Rachael's Kick Ass Blog!

The irony is....DUN DUN DUNNNNN, my research is actually ABOUT blogging. Crazy. So this blogging may prove to be most useful to my research. Let's all wait with bated breath...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Meet my inner Exhibitionist and her little friend, The Voyeur.

I am seriously digging on this multi-colored ink option. I hope that doesn't get annoying.
And all that is seriously beside the point b/c I have promised you a little exhibitionism...but I lied. I am not really going to exhibit myself. At least nor more than I already do in class. I was trying to come up that Catchy title. Did I catch you? Mwahahahaha.

However, (new color, new discussion topic) I am going to dig a little deeper into that discussion we began in class about exhibitionism and voyeurism. But only b/c I am still tripping on that idea in connection to blogging. The article I had brought into class, Into the Blogoshere, Blogging as Social Action: A Genre Analysis of the Weblog, by Carolyn R. Miller, (http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blogosphere/) really got me thinking about not only the issue of blogging as a genre of writing, but also why it could be argued so. I think that it has something to do with this idea of exhibitionism and voyeurism, which perhaps isn't that surprising. I mean the blogosphere kind of elicits those behavioral instincts both/either as writers and/or readers. And just as a side note, I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing. I think it might just be a human thing (a more analytical and academic argument to support that claim still pending). The layer of this discussion that I am most interested in is why does blogging do that? And how does that relate to the composition classroom? Here is my little, and as-of-yet unverified, theory. I think that it does all center around the issue of audience. As someone stated so eloquently in class the other day, the element of audience for blogging is potentially infinite (although not likely) and that changes a lot of dynamics for any writer. And because of that, the experience of writing extends beyond whatever present moment a writer may be in, including the classroom. I think this is one reason to support the relationship of blogging and the composition class, but I also wonder about the flip side. Or maybe I mean dark side. I suspect that in the same way I may use that aspect of blogging to justify blogging in the classroom, it is also possible to argue that it's a bad idea for the same exact reason. We kind of went over this in class the other day, but I am still going round and round in my head about that discussion. I think b/c that fascinates me. That duality to the issue of blogging and the composition classroom seems like a particularly pertinent parallel (I totally didn't mean to alliterate myself like that) to the way people seem to both love and loath blogging in general.

New color. And a tangent: I wonder if that circles back to this issue of exhibitionism and voyeurism. If you think about those two aspects of human behavior, it seems to be something that we both love and hate about ourselves as human beings. What I mean is, we love the whole interplay between exhibitionism and voyeurism b/c it is vastly entertaining, but we also dislike it because it seems to go against certain set cultural values. And yet, (watch me go) I have another little unverfiable theory: it seems to me that most human behavior begins and ends with some aspect of either exhibitionism or voyeurism. Talking to Shana the other day about that very thing in relation to reading, I mean what else IS reading but voyeurism? There's a lot of guilty pleasure that goes with that, especially if it's reading that you enjoy...a book that you just "can't put down." And for that writer, how scandalous does it feel to write something that has the potential to absorb and attract a lot of people?

How does this relate to blogging and composition? I know it does somehow, so now I must go hunting in my head and through my sources....


  • At 3:15 PM, Blogger Tammy said…

    Hi Rachael,
    I love your blog colors!
    I do realize that some of what we said in our posts on blogging overlap.
    Your idea that that writing can extend beyond the walls of the classroom is very intriguing – but its true!
    Especially when blogging!
    And so I think that that’s one plus side to a blog –it is social, and so it forces students to read and respond to one another through writing.
    You also mentioned a dark side, and I think this would be a good place to mention the public versus private boundary, if you want to, in your paper.
    I like your ideas on exhibitions and voyeurism, it’s funny, I can really see you moving through these issues and tackling them.
    Go Rachael!

  • At 3:39 PM, Blogger TWI said…

    On being strange creatures.

    I think blogging is like ice cream. Sometimes, I get really excited about it. Sometimes, it doesn't sound so good to me.

    Anyway, I am a fan or your ideas so far. It is perhaps a little bizarre that there is something inside of us, as we are all somewhat strange creatures, that enjoys exhibiting ourselves (for the sake of this response, I am referring to exhibitionism in a strictly psychological sense). Is it ego? Is it an attempt for connection? Do we all want people to like us, to really, really like us? I'm sure there are some very valid psychological reasons for these certain modes of behavior, which might be fun to briefly delve into.

    Another thing I was thinking about that I believe has to do with blogging is the rise and speed of information, which again, I think, has primarily broken out because of the Internet. Consider something like national and global news stories, which are being written at nearly the same time they occur. By the time the 6:00 news rolls around, most of the stories (aside from local ones) have already been read by those astute enough to scower the Net for news. This does not mean everyone should destroy their television sets (although other ideas have been far worse) and rely on a computer, but it does mean that the Internet has paved the way as the place to go when information is needed in a pinch. Consider the "news crawl," which has headlines of stories crawl across the bottom of the screen while an actual broadcast is going on directly above it. This is a farily recent phenomenon, having been born out of 9/11 coverage in which terrorism was covered so intensely, another method was needed to report other stories of interest. What does this have to do with blogging?

    Well, in the same way, we, the royal we, have grown accustomed to gathering information at lightspeeds far more quickly, than, say, five or ten years ago. In the same way, I think we extend the same frame of mind when it comes to reading someone else's blog. It's not that we can figure out a person by reading his or her blog, but it doesn't mean that we won't try. Just looking at the different blogs in our 220C experiment, we are able to synthesize information about each other fairly quickly. Whether we love, hate, or are ambiguous about blogs - all of those positions reveal information about ourselves. And I think with blogging, looking at it from the reading standpoint, we almost have come to expect that we can learn about others, in a lightning-quick, almost immediate way, without necessarily having ever engaged in a real conversation with the other person. So, I think the way we have come to accept the speed of information, and take it as is, has, in turn, affected the way we read blogs and associate meaning.

  • At 5:32 PM, Blogger Shana said…

    Hey Rachael!

    I just got home from our little trip up the hill and I still haven't posted yet, so hopefully you are still walking Siah in the park! I love your blog and I think you have hit on a particularly important aspect of blogging...Something we have already discussed, but here you are able to put into words some of those ideas. I think, just as you point out, the notion of the vast potential audience is what makes the blog so facinating and different from most other types of writing that can be assigned in a classroom!

    This potential for a vast audience is also what makes the blog somewhat "scary" and intimidating for some, me included! I don't necessarily think that is a bad thing, (the scare factor)just something that should be addressed. I know for myself (you already know this about me)that I really enjoy reading blogs, but as of yet have not written one myself (obviously this will change in a few minutes)and I feel like this is directly related to the issues of exhibitionism and voyeurism. There is a part of me that really enjoys reading what others are thinking, doing, or saying on their blogs, (much like the book reading we were talking about) but at the same time I am very hesitant to expose anything of myself in an area were others can judge me by what I write!

    Well, I really need to post to my blog... Keep on hunting, I know you'll figure this thing out!

  • At 9:24 PM, Blogger Paul Macias said…

    Howdy Rachael,
    Although it seems that you've had plenty of business, I appologize for not responding, posting, commenting--hard to keep up with which it is--earlier; I'm your official responder, the name above, and damn it if I didn't forget about the blogging thing all together. So it's Sunday evening, and here I go:
    I, like yourself, am a faithful paper journaler; well, it sounds like your faith is buckling a bit, but you know what I mean. When I write in my journals, I write to myself--descriptions of experiences, realizations, lots of writing process related entries--but I guard those paper journals with my life, would be the thing, other than my wife and daughter, that I'd gather as I flee the fire. While I do take pleasure in reading back in these journals, where I've been, my impressions at the time, I think they're also very important to me because I secretly want them to have an audience besides myself one day. Some of my best and most free writing is in those journals; to a degree, they are the best representation of my creative life so far.
    So, when I did my first blog number tonight, many of the stories you've told in class lingering in mind, I tried to stay concious of how it all felt, and I was surprised to confront a bit of tenseness and inhibition. There's definitely an audience out there, that is very much in mind when you post on a blog, and I think it is exciting. What's nice, though, is that you can kind of break the rules--no editor, or fact checker, no one going to file a lawsuit if you miss-quote.
    Also,it's YOUR blog, and it's got some fancies: a bio, your chosen blog title, and a colorful facade. Then, when you "publish" your post, it looks like a friggin syndicated news article; in other words, this shit looks like, and therefore feels like the real thing.
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be synical, just a few first impressions, here.
    In terms of pedagagy, I don't see how a blog could be anything but a good thing in the 1A class--anything to get students writing, it would seem, is a viable pedagogical tool. This is (the blog), in my opinion, a unique audience context, wherein the composer is compelled to keep a genreral, and therefore unpredictable, audience in mind. It strikes me that the instructor as an audience can become a bit predictable.

    Good night, and good luck (just recently saw the movie).

  • At 10:49 AM, Blogger Paul Macias said…

    Working my "thread" of audience predictability, what intrigues me, at least right now, about blog writing is the voice I choose to post in. Since the blog audience is annonymous and unpredictable, a lot, in terms of my relationship with writing and the information I'm writing about, is evidenced by the voice I choose to write my post in. I think this would be a good assignment in critical self-reflection for students: first, of course, having them acquire a blog, then asking them to post in response to a variety of prompts, prompts that would position them in a variety of ways, personal, political, social, historical, letting them know right away that you will be NOT reading their posts, it would be interesting for them to reflect on the voice they've chosen, and why. It seems to me that it would tell them a lot about there own literacy and writing and critical thinking processes: Why was I conversational in politics, but serious when it came to history? Why was I so tight on personal matters, and why does it read so clunky?
    I don't know, just a thought.

  • At 1:09 PM, Blogger bill tuck said…

    Hi Rachael,
    I was wondering about your ideas of the word "exhibitionism." Do you see it as any and every type of self-expression, or do you see it having some other connotations? I've definitely heard or read that word in contexts that give it a negative charge, when it seemed to suggest some type of scandalous or ostentatious self-expression. In fact, that negative charge sometimes seems to be the allure of the word.

    I don't know if this would relate to your ideas about exhibitionism, but one of the things that drives me relatively insane about weblogs is, ironically, one of the potential uses it may have in the composition class: I find it difficult to write anything in this medium without constantly revising. I'm always rereading and revising, which I would not necessarily do if there was no potentially vast and immediate audience. I guess it's worthwhile to find out if other users approach blog posts in a similar way or if others typically type posts and send them without any concern for revision. If the medium is conducive to revision, then that would be one benefit of using it in a 1A classroom.


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