What is a Blog?

Where the Internet is about availability of information, blogging is about making information creation available to anyone.

—George Siemens, author of Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age

Blogging's Connection to Prewriting

RSS feed This lesson will prepare you to create your own blog and enter the blogosphere (Wikipedia.com) a little more informed about this writing genre and its conventions. According to a 2006 article from The Economist "It's the Links, Stupid" (see Lesson 5 on the Mentor Guidelines Web site for this Web link), a blog is "a personal online journal." But that definition is hardly accurate, as the article points out, since a blog is intentionally public, unlike a personal journal. Blogs are a public forum. Bloggers share their ideas with an audience and open themselves up for comment from their readers. A conversation is created—not unlike your conversation with a text in the margins of a book or your dialectical journal. Like a dialectical journal or the first draft of a reading response essay, blog posts are raw, first thought responses about topics ranging from books to politics to the events occuring in a blogger's life. But to limit the definition of a blog to raw, unpolished, public writing isn't quite accurate either. Many companies and individual professionals incorporate blogs on their Web sites to inform users about new products and services. Other blogs are news blogs that track international events. In this lesson, you'll explore what a blog can be, and you'll start to think about what your own reading blog will look like.

So how will blogging help make you a better reader and writer? By the end of Lesson 6, you will have created your own reading blog where you can record your ideas about the texts you are reading for The Writer's Journey 2 and any other books you may read. You can invite readers to view your blog and comment, thus extending your conversation about your reading experiences. (Lesson 6 discusses the importance of privacy for your blog.) You may also decide to read, link to, and comment on the recommended literary blogs in this lesson. There is a whole community of literary bloggers out there interested in books, fiction writing, and discussing literature. Be sure to discuss with your mentor how to enter this community and which blogs are most appropriate for you to read and comment on.

Blogging as a Writing Genre

Blog Background

The popularity of blogging has grown over the past several years. When you log on and establish your blog, you'll join the ranks of thousands of other writers who have decidedDiscussion with your Mentor to record their ideas on the Internet for others to read. In fact, a new blog is born every second! To find out more about the rise of blogging around the world, read the online article from The Economist, "It's the Links, Stupid." (see Lesson 5 on the Mentor Guidelines Web site for the link.) The piece will give you a sense of the writing genre you are about to enter, if you don't have a blog already.

Blog Evaluation

So what does a blog look like? What is a blog about? How is it organized? Who blogs? As you explore the blogs listed below, you'll answer some of these questions by evaluating the content, writing style, and design of each site. By engaging in this analytical blog reading, you'll get a better sense of just what a blog can be. Use the Blog Evaluation hand out to record your observations. At the end of the hand out, you'll be asked to define what a blog is. Share this definition with your mentor and explain why you have defined the word blog as you have.

Mentors, for an on-target example of the Blog Evaluation hand out, see Lesson 5 on the Mentor Guidelines Web site. é

And the Blogs Are....

Common blog categories include news, politics, entertainment, arts, fashion, lifestyle, science, and technology. But the list certainly doesn't end there. Below are the four blogs you'll evaluate using the Blog Evaluation hand out.


The Lede


Wired Science


The Sartorialist

Two Barking Dogs

To find out more about the numerous categories of blogs out there and to see which ones are the most visited, check out Technorati, a site that tracks the content and readership of blogs.

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