Reflection on Blogging, Tweeting, and Class Blog

Creating another blog on WordPress.com for this class gave me the opportunity to think more about content. I have several blogs, one on my mac.com page, one on google’s blogspot for 515, and another one on blogspot for Boppa’s Alzheimer’s that is geared to caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. I have not stuck with any of them for longer than a year for one reason or another. My goal this time is to create a blog that will keep me writing. I want to write about writing and the process of writing. The “About” page explains the photo header, I took of Stonehenge in 2007. This photo represents a lot of change in my life and reminds me, even though I refer to myself as the little figure in the middle, that anything is possible.

My first post refers to my desire to make this blog lasting with the motto “Just Write!” Don’t over think it, don’t worry that it isn’t any good, don’t worry period! In the first few posts I hear myself cheering me on, keep going you can do this. Then I posted my poem, katharsis. This is the only poem I’ve never edited or changed. I wrote it at the end of the fall semester 2009. It still brings to mind the same elated feeling I had then. I feel the first five posts are about the writing process, but then I started work on the HTML exercises and the blog began to evolve into what Blood calls a short-form journal that reflects what I’m thinking about that day (6).

I actually enjoyed reading this post again and hearing my frustration and slight sarcasm in “email the professor, yet again.” It seems so long ago and such a small thing, the purple flowers photo in the post was the one I was trying to get in my web page. Beginners, we are such a pain. So now, my theme of “Just Write” can take on other connotations like sarcasm. Actually my theme “Just Write” encourages me to do just that. I can write about whatever comes into my head that day. With the next entry I describe an outing to the “Middle of the Mitten” with my sister and Dad. Now the photographer in me appears, with the Pine River Reflection shot that I believe is awesome. This is what Papacharissi, in her study of 260 blogs, identifies as a creative element, because I’m incorporating a graphic or photo into my blog post (33).

On the tweeting side for this class I signed up for Twitter a week or so before class began . I had read most of Sagolla’s book 140 Characters: A Style Guide for the Short Form and was thrilled with my first tweet on June 17th at 10:06 A.M. I may have not written any poetry in the last eight months, but Tweeting is for me like writing poetry. Your choice of words and arrangement are key.

“My first tweet! Will it hurt, feel strange, or be an out of body experience? I love the moving cursor versus the blinking one. Must go now.”

At that point I hadn’t learned how to add the class tag #engl444emu. I discovered Tweeting satisfies my desire to be creative, profound, honest, and funny. As Sagolla’s chapter four is titled “Voice, Say It Out Loud,” my first tweet definitely said it out loud (39). I have linked my Twitter feed to my blog in my blogroll on this site.

Also in June I had to replace my three-year-old phone, so I purchased a Samsung Moment, which has a touch screen and a keyboard. I tried typing on the iphone touch screen and found it way too frustrating. I love typing on the tiny keyboard with my thumbs. It’s still a learning experience. My granddaughter had to show me how to do upper case and she added the Twitter icon to the touch screen when she was visiting. I like to tweet in places that aren’t conducive to writing, so I tweet sometimes while taking a walk. I sent a photo the other day from the hill overlooking the pond near my condo in the tweet that day. Tweeting gives me a feeling of creative connectedness to the universe. Even though I know I’m not doing it exactly how Sagolla suggests, “When you are writing well without pause for thought, you have achieved mastery of the short form” (118). I’m too literal and I always try to use all 140 characters, so I have not mastered the short form yet.

By the middle of July I thought I was doing pretty well with my blogging and tweeting for class, but then I found my Dad on the bathroom floor of his little apartment and my writing took a sharp turn to the intimate. Papacharissi identifies three factors that put a blog into the intimate category, it has narrative, personal information, and you can answer the question: “How well do you know this person?” (33). My July 15th post has all three of these factors and as I describe in the next-day post, it was a katharsis, a truly cleansing experience in the Greek sense of the word.

On August 3rd my writing slips into a more “personal musing” or “stream-of- consciousness format,” which Papacharissi still has in the intimate category (30). My description of the silence as “no breathing in the air” and my anticipation of my Yorkie barking when the fountain turns on are purely personal. This blog is also like Blood’s definition of a weblog: “A weblog is a coffeehouse conversation in text, with references as required” (1). I was sitting there typing with my cup of tea on the desk. I was talking to the universe, did anyone answer? No, only the Yorkie.

I’ve now added several web sites to my blogroll including my other blog sites. I added “A Striped Armchair” because the “twenty-something book nerd” happens to list Neil Gaiman as one of her favorite authors. I even left a comment on her site stating I also love to read Gaiman. I was impressed with the over 307 thousand hits on the site so I added a hit counter to my site. I also added two sites that appeal to my passion for comics and graphic novels, which is what my graduate research project is about. The other site I added to my blogroll is, The Oatmeal, which incorporates comics, grammar, humor, sarcasm, you name it. I’ve only followed it for a few weeks but have found this blog extremely fun and fascinating.

My blogging and tweeting have been the most inspiring, exciting, and adventurous part of this course. I thought it would be hard to comment on the class blog, but I found it quite easy and natural. I believe there were a couple posts where I actually reveal me, my personality. Specifically the July 29th post referencing the WikiLeaks article. This post definitely shows my opinion on the subject. A year ago I would have never commented so honestly. This experience has given me more confidence in who I am, what I write, and how I can teach others to use blogs, tweets, and . . . yes, wikis.

Works Cited

Blood, Rebecca. “What is a Weblog?” The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on

Creating and Maintaining Your Blog. Boulder: Perseus, 2002. Print.

Papachirissi, Zizi. “Audiences as Media Producers: Content Analysis of 260 Blog.”

Blogging Citizenship and the Future of Media. Ed. Mark Tremayne. New York:

Routledge, 2001. Print.

Sagolla, Dom. 140 Characters: A Style Guide for the Short Form. Hoboken: John Wiley

& Sons, 2009. Print.

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