Colin McEnroe's blogging course up in Connecticut is coming close to the end. Several of the students have really taken off with this, new to them, form of communication. They are posting like mad, they are commenting on each others' blogs, discovering cool other blogs and websites, and I am sure they will continue blogging long after the class is over. I urge you to go and look at the comments on the class blog and follow the links on the sidebar to student blogs to see their posts. They have built quite a little mini-community of their own, with a number of us voyeurs in the bleachers.
For the last class (which, I am assuming, is convening tonight), they spent some time figuring out what to discuss, as there was no predetermined assignment. In the end, they want to talk about what blogging is, where it is heading, and especially what is the meaning of the word "personal" when applied to a blogger.
Elin of Nileblog compares blogging and writing: "But it feels good to blog, because we get to express ourselves as fully and completely as we want. And no one interrupts. Or walks away. Instead, we get to write it, so it feels full and permanent (even if only in cyberspace). I think that's a good thing." She initially defines 'personal" as 'intimate' and loves how easy it is to find like-minded people in the blogosphere. She then makes an interesting comment about the bloggers in the basements of their parents' homes on this post on her classmate's blog Bill's Blither.
The Screamin' Memey has finally learned how to do the links properly, although the photos still overlap each other. Has the class built its own anthill in the swarm of the blogosphere?
Transgenderedtrash of Don't do the crime if you can't..... disagrees it's a swarm and is being generally pessimistic about the future of blogging.
Christopher Michael of Metablognition has a rare angle on the blogs - how do they both reflect and affect the way we think and function. Then, he points to an interesting study (PDF) about teen use of the Internet (19% of online teens keep a blog and 38% read them) and adds a couple more to bolster his case that blogs will have effects on teh cognition of its users, especially on those growing up blogging.
Semper Gumby cuts through the noise and disagrees with all of his classmates on the meaning of "personal".
Eric on Don't hate, prestidigitate is exploring blogs as journeys, as well as the conflict between anonymity and community. Is each blog, or blogosphere as a whole, trying to go somewhere? Perhaps travel from anonymity to community?
Brett of Nonsense has taken to blogging perhaps more than any of his classmates, spilling out the details of his dates, emotions, politics, and everything else, so he may have a diffent take on what is "personal". He's also figured out recently how to make his blog look all nice and pretty with some technical know-how I don't have. Is the journey really the emergence of personality?
John of Jean DuBlog thinks that blogging is changing the meaning of the word 'personality' and there is a difference between changing topics and changing voices.
Erin thinks that there is a competition between online and offline social life (and she failed to post het Friday Cat Photo). And she points out that someone in that class discovered this article that argues that posting a Friday Cat photo helps your readers remember your blog better (so they''ll come back).
I hope they post some more after class meeting tonight, post their final papers online for all of us to read, and I also hope they all keep blogging.
Update: They had their class and some have added new posts:
Screamin' memey disagrees with Mark (transgendertrash).
Eric podcasts his final thoughts.
Shante of Blogging For Beginners added three quick posts in a row: No one is alone, truly, Why lack of anonymity has ruined my love life and some more on the personal....
Matthew of Perpetual Perpetuity started his blog as a kind of a time capsule. It is maddening that some of the students have additional, 'personal' blogs that I cannot find and read...
JP of A Novice Blogger's Thoughts posts the first initial reaction. I hope more is coming...
Finally, Colin, on his personal blog, nails the whole "personal" thing.