The beauty about blogging is that there are so many different methods to do it. There are different kinds of blogs that yield different styles, but blogging, in its essence, is free-form. In “Narrate, Curate, and Share,” W. Gardner Campbell analyzes an academic approach to blogging, and how it can be used to effectively aid teaching/learning. It combines strategies such as making real-life connections, realizing subjects’ relevance in today’s society, and allows for the creation of networks that share common interests.

Blog entries are often decorated with personal stories – by doing so you establish your own personal connection with the subject and how it may or may not affect you. This encourages bloggers to think outside of the box, as our teachers have always recommended we do to better understand a concept. Conceptualizing subject matter outside of the classroom helps it stick with students. It is a way to apply the knowledge in ways you may not have realized before.

When you post something online, it’s available for all to see (pending specific privacy settings) which can be both beneficial and detrimental. While it forces you to take responsibility for what you say, it also allows others to compare notes and respond critically to opinions. Essentially, it is the same as what we call in-class revision through peer-review. Viewers can agree with, challenge, or even expand upon certain points. Opportunities to build networks with people in an online community arise as well. Job applications are becoming increasingly interested in online presences, and blogs can have a large impact on potential considerations (depending on the position). It shows that you have taken initiative to gather information, develop new ideas, and verbalize an analysis. In a sense, having your own blog also gives you a one-up economically. It demonstrates the tech-savvy applicant that is currently dominating the job market. By establishing a presence in the blogging world in an academic sense, students can not only amplify their learning experience, they can also gain valuable experience for the future.

Another form of blogging that has become incredibly popular is what I’ll refer to as leisurely blogging. This type is more concerned with aesthetics and not so much  intellectual content. Websites such as Tumblr and Pinterest most commonly serve as platforms for artistic expression. In a way they are like collages of images you like. On Tumblr you can reblog photographs, quotes, graphics, etc. from others. Some post original work, and in this regard it becomes a fantastic way to gain exposure. These images can pass through the virtual hands of tens of thousands of people in a relatively short amount of time. The great thing about this type of blogging is that it is more of a past time, a way to collect photos that inspire you, or maybe things that you just think look cool. The only real requirement, which is one of the inherent rules of Tumblr, is to credit your source!

In Katherine Rosman’s article, “Eat Your Vegetables and Don’t Forget to Tweet,” she describes a peculiar family situation that utilizes both of these forms of blogging, in several positive ways. They all use each other to better their work or gain publicity. Though, I do have to admit I think the whole thing is a bit over the top, it comes off like the parents are forcing their children to actively participate in web-related activities. Bringing all of your cables and chargers with you on vacation seems like a little much – shouldn’t that be your time away from technology? For this family work and play overlap in the online world.

Whether its for personal use or required for a class, blogging encourages individuals to become more involved with their subject matter. Each offers a way for people to express themselves be it through words or pictures and be received by the entirety of the online community. If you use it to your advantage (i.e. asking your dad to promote your work) the benefits can potentially be enormous.

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