Hypertext in the Mainstream (Blog Assessment)

This is not the first blog I have owned or contributed to. However, it is the first one I have used for academic purposes. One thing I have always struggled with with blogs is consistently updating them. Writing is cathartic for me, it is something I enjoy doing and a way for me to process my thoughts. But I haven’t responded well to being ‘forced’ to maintain a blog or diary or anything like that in school. I always remember feeling blocked creatively and struggling to write anything that actually meant anything to me. When we were told about these blogs on the first day of class, I was more than apprehensive.

So I was surprised when I realised that keeping up with this blog is actually helping me engage with the subject matter. I’ve had an easier time remembering to do the readings, and it is really nice having everything in one place. At first, I really wasn’t sure what to write about, outside of notes on the symposiums, tutorials, and readings. It was the outside of class content that intimidated me. I feel like I am getting better with that though, particularly since we started learning HTML. My posts about that have mostly been about the extra learning I’ve been doing outside of class, using W3Schools. You can see the most recent one here, where I had a little wander into the realm of layouts and formatting.

We’ve talked a lot about hypertext in symposiums and in the readings. I’ll admit, before this class, I either hadn’t heard the term before, or I just never bothered to learn what it meant. The Landow reading helped me a lot with grasping the concept though, particularly the diagram he uses showing the structure of hypertext. His discussion of where a reader enters things put things into place as well. Using blogs, (a form of hypertext, or rather, hypermedia, since they generally incorporate photos and videos as well) is a way of ensuring students are familiarising themselves with multiple aspects of a subject, and with the most up to date forms of technology. By using these blogs, we’re not only learning HTML, we’re connected with each others thoughts and ideas on the subjects we’re reading about. We are able to link to the resources we find on the internet, to share our findings with our peers and introduce topics to discuss in class.

It is also important for us to utilise these blogs because they are becoming increasingly popular within mainstream media. Websites are not just websites, they’re becoming companies and represent a relatively new sector of the journalism and media industry. There are sites like Couturing and Drop Dead Gorgeous Daily that are essentially WordPress blogs (albeit really well done WordPress blogs) that report on things like fashion and lifestyle issues, and generate six figure incomes for their owners. Pursuing a career as a journalist no longer has to mean chasing a job at a newspaper or news network. It can mean creating a website and publishing articles on your own terms, and there is every chance that can turn into a profitable career.

Going forward with this blog, I’d really like to increase my number of posts, maybe going up to 5-6 posts a week. I’d also like to make the content more in depth and a bit more formal, without completely compromising my writing style. While I tend to have a more casual tone, I think that’s appropriate for a blog. By keeping my tone casual, I make it simple for anyone to enter my blog and potentially learn something, or be inspired to learn more about something based on the subject matter. That may not be the case when the writing is more formal and not as simple to understand. In my experience, the best way to keep a reader engaged is to keep them interested. I am by no means saying no one is interested in formal writing, but for the general public, it’s more likely they’re looking to read something that doesn’t have to be re-read and over analysed. For example, some of the readings we’ve had so far this semester have been more difficult than others. If I were to copy and paste them, and post them on my blog, (which I would obviously not do, due to copyright infringement), it’s likely not many people would hang around to read them. By reading them and then posting my analysis of them or my thoughts on them, it makes it easier for others to get the information.

Landow, George P. Hypertext 3.0: Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2006. Print.

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