Blogging 101: How Did I Get Here?

If I had to describe it I would say that my experience with blogging thus far has been a mere flirtation;  I don’t come to the class with anything reaching formal or professional training.

I remember starting a blog in high school, in the late 2000s. I can’t remember what I called it but I would try and post every day about something that had happened. Maybe I had a particularly witty insight during Pre-Calculus. Maybe the teacher caught me reading a fantasy novel instead of paying attention to the projected history lesson. I recall that I would always end the blog with a section titled “Lessons from Lloyd” or something like that: a bulleted list of sage teen advice I would dole out to the masses.

I didn’t have any sort of real audience. My group of friends knew about it and would sometimes poke fun at me, but it was mostly a solitary endeavor, a way for me to write down what I was thinking and laugh at myself while I did it.

What strikes me to this day is two particular posts I wrote: movie reviews for Twilight and Harry Potter (whichever one came out around that time). I had fun ripping the first movie apart with my words and enjoyed figuring out why I liked the second one (but not as much as other films in the series).

When I saw this assignment on the schedule, I tried to Google my old blog. It didn’t really work out. Mostly because any key words I may have used have been buried so far in my subconscious, I’d never a brain biopsy to route them out. Also, because I’m not sure what platform I used; I think it was BlogSpot, but I didn’t get any hits when I searched.

Oh well. It’d be fun to find those posts again, a little time capsule of my writing style to look back on, but c’est la vie.

I had a literature professor who loved to make us blog in undergrad. She’d come up with these specific prompts and styles for us to use. I was terrible at meeting deadlines and she was quick to call me out.

Professionally, my experience with WordPress began in my last semester of college. I had a magazine internship that used WordPress to load select print articles to their website. I was in charge of choosing the stories, loading them to the site, and creating SEO tags for them. I had absolutely no training in search engine optimization, but it did expose me to what that meant so kudos to Guy for leaving it in my hands.

In regard to some of the readings, the term “academic blogging” interest me, mostly because it seems like, other aspects of academia, to suck the fun out of the experience. It is not enough to take part in this activity, it must be renamed and repurposed for proper discussion and acceptance.

Excuse me if I take a hard line, but I have strong feelings about the way academia re-interprets already existing things. For example, I took a Pop Culture class in college and we read a paper by an academic that went into a long spiel about the validity of fanfiction as a way to look at audience interaction with media and content. This author created a master list of terms and descriptions for already existing norms. These things are already valid and don’t need a PhD stamp of approval before the world can officially sign off.

What is it about the academic part that requires the creation of a unique subculture in the blogosphere?

Don’t feel obliged to answer that. I did research on so-called popular literature and subcultures in undergrad and I somehow manage to revive the topic every so often.

Maybe it has to do with the research-based mindsight that comes with a “Publish or Perish” higher education system. Maybe I’m just too sensitive about a perceived slight.

The world may never know.

I do look forward to interacting with the class and figuring out how to communicate with emerging media. From the glimpses I’ve read of past students’ work, this is a place for lively discussion and appropriately timed infographics and pictures.

If you’ve managed to last this long, thank you for indulging me on my trip down memory lane and my mini rant about…whatever the underlying point of those few paragraphs was. This blog post is the sole product of my particular upbringing.

Here’s to a successful semester of blogging!

Posted on September 14, 2016, in Digital, Literacy, Metablogging, Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You might still be able to find your old blog via the Internet Wayback Machine (www.archive.org). I rediscovered an old fanfiction site I made with a friend back in middle school–it was a painful experience. Whenever I find any of my old writing, digital or otherwise, it’s an interesting mix of feelings. Half the time I’m amazed by my writing acumen at ; the other half I’m horrified and what was I even thinking when I wrote that??

    Do you happen to remember the author or title of the fanfiction paper you read? A high school friend recently obtained her PhD, and her dissertation was related to fanfiction.

    I’ve always been frustrated with academia (no offense to academics–my brain just isn’t wired for it). I was a terrible student in high and middle school because I felt like I was always being asked to “interpret” things. I’m very literal minded and not big on symbolism (which is why I’m a technical writer rather than a creative one), so spending year after year writing interpretive papers was a recipe for failure for me—and it really turned me off leisure reading as well. One can only interpret Beowulf’s sword or the weather at Wuthering Heights so much before throwing one’s hands in the air.

    College was a bit better because the focus shifted to building an argument rather than interpretation. But even getting my degree in technical communication, I felt that academia was still disconnected from the practitioner side of the field–lots of theory, not a lot of practical skills. I wonder if this disconnect between academia and the “real world” is the cause of what you’re seeing with academic blogs. Can you provide an example of what you’d consider to be an academic blog?

    • I definitely understand your frustration with academia. My college program in English Lit was not geared at all towards working professional: you either taught, went right into grad school, or had to make your own way.

      My mini-rant about academic blogs is based more on the tone that I got from the overall readings, though I am probably projecting my on issues with higher education onto them.

      Thankfully, I decided to take a year to work and figure out what was out there before I chose a graduate program, I had no idea about the technical communications field until I stumbled upon STC.

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