J500 Media and the Environment


Looking for the Trees in My Blog Forest by jenh
April 29, 2008, 11:02 am
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: , ,

My partner asked me a question yesterday that summed up a lot of my trepidation about blogging. Philosophically, she could have been asking me the old tree falling in the forest question. “If you blog and no one reads it,” she said, “have you said anything?”

Hmmmm. Well, the answer depends on the reason you write.

I’ve pursued English in my post-secondary education for eight years. It’s taken about that long to figure out that writing for me alone isn’t enough. It may be cathartic to puzzle out the most compelling way to write, but it isn’t satisfying. What I really crave is a conversation – inspiring a conversation among other people sometimes, or other times a discussion between writer and reader. That’s what drew me to creative non-fiction and essay writing as a grad student. You can apply your personal lens to experiences (both common and uncommon to the rest of the populace), and maybe they get something out of that, too.

Now that I’ve been properly introduced to blogs (howd’y’do), I see them as a mechanism to bring good writing and that conversation together. Blogs do what I would argue the printed form cannot: they are an invitation. They are, look what happened! Isn’t this amazing? Let’s talk about this and find the other people who are passionate about it, too! There’s an intimacy in their personalities and immediacy in their instant communication.

But communication is not just message sent. It’s also message received. People have to find that blog or you have to find them, and that brings us back to blogging in the forest, so to speak. If you write just for yourself, there isn’t much potential for someone else to hear you. That’s just narcissism and diary fodder and frankly, the blogosphere has enough navel gazing as it is. If you want to bring about change, conversation, make someone think – all those things and more will be reflected in the blogging choices you make. That means cultivating an audience through your personal writing style, the information you present, your credibility, your candor.

So, I’d like to turn the question around. I don’t think the issue is whether you’ve been heard; the question to ask yourself is, how will you make sure that you are heard? How will they make a connection to what you write, what you say, what you present to them, so they can continue the conversation?

I don’t know about you, but after this semesterly experiment is over, I will still be talking about the issues we’ve discussed. And writing. And listening. And hoping (ever idealistic) that it makes a difference. –Jen Humphrey

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5 Comments so far
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Jen, I don’t think you are idealistic at all. And I don’t think you do, either. Otherwise it would just be navel-gazing, no? I am glad you will be blogging into the future.
Simran

Comment by j500

I didn’t realize the potential of blog before I’m enrolled in this class. As you said, I really like the conversational aspect. I feel more connected to writers and it’s definitely an effective way to get your words out.

Your questions: How will you make sure that you are heard? How will they make a connection to what you write, what you say, what you present to them, so they can continue the conversation?

I’d say to establish your unique point of view and personality. I like to talk with opinionated people. When some events happen, I always want to know their standpoint and analysis.

Sachiko

Comment by sachikom

I didn’t realize the potential of blog before I’m enrolled in this class. As you said, I like the conversational aspect of it. I feel more connected with writers that way and it’s definitely an effective way to send your message out.

My answer to your question: Establish your unique point of view and personality. I like to talk with/ read pieces of opinionated people. When some events happen, I want to know how their standpoints and analysis.

Sachiko

Comment by sachikom

Well, we could get technical about this and talk about tags, SEO and graphs that have a lotta different colored dots on it. But I won’t. I think our voices will be heard because this conversation is endless. There is a limitless supply of things to talk about when it comes to environmentalism because it is the world we live in, day to day. People will find you because you are, inherently, in their world.

But tags do help. 🙂

Kim

Comment by kimwallace

Sachiko, one of the best things about this class was the element that you mentioned — seeking out diverse opinions. This course showed how people with, at times, starkly different philosphical approaches to economics, politics, etc., could sit around a table and talk. It was so refreshing to hear diverse opinions. -Jen

Comment by jenh




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