When I started this blogging module I went to get clarification on what I was supposed to be writing about blogging. The response I got instead was a conversation. A conversation on what blogging itself really was, a conversation that many people have been arguing about since the term blog was first coined. Since my process of understanding blogging started as a conversation I am going to try and wrap up my last two blog posts in a similar way by talking about what blogging on blogging has lead to now for my own blogging. I also had two trails of thought I looked at this past week, how people see blogging and how they actually use blogging.
Several of the other blog posts I have explored during the last week have been centered on how students at the University of Mary Washington and other schools have access to blogging, and then how Mary Washington students have used blogging. This was because the concept of student blogging is very much a part of my life and something I had a genuine interest in exploring. Blogging this past week for me has proven the way student blogs are important. This blogging experiment has made me question the way blogging works and the way it is perceived.
It has also made me talk to others about blogging in a more inquisitive and thoughtful way. I have started asking more people about what they think about blogging and how they use blogging. I have pestered all of my friends, coworkers, and even my family asking them about their perceptions of blogging. A lot of the people I have been talking to since I started this process have not had their own blogs, and have been surprised that I did. However there were some people who did have blogs, some who had empty blogs and others who had put lots of work into their sites. For the people who did have blogs I tried to understand how they used those blogs. Understanding the value or lack of it that people attributed to their blogs and sites made me rethink blogging. This process has opened up narratives on blogging that I never would have explored otherwise.
While talking with people about blogging I have simultaneously been opening up dialogues about why or if a digital identity is important. In the past year I have started to openly expressing that I think shaping your own digital identity is important, the more I talk about it with other though the more I have to defend opinions or try to explain my belief. Not everyone is enthused about their digital presence and not everyone agrees on its importance. My understand comes from my class experiences and work experiences on just how digital presence can shape your identity and the way people understand themselves and others through this identity.
When I was a freshman I saw a poster adveritsing for Domain of One’s Own in the lobby of my residence hall. I walked by that poster for weeks wondering what exactly it was until one day I decided to finally check it out. I remember being excited and confused about the prospect of creating a website that was all mine. Agonizing over what to pick I decided on the website libertylikethestatue.com and felt excited to explore blogging. That freshmen year I made two blog posts, both of which I later retracted. I really was unsure what to do with the space so I let it stay empty. That was until I started work at the university’s Digital Knowledge Center, then suddenly I remembered I had a blog again. Since then my blog has been in a constant renovation mode, as I got to look at other peoples sites and learn new things my site grew and evolved from those encounters. This past summer and even last semester I was still embarrassed about my site thinking it was not good enough to show to anyone. After going through this process I now feel more confident about my own site.
This whole process has made me less embarrassed about experimenting with my blog, because it turns out most people are always doing this as well. Half of the student blogs I looked at referenced their sites as works in progress, and that encouraged me to think of my blog as a growing site where change is good.By talking about blogging and looking at the arguments about what blogging really is I am getting better ideas on how to shape my own concept of blogging and presenting myself on my site.