmates who cringe at the thought of a blog, because they automatically associate all blogs with LiveJournals, where you can find nothing but “emo” rants and cat pictures. What do they have to say about DeadJournal and Xanga, then? Certainly, there are a multitude of blogs that are that way – though I prefer not to call them blogs. But why would the media suddenly love blogs to death, if rants and cat pictures were the end-all and be-all of blogs?
Fortunately, some teachers understand. Other than Mr. Hoar, a couple of teachers regularly read or maintain blogs of their own. Mr. Ott happens to read mine on occasion (though I’m still waiting for him to comment). Mr. Lamping maintains a private .Mac blog on his computer at home. And the infamous Mr. Lolne makes an appearance every now and then. (Sorry Mr. Lolne.)
Mr. Ott made a good point the other day: blogs are only really worth reading when the author has something to say. Over the past six months or so, I’ve made a real effort to write more meaningful entries here. It basically started with politics. Although my work on pX did bring in more readers, a more significant rise in traffic occured as I covered the elections.
On topics like politics, technology, and society, I tend to actually have something to say. In the past, I would sit down for a few minutes, browse around a bit, and find something to post about, because I really wanted to extend that ten-day consecutive stretch of entries. These days, I don’t usually post until there something that really irks me, like a Blueprint issue. (Of course, it’s also because of procrastination – I’m good at that.) Although I tend to post much less frequently than I used to, the quality is much higher. And the entries are usually much longer, too.
I realize that, for many people, blogging is all about revealing oneself. It’s a public private diary of sorts. That’s a dichotomy that I’ve never quite understood well, but I hear that journaling on a blog is very theraputic. Whatever works.
My role as a blogger is twofold: on the one hand, I’m a journalist. I cover stuff that you might not catch on the nightly news or in the Sunday paper, like REAL ID. On the other hand, I’m like one of those people who write letters to the editor or call into the nearest talk radio station. I voice out against something that I don’t agree with, and I say it with as many words as I can, like I did after the confiscation of thousands of Blueprints.
From time to time, one role might stand out more than another. Sometimes, for example, I’ll use headline-style entry titles. Other times, I’ll come up with something witty. But it always has some meaning. I want to say something that means something to my readers. And that’s what makes it so hard for me to stop blogging: it’s not some mysterious kind of addiction that needs to be curbed by my school; rather, it’s a yearning to make a point, and the freedom to do so.