Friday, November 10, 2006

Blogging and Language

In Sunday's New York Times, there was a front page article called "Sites Invite Online Mourning, But Don't Speak Ill of the Dead."

In the last few weeks, the focus of my research has been exploring the blog posts on the class blog that are either fairly negative or sometimes outright racist. I really wanted to ignore this part of the class blog because I felt like if I "reported" this it would give teachers ammunition to say "Ah, that's why we shouldn't blog. Kids will use inappropriate language."

Well, they use inappropriate language anyway, and I'm discovering that the blog exposes the innerworkings and relationships of the kids. Some of these "negative" or "inappropriate" blogs are really important topics that teachers should be talking about.

But, it's not just the kids who comment or post inappropriately. I felt (oddly enough) better after reading the article because it discussed how 30% of's budget goes to hiring screeners--people who delete inappropriate comments posted to obituaries.


For me, this made me feel even more sure that it is important to discuss how we post and how we comment. These conversations need to be had. Real audiences are impacted by our comments. In my interviews, I notice that students don't really believe that there is a larger audience "out there."

The teacher I'm working with has been doing a lot of screening in the first few weeks of the blog. It's strange because that didn't happen as much in the spring semester.

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