Friday, October 24, 2008

Coming from a totally illiterate internet background I dreaded the thought of JMS1’s term four blogging course with a passion!

The first big ‘plunge’ was admitting to my group my inability. This was received better than I had hoped with encouragement and “don’t worries, you’ll learn!” This goes for all of our group meetings which were really “chilled” using a combination of people’s ideas and views of the blog. With that out of the way I could now learn to start ‘swimming’.

I ‘dived’ straight in, forgetting my ‘buoyancy bands’ – for I had no g-mail address. After a quick addendum I commenced, contributing (or trying to) to my blog. Have you found that you never learn from some mistakes? – well in this instance I forgot all past experience and leaped into the ‘deep end’ where I ‘drowned’ two hours of precious time attempting to copy and post a document from Word. The following day in the lecture I was reluctantly lead to the ‘steps’ where I was told to use Word Pad.

It was with great joy that I completed my first ‘length with out putting my feet down’ in managing to post a picture on our blog! Our blog was aptly themed based on the television programme Survivor, for I was actively trying to survive, chocking, spluttering and unintentionally swallowing gallons of ‘chlorinated water’ in my attempt to survive blogging.

Our intention was to provide a survival package in the form of a blog for next years first year Rhodents. This narrowed down our story horizons yet it provided a much needed ‘refinement of one’s style’. It caused us to physically look about us and reflect on the past year, one’s emotions, expectations, bathos’ and in what areas we have grown or fallen short. Looking back, I appreciate that we were confined to our experiences this year for it called for an analysis of how we had found our first year of university. This was my only course that encouraged one to look back on progression, which was very encouraging.

Our blog genre – being survival – was very open ended. This was convenient especially due to the ranging assignments which we were given. The only ‘stroke in which I was restrained’ which I found frustrating was that one always had to provide an answer, or a way to survive a particular experience or aspect of first year. There have been many first years who have left Rhodes which would have been a great story idea, yet I was unable to fulfil this as I would have had to turn it in to an anti-survival piece- going against our genre. Our audience also had to be kept in mind, in view that they were not yet at Rhodes and therefore would not know the jargon which Rhodents use in connection to one another.

Continuing with the parallel to swimming my ‘gold medal at the Olympics’ would be to specialize in photography. The blog entitled me to use photographs and also contained a few lectures on the basics. Blogging confirmed that images can convey a lot more than a written piece, while often sticks in the viewers memory for a longer time. The blogging course allowed one to reach an audience by different means, and thus enabled a larger audience. This brought in an aspect which I had never before had to deal with, that of ethics. Because my essays were in the public sphere I had to scrutinize them in regards to ethics. When evaluating the course on a scale from one to ten I would rate seven in regards to blogging allowing me to grow towards my personal and professional goals.
There is a conflicting debate of whether journalism is blogging or not. In order to understand the debate one has to define journalism, and it is in the definition where people differ. I tend to follow Dan Gilmore seeing blogging in an optimistic light, viewing blogging as an already budding media network, yet it does not fit to the traditional norms of journalism.
A valid point used in contradiction to the statement of blogging being a form of journalism is the availability that anyone can post things. Because of this, information can often be faulty with no previous research being done on the topic. Personally, in regards to research on my blog, because most of the pieces were opinionated one did not have to do research, but what little research I did was interviews or across the internet. This made me aware of the ease which one can make up sources, information and statistics.
My motivation gleaned from this course can physically be seen at in my own fun blog. Looking back over this term I can safely claim a ‘blog surfer certificate!’

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