August 25, 2004

does blogging change the way you think?

Following from yesterday's thoughts on PDP and blogging – what impact (if any) does blogging have on our habitual thought processes? Does the blog-writer develop new ways of thinking reflectively – or this just a new way of getting ideas 'out there' ... or wasting time! ...?

In short – has blogging changed your mind/your life??

(by the way – ?time to start a new blog thread about eccentric punctuation – including the misuse of dots and dashes instead of commas and stops…..?)


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  1. Steven Carpenter

    After being some scepticism about the value of blogging, I've found the process of reflecting on an event and then structuring an entry about it to be both interesting and fun. I think it's partly analogous to responding to a terse email. By the the time you've gone through various edits, the process of writing your thoughts down results in one of two things; either you've developed a 'killer' reply or you calm down and delete it. The process of structuring what might have been a knee-jerk response has either rationalised your perception of the issue or allowed to you develop your thoughts further. But writing unstructured and more immediate thoughts in a blog works well too, the difference being that you can revisit or follow-up your entry later.

    25 Aug 2004, 09:58

  2. I wouldn't say that blogs have changed the way I think, but they have allowed me to remember what I have thought, which I would usually forget.

    In that way, not forgetting what you have thought must make a person more reflective, as you can build on your thoughts and revisit them at a later time.

    This could be a good or bad thing, as Steven was saying: email you can re-write until the email you have written is not what you initially were thinking, whereas blogs seem more immediate. Quite ironic really as more people will read blog entries than email. I suppose it's easier to write/rant/reflect on blogs compared to an email as blogs are not directed at a single person so you don't feel as guilty/remorseful for what you have written.

    Blogs are also good in that you can write a load of stuff about things that you are interested in, in the knowledge that people don't feel obliged to read what you have written. This would be especially useful for quieter people in your office/halls/department who would like to get to know you / you would like to get to know but you're not sure how to start up a conversation or whether you have anything in common.

    It's quite a weird feeling reading blogs of people I have never met or spoken and knowing quite a bit about them, toured their homes, and seen their holiday snaps!

    I could rave about blogs all day…I think I'll have to put a post in my own blog later on.

    25 Aug 2004, 11:03

  3. Robert O'Toole

    Currently i'm trying to use my blog for developing academic work. I have a philosophical framework in which i'm operating, and a roughly defined question that i'm addressing. I read books, make connections, and get new fragments for the argument, which are blogged. However, whereas before i would have just written brief comments on paper, or even in the margins of the book, with the blog i'm finding myself writing more well developed accounts of these fragments, and linking them together.

    What i don't have is a single online document or map that i'm developing to which these fragments refer. I really need that for it to make sense. Such a document exists roughly on paper, and is constantly being revised, but it needs to be there accompanying the blog entries, so that they can refer to part of it.

    I need a Wiki – and one with mind mapping as well.

    25 Aug 2004, 12:25

  4. Steve Rumsby

    I've blogged before about trying to use a blog to aid the joint development of a document. While going through that process I couldn't help but feel that a Wiki would work better, probably inconunction with a blog, so that the Wiki held the main document and the blog held the thought processes that went into its construction, both cross linked somehow.

    At the time, I didn't dare suggest the creation of WikkiBuilder, but maybe now I will! There's something less formal about a Wiki that makes it feel more useful for this sort of thing than Sitebuilder would be. The combination of a personal blog and a personal Wiki feels like it would be very flexible and very powerful.

    25 Aug 2004, 13:05

  5. Robert O'Toole

    We evaluated a tool called SnipSnap that is a combination of a blog and a wiki. Good idea, but nit a great implementation.

    We are considering extending SiteBuilder in several ways. More soon!

    25 Aug 2004, 13:21

  6. what on earth is a wiki? – or a snipSnap? they sound like characters out of 'Star Wars by Lewis Carroll'
    (A film I, for one, would like to see…)

    25 Aug 2004, 16:11

  7. Steve Rumsby

    Wiki-wiki is an Hawaiian phrase meaning "quick" (or something similar). If you fly to Honolulu airport you can get a "wiki wiki bus" between terminals.

    Somebody wanted a quick way of building web sites collaboratively and produced the "wikiwikiweb", where all editing was done in place in the browser. The wikiwikiweb was a sort of primitive sitebuilder. Wikis in general have got a bit more sophisticated since then, but they retain an emphasis on, and expectation of, informality in the same sense as blogs. They are gereally easier to use, having markup mechanisms like blogbuilder rather than using HTML or WYSIWYG editors.

    25 Aug 2004, 16:48

  8. many thanks for this..
    Its been a big learning day for me and brain is getting tired;
    time to go home and paint my kitchen – still not entirely discouraged from BIY (bodge it yourself).

    25 Aug 2004, 17:06

  9. Robert O'Toole

    The wiki's i've tried also have some version tracking facility, so that as you change your document, it records the changes and lets you view the history. If you link that to a blog, you can write reflective entries on the entries you write.

    If you're kitchen was in a wiki, you would be able to view (and sometimes rollback) the changes you have made. You could also blog about just why you chose that colour of paint (which i assume is very tastefull).

    Using wikis well is difficult, as it depends on having a good structure to the document that stays the same through the changes (you don't move the kitchen to a different room). Maybe that dependence on an unerlying structure discourages people from using them? Worth investigating more.

    25 Aug 2004, 22:18

  10. Steve Rumsby

    Yes, Wiki's have grown a lot since the wikiwikiweb, and gained features like version management. In fact versioning would have been really helpful in the scenario I mentioned above (collaborative document production). Being able to link blog entries to different versions, to record the thought process that has produced the different revisions, would be very useful.

    Actually, there's possibly quite a bit of complexity in this cross-linking. I can imagine wanting to blog about a document in all its versions (e.g. "I'm producing this document because…"), wanting to blog about specific versions of a document (e.g. "Don't like that word – try this one…"), and wanting to link Wiki pages to blog entries.

    I can see a lot of potential in the combination – it would be really nice to try it out.

    26 Aug 2004, 10:07


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