Attack of the Blog
by Kristin Lisson
You can run. You can hide. But you cannot escape the BLOG!
No, it’s not the latest horror flick; rather, it has proved to be the
latest form of online-assisted communication sweeping the Internet.
According to Susan Barnes, author of Computer-Mediated Communication , a
blog, which is an acronym for Web log, serves as a publicly-accessible
journal on which individuals can instantly post their thoughts online.
Other users can then post their reactions, views on various issues, and
links to related articles. The result becomes a running commentary
complete with author credits and time stamps.
Although blogs are generally linked with business, personal, and
entertainment sites, Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at the
University of California at Los Angeles, thinks that blogs are evolving
into a major academic tool for universities. Members of the academic
community have discovered that blogs offer the classroom a cheap,
sociable, and fast way for everyone in the class to actively participate
According to Susan Ward of Small Business: Canada , what sets blogs
apart from other online writing is their dynamic nature: participants
can easily post, comment, and update their thoughts because blogs are
extremely easy to set up and use. Blogger.com offers free server space
and templates to set up a personal blog in as little as five minutes.
That’s right—no FTP, no e-mail attachments, no cost. Simply login to
your account, type a response, and click Post.
In addition to their flexibility and ease-of-use, the academic
community has embraced blogs because they serve as a useful tool for
sharing information and expertise in a two-way, open exchange . Blogs
enable humanized conversation, which establishes relationships with the
participants in a person- and content-centric environment.
Finally, blogs allow speedy, scholarly discussion because they are
extremely accessible. Blogs are easier to find than academic journals
and still allow scholars to develop serious arguments at serious lengths
. Internet users can freely access a blog commentary on almost any topic
that sparks their interest because they are open to the public rather
than stored in a protected in a library database. If viewers want to
post on a topic, all they need is an invitation from the blog creator,
which is usually provided as a link on the page.
Many businesses have coined the term “b-blog” for blogs promoting
business communication. Can blogs really contribute to academic
discourse; is the “a-blog” next? Some professors at Minnesota State
University, Mankato (MSU) think so. Students in their upper-level
writing classes use blogs to comment on weekly discussion topics posted
by the instructor. MSU is just one of the many organizations to see the
value in documenting classroom discussion in a dynamic, online
environment. If blogs have not already invaded your classroom, look
out…they will find you!
Barnes, Susan. 2003. Computer-Mediated Communication: Human-to-Human
Communication Across the Internet. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.
Volokh, Eugene. “Scholars Who Blog”, 4 June 2003, (19 Oct. 2003).
Ward, Susan. “Blog FAQ for Businesses”, 2003, (19 Oct. 2003). <http://sbinfocanada.about.com/library/blogfaq/blblog.htm>.
Goodwin, Kathleen. “Meet the B-Blog”, 22 Jan. 2003, (19 Oct. 2003).
“Academic Blogging” The Chronicle: Colloquy Live. 3 June, 2003, (19 Oct.
Glen, David. “Scholars Who Blog”, 4 June 2003, (19 Oct. 2003). <http://chronicle.com/colloquylive/2003/06/blog/>.