Multiliteracies in ELA Classrooms

A Response to Blogging as Participation

July 10th, 2013 · 2 Comments

This article provided a very interesting overview of the participatory nature of blogging as well as a history of blogging. Particularly striking is the definition of blogging as “like a mongrel hunting the dark alleys of the digital city” that is “adaptive and unique at the same time” (p.2). What an image! I think this definition can be extended to the internet as a whole. It would be interesting if we could make education as “adaptive and unique” as technology is right now.

I found Lankshear and Knobel’s description of the evolution of who is and was creating and using blogs very interesting. They explain that blogging used to be something that was exclusive to people with a computer programming background until weblog publishing tools became available online, at which point blogging became open to the mass population (p.3). This change reminded me a a conversation that occurred in my YA Literature class a few days ago about how students are not being taught coding and how they aren’t interested in learning it because most everything that we want to create on the internet today, we can do so through a program that someone else has already created (ie. Weebly, Blogspot, Twitter, Wordle, etc.). Does this promote only shallow participation from today’s internet users?

In my own experience with being an internet user, I sometimes wonder if my consumer attitude towards the internet means that I am not really participating at all. I often feel a bit guilty that I do not contribute to blogs, wikipedia, yahoo answers, etc. but I use them all the time for almost everything I do. A question I would like to pose to Lankshear and Knobel is: Does simply visiting and reading a blog count as participation? Similarly, I would like to ask: What is my responsibility to the online community? I have also always been too nervous of the participatory aspect of blogging to create my own blog. Not only can it be intimidating to think that anyone can read your thoughts, but if your blog does become appreciated and population you are in danger of “becoming a broadcast outlet, distributing material without participating in conversations about it” (p.4) because you become a slave to the expectations of your followers.

Coincidentally, I just set up a blog the other day with some friends and I am very excited to see how it works out. I would also like to ask my students how or if they are using blogs because I’m sure it is all changing really fast.

– Dayonne (entry #1)


Lankshear, C. and Knobel, M. (2006). Blogging as Participation: The Active Sociality of a New Literacy. American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, US. April 11, 2006.

Tags: Social Media

2 responses so far ↓

  • cknapp // Jul 11th 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Dayonne, I found your response to “Blogging as Participation” to be quite interesting, however, what really caught my attention was your commenting that you “often feel a bit guilty that [you] do not contribute to blogs, wikipedia, yahoo answers, etc. but [you] use them all the time for almost everything I do.” It caught my attention because it is truly my belief that you do not need to be an active blogger and/or contributor, in the sense that you actually write and post yourself, to be an active contributor. As the purpose of blogs, Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers and whatever else might be out there is to provide information to be read, and in a way “consumed”, by a viewer, then you are contributing to these sites by being a viewer. So, in a sense, to answer your first question that you pose towards Lankshear and Knobel, “Does simply visiting and reading a blog count as participation?”, my answer would be yes, it is enough to simply visit and read a blog to count as an active participant/viewer of the material.

    As well, to relate to your nervousness about blogging, fearing the danger of “becoming a broadcast outlet, distributing material without participating in conversations about it,” (Lankshear and Knobel, p. 4) I think that such nervousness is normal, but the fact is is that conversation is only ‘blocked’, in a sense, if the producer of the blog chooses to not to discuss their thoughts and opinions with a broader audience. Having been a blogger, a ‘redditor’, and many other things in my Internet lifetime, I can assure you that the Internet and people who consume blogs and such, are anything but quiet. So long as you allow for the outlet of communication to exist within your blog (i.e. a comments section) and you decide to be an active participant/responder, then you can expect to have some pretty lively conversations.

    Hence, to wrap up what I am trying to convey in my response to your response, we are living in an age of Web 2.0., a time where there is both consumption and production of online material. As such, I think there is no better time than now to be a blogger, as it is not simply one-sided anymore (i.e. simply posting a blog), but rather multi-dimensional, where conversation occurs both online and offline.

    (Christopher – My substantive comment upon Dayonne’s insightful blog entry #1)

  • ehayman // Jul 14th 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Dayonne, after reading your post, I wrote up a response in a word document that was almost identical to what I now see that Chris has posted (so weird). I have erased that now, but thought I would share some of my thoughts anyway.

    I love your question “Does simply visiting and reading a blog count as participation?” because I think it is a really interesting thing for us to think about in English classrooms. Just because we only read, and don’t write, say American Literature from the 1920s, does that make us not participants? I think that by reading and thinking about blogs (or yahoo answers etc…) we automatically become participants. We are engaged with the material. I fully agree with Chris; you are contributing by being a viewer.

    I look forwarding to reading your new blog in the future!


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