Thursday, 11 December 2008

First thoughts on the essay ...

I'd really like the opportunity to do some reading, thinking and writing about blogging although not blogging in a formal educational context. I'm involved in a few educational blogging projects at Kingston University and will have to write something on this later on (perhaps in a dissertation?) but would like use this module to write about blogging as a voluntary activity used for other purposes.

The question I think I'll go for is 'Literacy is not a set of skills it is a social practice’. Discuss although I'd prefer to give it my own title. I'm assuming the titles are like jazz scores that we can improvise around? How about Stories from the blogosphere: reflections on blogging's 'active sociality' ? Essentially, the essay would explore some of the ways in which blogging is an inherently social activity and would look in depth at a couple of representative examples. Informed by analogue/pre-digital practices and enabled by specific technological affordances, blogging constitutes a new literacy practice characterised by what Lankshear and Knobel call an 'active sociality'.

I have a list of readings - let me know if there are any articles/book you know of that might be useful.

In terms of plan or structure for the assignment, I'm not there yet. I had the idea of the representative examples, the 'stories from the blogosphere', being quasi-separate pieces of analysis (perhaps up to 1,000 words each) with a 'core' argument (of 3-3,500 words). The core argument and 'stories' would be connected though.

I've no section subheadings yet but there are some areas that interest me around the ideas of private-sphere, dialogue-driven literacies coming into the public sphere and of the blogosphere as oppositional counter-public sphere.

I am interested in interviewing - probably via email - the blog authors. Is there any specific guidance on this? Is there a consent form or recommended wording about use of text from interviewees for the purposes of an essay?

Finally, I'm keen on producing something digital and would appreciate the team's (sceptical) blessing. I've past form in this area - check out We have never been digital if you've time.

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