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Monthly Archives: June 2006

Rory O'Connor's Caution: Blogging May Be Hazardous to Your Job reports that corporations now see blogging, message boards and instant messaging software, such as AIM, as taboo for employees.

O'Connor discusses the disciplinary measures employees face for inappropriate emails and how those measures now encompass other multi-media, such as blogging.

In an eerie echo of an earlier post here, O'Connor points out that it is often difficult to judge what is appropriate content and what is not. O'Connor goes a bit further explaining few companies provide employee training for multi-media interactions, yet many businesses will still fire online misconduct.

In the past, I have focused on email etiquette and web design rules of behavior, but I will obviously be including blogging in writing for the web. In the future, I also plan to discuss appropriate blogging and instant messaging in technical writing and professional writing as well. After the article, I have no urge to teach my students not to blog, just to weigh their words with a deep appreciation for the consequences of writing.

In Political Blogs: the New Iowa?,  David Perlmutter argues that bloggers aren't really written for an audience but for "a community of debaters." To a certain extent, this may be true, but I'm not convinced it's completely accurate. I asked myself if I would consider myself writing for an audience on my blog, and the answer is yes. If I weren't, why would I bother with a site test? Why would I stay focused on the same topic most of the time? These are integral issues when defining an audience, so yes, I'm writing for audience(s).

I do welcome comments and debate, but I would still write for my targeted audience without comments and/or debate. I'll be sharing the article in class, since Perlmutter attempts to define what a blog is through a serious of questions, all of which could be debatable in class.

In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Wikipedia Founder Discourages Academic Use of His Creation and suggests Wikipedia may add a disclaimer to the site: Not for Academic Research. I'm not sure a disclaimer is necessary, but you can't blame the man, considering the volume of emails he must receive. English professors are doing their part loudly and vehemently in freshman composition courses around the country by attempting to teach students exactly what constitutes academic research and what does not.

That being said, I wouldn't be so quick to cut the link between universities and Wikipedia. I'm not certain, but I'm willing to bet that a good percentage of Wikipedia articles are written by academics and students. And Widipedia is certainly worth studying in advanced composition courses, especially Writing for the Web.

I'm debating whether or not to have students create an entry for wikipedia or simply create a group wiki on a subject of their choice in Writing for the Web. Last night, I downloaded xwiki. What attracted me to xwiki was the cost (free) and the fact that they'll host the site.

I still need to work with it, and I'm fairly confident that I can. However, at a first glance, I'm tempted to reject it because it isn't as user friendly as I would like it to be for beginning students. I'd love to hear what others think about xwiki or any other free wiki software available out there. What attracted me to xwiki was the cost (free) and the fact that they'll host the site.

As an anonymous friend pointed out, wikis are really the future for communication, and I like the idea of collaborative writing anyway.

Maureen Dowd's Swimming up mainstream: Bloggers just want to be us reports a face off between traditional journalists and bloggers at a new media conference. More importantly, Dowd's article references the political blogging community, such as Daily Kos and the politicians who atteneded the conference.

I will most likely share the article with my students to discuss the differences between journalism and blogging, but I believe the article actively engages with the fact that these blogs can and do make a difference. I'm hoping the awareness might provide a little more motivation for my students.

What I find especially noteworthy in the article were the bloggers who left blogging for other positions. Apparently, blogging didn't hurt their careers…..

A firestorm over one-way blogging announces some of the top bloggers have turned off comments. I hadn't really considered the issue before reading the article.

Is it blogging if the comments are shut off? I think so, because a blog is essentially a journal genre. You're still sharing your thoughts and ideas, initializing a conversation with the reader(s). That being said, you do miss the other half of the conversation.

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According to KATU 2in Portland, Oregon, six students were suspended for blogging on MySpace. The students allegedly posted threats to a rival gang in school and caught someone's attention.

Indirectly, MySpace also received some bad press tonight on Dateline. While only AOL and Yahoo chat rooms are mentioned explicitly in the article, reporters on the program made it clear that predators stalk where the teens are, so MySpace must be included when we discuss online sexual predators.

Ivor Tossell's Love to hate MySpace? Check out the buzz announces the possible decline of MySpace, but as Tossell points out, this isn't going to change anything. It simply means a new venue.

Professor Krause is correct; podcasting is hot, hot, hot. So, since my students created the first documentation for podcasting on our campus, does that make me a hottie? Hmmm….One of the first rules of graphic design and research on the internet is to avoid sites with excessive media, but my students might add podcasts to their clients' sites in Writing for the Web.

I do like that it won't automatically play, but I worry about the technology out there as well. Can our clients assume that their clients have high speed access? Probably many of them do, and it would position our clients' sites as "cutting edge," at least for the moment. I think the question we need to ask is whether or not our clients have a mac. It can be done without a mac, as my technical writing students demonstrated in their documentation for the Writing Center, but I think a mac would make it easier for clients once my students leave. And I don't even want to think about the fair use issues–not until I have to anyway.

Writing for the Web will include a collaborative writing project in conjunction with a real client. During collaborative writing projects in the past, I've used team blogs to monitor team members' input and the activities members are pursuing to complete their tasks. In addition, I've asked students to evaluate their own and their team members' performances.

However, given the fact that students in Writing for the Web will be blogging individually over the course of the semester, I'm not sure a team blog is the right answer. I will definitely keep the evaluation, but I'm hesitating over the blog. At that point in the semester, students should be comfortable with blogging, but it might just be too much work. According to The Bioteaming Manifesto, technology might impede collaborative efforts despite the promise of technology to increase team performance.

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