November 16, 2005

Blogging: a new name for something that isn't

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

Steve picked up some quotes about the "blogging debate" and I was struck by a theme that people having this debate seem to think they're talking about something new.


…the typical hierarchies of the ivory tower break down in the blogosphere so that even graduate students can be public intellectuals of a kind.

Plus ša change. I was a graduate student before JANET ran over IP (that came along in 1991 or so), but I was already being a 'public intellectual' (if you put it that way). We had Usenet. I posted to it about stuff I was doing and thinking about, and got (overwhelmingly) useful comments. So did many other staff and students, mainly scientists (being the ones who already used computers and the network). Blogging is nothing new. What's new is Google.


Research into how social software is being used is very raw, very new.

While I'm not up on the research, this sounds like tosh. Social software has been around for decades. It's been a particular interest of mine since I started using bulletin boards in 1986, and for all that time there have been groups thinking about and discussing its use, so it's hard to believe nobody has been doing the research.

This interest of mine is how I came to be managing the email and Usenet services at Warwick in the early years that I was here, and later came to invent WarwickForums. BlogBuilder is the first social software system at Warwick that I haven't been involved with (I would have liked to have been). It's just a new and better (easier) way for students and staff (and yes, even graduate students!) to do what some of us have been doing since the 80s.


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