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Writing for the Web began this week, and I must say, I love this class. I’m having a great time, and I hope my students are too. I introduced them to WordPress today, and despite a few technology hiccups from the software, it seemed to go well.

I am allowing students to blog anonymously on the topics of their choices if they wish, and I’m happy with this decision. They have creative freedom and the power to decide whether or not to share their identities or to create identities. If you’re blogging anonymously, are you blogging as yourself, or a character? Thinking of George Eliot/Mary Ann Evans, I’m sure there is a difference at times. If it is the development of a persona, a character, then that’s actually way more complex, and incidentally, more work.

Today we talked about ethos and how to get some. I’ll bet there’s quite a bit of googling tonight for Aristotle and the art of rhetoric. To drive home the point, we looked at zefrank and the Super Greg Syndrome. And as an excellent example of a smooth, well-developed ethos, we looked at General Disarry.

I’d love to hear about a really “bad” blog or a really “good” blog for examples. I’m surfing, and I’ve asked my students to surf. But there’s so much out there, and I’d hate to miss a really bad example.


  1. Your comment on blogging as a distinctly constructed persona instantly brought to my mind Stephen Colbert, of the Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Colbert has stated (off of the air, obviously) that he works very hard to act out a completely fictional version of himself, which I think one picks up on easily from just watching an episode or two. This is interestingly contrasted against Jon Stewart of the Daily Show (where Colbert’s career started, if you didn’t know by chance, I hate to assume knowledge), who, while obviously working to ‘be funny’, doesn’t seem to be following the same idea of a constructed personality. We get the feeling that it’s ‘truly’ Jon Stewart on there, and not a character he’s acting out. While neither would probably be considered a blogger, is what they do that fundamentally different than, say, ze frank? It’s a fun idea to play with.

    Wow, long comment. See you next week in class!

  2. A site on which I’m straddling the fence, so to speak, is Jason Calacanis’s weblog. Calacanis is the CEO of Weblogs, Inc., which was acquired by AOL, Inc.

    Why am I torn between declaring it either “good,” or “bad?” Simple: in his weblog, Calacanis often derides particular AOL products–which can at times come dangerously close to the division which produces them, for instance, but yet, in doing so, he also champions the “new wave” of consumer-driven products which the web has enabled.

    I don’t know AOL’s internal blogging policy, but it’s clear from Calacanis’s posts–this one, for instance about “hard times at AOL” that he comes dangerously close to furthering negative public perception about the company, although he tries to wrap that occasionally in an optimistic tone.

    For more examples of the dangers of blogging–this really should be posted in response to earlier posts, but since I’ve started…–read this article from 2005, in which a few folks were promptly fired after starting a promising career at a top company.

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