During this session of uni I have had two classes requiring weekly blogging, and while I have had classes previously that had compulsory blogs it wasn’t until this session that I understood how much I truly loath it all.
I found that the general idea of blogging for uni is very good because you can write 500 words a week rather than writing a long essay at the end, however with two classes requiring weekly blogging I admittedly became lazy. Concentrating on coming assignments, major assignments, classes and readings, blogs easily fell to the bottom of my to-do list. I can however acknowledge the positives of blogging, such as the community it forms and skills it helps build.
By writing about different topics, each week blogging allows us to expand and put into practice what we have learnt during that week. For example, it is one thing to do the readings and talk about topics in class but sometimes putting what you have learnt into words can help with understanding and remembering the topic.
Having an entire subject blogging about similar topics also creates an online community, in this case, it did not work entirely as online interaction was low, however that does not mean that people were not reading their classmates opinions and getting to know them as a person rather than just that quiet person who sits across from them in class. I know for many people, including myself, that speaking in class may be quite intimidating or it may be hard to gather and express thoughts correctly, blogging can help in these situations. Blogging allows for those who are less confident to still express their opinion and share their thoughts with the class, this is a massive positive for blogging as there are very few other ways to deal with this issue.
Another issue that arose was the lack of traffic on the blogs, I know that some people were able to get their blog seen but for many others, including myself, our blogs became nothing more than an online diary that only we were reading. Getting people to interact online in a situation such as this has proven very difficult, the topics that we discuss have the potential to open up great debates and interesting conversation but the vast majority of us were left out in the cold talking to ourselves. There is such potential for blogs but getting the needed traffic is proving very difficult, however I was in the same boat about 5 years ago when I first started my personal blog but now I have hundreds of people interested in what I am saying and adding to the conversation. I think this is how we should be thinking about our current blogs, while we may not be getting the traffic we want now this is just the beginning of our blogging ‘career’ and we can only improve from here. While some of us may stop at the end of the subject, others may continue on, creating a portfolio of work for future employers, gaining a widespread audience and experiencing the full potential of blogging.
In my other blogging class, DIGC202, the tutors decided to implement compulsory comments in order to combat the issue of the lack of interaction discussed above. However at times these comments would appear forced or uninterested making the entire point of commenting invalid, so while there are ways to combat these issues they do not work in all circumstances.
Another issue that I personally struggle with when it comes to blogging, which may be the reason why I dislike it so much, is the casual manor in which blogs are meant to be written. It is far less formal than an essay and allows for more personal reflection, which I find very difficult after having the formal essay structure drilled into my mind after 13 years of schooling accompanied by two long years of advanced English. However, blogging is just another skill that I have to work on in order to better myself and ‘broaden my horizons’ (I say at the risk of sounding cliché).
Overall blogging this session has made it much easier to keep up with all the topics as well as providing a future reference of my work and what I have learnt. I think blogging is something that you have to grew accustom to and by the end of my communications and media degree I hope that I would have gained a new skill to help me throughout my life and future endeavours.